Scouts wragling stray rubber racing duckies, Ketchum, Idaho. Labor Day Weekend 2003. Read more below.

For most of the summer of 2003, I rode my mountain bike from Colorado toward Oregon. Mostly I avoided civilization, and instead enjoyed the pleasures of high, wild, and lonely places with small roads and dirt tracks.

On Labor Day Weekend I rolled into Ketchum, and experienced a pleasurable bit of sensory overload where crowds were enjoying the last weekend of the summer. Someone told me that the Rotary Club was about to hold a Ducky Race. I followed along.

Just after I arrived and mixed in with the crowd, thousands of little rubber duckies were tipped into the river from a dump truck and stirred onto the current by men with shovels. We thousands of onlookers lined the edge of the river and cheered and laughed. These cub scouts joined in to help get straggler duckies out of the shallows and eddies. The duckies raced a grueling race downstream toward a wire net, were the winning few were identified, and prizes awarded to their "sponsors".

Sponsorship money went to charity. Most people left with a grin. Very few duckies escaped into the wild. Shortly after the race, I escaped back into the wild.

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