Rubber Ducky Races in Craig, Steamboat celebrate community, hospice

Tamera Manzanares
Spectators in Steamboat Springs watch as hundreds of rubber ducks float the waters of the Yampa River. The duck race, a fundraiser for Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurse Association, will also be held in Craig for the first time this Saturday.
Courtesy Photo

On Saturday, hundreds of bright yellow rubber ducks will bob along the lazy Yampa River toward their destination at Loudy-Simpson Park. Tickets in hand, children, parents and community members will eagerly await, hoping their ducks make the speediest journey.

The Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurse Association is hosting the first annual Craig Rubber Ducky Race benefiting the organization’s Hospice and Palliative Care program. The fun family event and post-race party will be a celebration of community and the many people Hospice has touched in Moffat County.

“Hospice cares for and supports patients and also their families, children, friends and those close to them,” said Vicki Barron, director of home services at the VNA. “We reach people of all ages and parts of the community. This event really aligns with what we do.”

VNA’s hospice staff have cared for and comforted terminally ill patients and their loved ones in Moffat and Routt counties for more than 20 years. The program addresses the complex needs of patients, providing medical care and easing physical and emotional pain as they near the end of life. Hospice also supports grieving children and families for a year following a loved one’s death.

This is the first year the Northwest Colorado VNA has hosted a Rubber Ducky Race in Craig. The VNA is also hosting a Rubber Ducky Race in Steamboat Springs later in September. The Craig race will begin at 11 a.m. at the Ranney Street Bridge. The finish line will be at Loudy Simpson Park, where there will be a celebration with kids’ activities, live music and food vendors. The event will include visits from a Craig Fire/Rescue fire truck and a Classic Air Medical helicopter.

Hospice is a team effort requiring the compassion and skill of medical directors, nurses, physical therapists, Certified Nurse Aides, medical social workers, a spiritual care and bereavement coordinator and dedicated volunteers. They care for patients in their homes, hospitals and skilled nursing facilities. Hospice staff members are available 24 hours a day and travel to the remotest part of each county to care for patients.

Kathy Darveau has been a medical social worker with hospice since the program began and understands the effects a person’s illness can have on their families as well as friends and coworkers.

“It affects everyone in a person’s life,” she said.

The VNA is the only hospice provider in the Yampa Valley. Patients receive all the services they need regardless of their ability to pay. Proceeds from fundraisers such as the Rubber Ducky Race help cover costs of medications, medical equipment and other aspects of care not fully covered by insurance.

“Without the community’s donations and fundraiser support it would be difficult to help all of the patients we serve,” Darveau said.

For more information about Hospice and Palliative Care, call 970-871-7692.

Rubber Ducky Race tickets are $10. There are a total of $1,000 in cash prizes for the first 10 ducks that cross the finish line. The grand prize is $500. You don’t need to be present to win. Tickets are available at through Thursday and also at the VNA, 745 Russell Street or Yampa Valley Bank, 435 Mack Lane. Volunteers are still needed for various aspects of the event, including retrieving ducks from the river. Waders and nets are helpful. To sign up, call 970-871-7609.

Tamera Manzanares is Marketing Coordinator at the Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurse Association. She can be reached at or 970-871-7642.

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