Updated: Sep 20
Tensions were high and competitors fierce at the Kenducky Derby rubber duck race Friday night.
Participants and spectators alike surrounded the creek in front of Tall Hall prior to the start of the race, giving last-minute words of wisdom to their plucky duckies.
And at the words of the MC, the ducks were off, floating their way downriver to the finish line.
The Kenducky Derby, an event first held in 2019 by Tall Hall, returned to campus as a part of Residence Life’s “Hall Reconnect Sophomore Series,” emphasizing connection and community throughout the university’s sophomore class.
After organizers received special permission to use the creek for the race, the event was a go.
Each student was able to claim and name up to two duckies, creating a huge, colorful pool of competitors. Students Dimitri Dong and Ellery Hattaway said they had been training their ducks in preparation for the event.
Ellen Adalaide, the owner of Duck No. 1, entered the race just for fun.
“Why not? Let’s do it. It’s Friday,” Adalaide said. “Let’s unwind with a duck race!”
As the race got underway, suspense mounted as coaches on the sidelines were unable to tell which duck was theirs, and many claimed that their own ducky was in the lead.
Trouble struck for several ducks when they got stuck on the rocks in the water. The rapids also proved a formidable challenge, confounding many of the floating fowl, but they were no trouble for Kerrin Murphy’s hot pink ducky, Sebastian, who bobbed ahead of the pack and ultimately won the race.
“I wasn’t in it for the money, but it’s a bonus,” said Murphy after claiming her Amazon gift card.
Murphy also secured bragging rights among the more than 100 students who came to the event, with each student able to claim up to two duckies. With all the ducks on deck, it was really anybody’s game.
Hattaway was “100% confident” her duck, Gerald, would win. He did not.
Instead, he chalked up a respectable third place.
“I am so proud of him. I’m going to give him a big smooch,” said Hattaway.
Winner Kerrin Murphy and ducky Sebastian, who took home first prize. Belmont Vision / Jenna Roberts
PHOTO: Dozens of duckies crowded the water Friday, making for a quacking good time. Belmont Vision / Jenna Roberts
This article was written by Rose Winchester and Reese Brosnan.