Roving Reporter | "Sinko de Quacko Makes a Huge Splash for the Pool" by Jeanette Larson (12 Photos)

"County Boy" Don Williams (l),
Barbara Gurner (r) and Lynn Baskind (back)
"Country Boy" Don Williams greeted attendees to the 3rd Annual Friends of the Pool Duck Race on Saturday, May 5, 2018. Billed as Sinko de Quacko, the 97.5 KFTX deejay started things off by distributing duck quack whistles and stuffed ducks to everyone. Those gathering for the race and other activities perused the items for sale, including handpainted hats and tote bags, and purchased items from the bake sale.

The festivities began with pool manager Joe Riekers introducing the pool staff and lifeguards. He noted that we have the "best team of lifeguards in the state." While all lifeguards are required to have 100 hours of training, Rockport Community Pool lifeguards must have an additional 50 hours.

The water-based festivities began with a balloon toss. Good sports Barbara Gurtner (Place 4 City Council), Mayor Pro-tem Pat Rios (and incoming Mayor), and County Commissioner Candidate Wendy Kilpatrick Laubach raised funds for the Friends of the Pool by allowing themselves to be targets for water balloons. This was followed by a demonstration of paddleboard yoga by Rockport's real-life mermaid, Magen Berry, a water Zumba demonstration with Al and his Zumba class, lifesaving demonstrations by the pool's lifeguards, and a sample relay by the Rockport Sharks Swim Team.

Kids got duck toys 
The main events were the live auction and the duck race. Items for the live auction were donated by organizations and individuals, including Builders Source, 97.5 KFTX, Amber Kramer, the Community Pool, Texas by Design, Nancy Thyre, Granny’s Jewelry Box, and Slick’s Guide Service. The major item, and the draw for many bidders, was donated by the Michael Phelps Foundation. A framed collectible included an autographed swim cap, the name plate from Phelp's Olympic Games locker, and the original art work for his collectible card. Thanks to the auctioneer skills of "Country Boy" Don Williams that item sold for $1200 to Stephanie Wilcox. As a bonus, because it sold for more than $1000, the Sharks coach, Steve Kopp will be shaving his legs. Other major items sold included a handpainted tote bag by Rockport artist, Nancy Thyre purchased by Cisco Starnes Willison for $525 and a "Duck Race" bucket donated by 97.5 KFTX which included tickets for Schlitterbahn, BucDays, a steakhouse, and more that went for $325. In addition to those individuals and organizations that donated items for the auction and bake sale, Walmart provided food to use for fruit cups and other healthy snacks to sell as part of the bake sale.

625 rubber ducks were tossed into the pool by Sharks coach, Steve Kopp and the Sharks Swim Team served as kickers to push the ducks forward to the finish line. Duck catcher, Richard Bullis, watched carefully as the finale was close and some ducks fell back a bit but no ducks were harmed during the match. The winning ducks were "sponsored" by the following winners:

  • 1st prize, $500 AmEx card – Colette Padron
  • 2nd prize, $100 Walmart gift card, $50 AmEx card, and a cooler – Patti Hamm
  • 3rd prize, $100 Walmart gift card and a cooler – Karl Hattman

Although Quack Queen Lynn Baskin is still tabulating the total, more than $6,000 was raised at Sinko de Quacko. The Friends of the Pool (FOP) is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit that supports the Community Pool. Funds from the Duck Race pay for every ACISD 6th grader to take swim lesson. FOP also pays for swim lessons for the Odyssey after-school program and provides scholarships for local children to become life guards. Although this year's race drew the largest crowd to date, plans are underway to make the 4th annual duck race even bigger and more exciting.

Handpainted hats and totes and lots of ducks
Barbara Gurtner (l) Wendy Laubach (c) and Pat Rios (back)
Mermaid Magen
Al's Water Zumba class
Lifeguards show off their skills
Sharks Swim Team demonstration
The auction begins!
The big winner

Dumping ducks into the pool
Catching the winning ducks


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