Matt Lasley | GC News-Gazette Miss Grayson County Kennedy Davis, right, picks up the first place winning duck in the 2019 Ducking Hunger Regatta, as Linda Gentry reaches to accept it.

Matt Lasley | GC News-Gazette

Miss Grayson County Kennedy Davis, right, picks up the first place winning duck in the 2019 Ducking Hunger Regatta, as Linda Gentry reaches to accept it.

The fourth annual Grayson County Alliance Ducking Hunger Regatta, held Monday night at the Leitchfield Aquatic Center, saw total donations increase by nearly $5,000 over last year.

According to Grayson County Alliance Director Debbie Childress, this year's event raised $13,000 for the local food pantry - up from $8,100 last year - thanks to the purchase of rubber ducks by community members, as well as contributions from 67 sponsors.

The rubber ducks were sold at $5 each over the past several months, and, on Monday, the record 1,620 ducks sold were poured into the Leitchfield Aquatic Center in three heats to determine the three ducks that would race for the top three prizes.

Branden Powell won the $1,000 first prize, donated by an anonymous friend of the Alliance, with his regatta winning Duck #1,559.

The second and third place prizes of family passes to Leitchfield Aquatic Center were won by Houston Brooks (Duck #395) and Alex Whitaker (Duck #1,629), respectively.

Additionally, this year's "Duckoration" contest saw multiple sponsors decorate inflatable ducks to display during the event, and The Cecilian Bank took home the traveling trophy for best decorated duck this year, with the Grayson County Extension Office receiving an honorable mention.

According to Childress, each duck sold equates to 13 meals the food pantry can serve to Grayson County families in need, and, with the number of ducks sold this year, the food pantry will be able to serve more than 21,000 meals.

"It's very heartwarming to be part of a community that cares so much," said Childress.

Last month, the pantry served 752 families, 25 of whom had either never been to the pantry before or had not been in at least one year.

While officials are thankful for the increased support this year, they hope the Ducking Hunger Regatta continues to grow.

"Next year, the goal is to sell all 2,000 ducks before Labor Day," Childress said.