By Joel Hall
In its tenth year running, the Clayton County CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) Darlin' Duck Derby provided free weekend fun for local residents, while raising money to help the victims of child abuse and neglect. This year, the derby raised more than $50,000 in duck-ticket sales and business sponsorships.
Hundreds of parents and children gathered on the lawn of the Historic Clayton County Courthouse in Jonesboro to see 4,000 rubber ducks go down a winding, man-made track. Owners of the first 50 lucky ducks won prizes such as gift certificates, watches, round-trip Delta Airlines tickets, and cash up to $2,000.
Gerald Bostock, program coordinator for CASA, said the organization sold nearly 3,000 duck entries this year, more than the organization has ever sold in a single race. Bostock praised the derby for raising money for CASA and its programs, but also for giving the community "a break" from the gas prices and current economic woes.
"As we say every year, it's all about the duck and the duck is all about the kids," said Bostock. "All the proceeds go toward the services that CASA provides and toward families in crisis."
However, "It's nice seeing the community come together," Bostock continued. "We obviously need it because of the support it gives to the program, but the community needs it just to have a break from
everything that is going on."
Bostock said that while every year, CASA tries to incorporate games for children into the Duck Derby, this year's derby had more amenities for teenagers and young adults, such as the "Robo Surfer," a surfing version of the mechanical bull. The event also included favorites from last year, such as a classic car show and a dice roll to win a new Cadillac CTS.
Clifford Lynch, a resident of Jonesboro, said the car show at the derby took him back to his teenage years.
"A '65 Chevy was my first car, so I take a little pride in that," said Lynch. "They just don't make them like they used to. You run into one of these cars and you won't put a dent in it."
Lynch said he enjoyed watching the community come together and have something fun and free to do in the area.
Lee Boyd, a retired resident of Jonesboro, won a free trip to Jekyll Island, Ga., for selling 537 duck tickets, the most of any seller. He said he was happy the money was going to a good cause.
"I didn't do it for the praise or glory, I did it for the kids," said Boyd. "It's for kids who don't have a voice for themselves. They need the help and I've got the time to do it."