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Thousands of Rubber Ducks Hit the Water to Support Special Olympics Illinois at Walker’s Bluff

CARTERVILLE – On Sunday, October 3, at 3:00 PM CT, thousands of ducks splashed down into the water at Walker’s Bluff and raced to the finish line as part of the 2021 Ducky Derby Dash to benefit Special Olympics Illinois.

Participants adopted ducks in order to raise funds for year-round Special Olympics Illinois programming, each giving them a chance to win one of many wonderful prizes, including the grand prize of $2,000 cash.

Through these duck purchases, along with souvenirs and sponsorships, the event raised more than $48,000 for the year-round Special Olympics Illinois programming provided to more than 23,100 athletes across the state.

Attendees gathered outdoors at Walker’s Bluff for a Family Festival, featuring kids’ games and activities as well as live entertainment. This is the second year for the event to be held at Walker’s Bluff, but the first year with an in-person splashdown. In 2020, the family festival was held, but the race took place virtually.

Special Olympics Illinois athlete Kinzi Loyd served as the 2021 Ducky Derby Dash ambassador, making a grand entrance via helicopter to a cheering crowd. She also addressed the crown by speaking via a communication device and later presented the winning duck following the race.

Kinzi is a 29-year-old athlete who lives with her parents in Eldorado, Illinois. Born with Cerebral Palsy and Leigh’s Disease, Kinzi faces multiple motor challenges and depends on her mother and other family members for daily care.

She is able to verbally communicate with those who are familiar with her, however she uses the above-mentioned communication device to communicate with others. Kinzi has participated in Special Olympics Illinois for several years, and she is always ready for a challenge. For example, she competes in bowling the best way that she can – by bowling with her foot! She also enjoys competing in Spring and Summer Games, as well as basketball skills and motor skills.

The 2021 Ducky Derby Dash is sponsored by SIU Credit Union, Illinois Law Enforcement Torch Run, Heartland Coca-Cola, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois, AISIN Manufacturing, ELASTEC, and Veterans Airport of Southern Illinois, along with major prize sponsors Blue Line Resort, Keller’s Crossing, French Lick Resort and more. The 2021 media sponsors are Withers Broadcasting Companies, The Daily Egyptian, The Southern Illinoisian, and WSIL.

To view photos and videos from the 2021 event, please click here.

For more information, please visit

Special Olympics Illinois Region K serves the South Central portion of Illinois with local programming for over 1,600 athletes in Alexander, Clay, Edwards, Franklin, Gallatin, Hamilton, Hardin, Jackson, Jefferson, Johnson, Lawrence, Marion, Massac, Perry, Pope, Pulaski, Randolph, Richland, Saline, Union, Wabash, Wayne, White and Williamson Counties. Region K offers participation in 16 sports and holds 24 competitions year-round. For more information about the Region K, please visit


Special Olympics Illinois is a not-for-profit sports organization offering year-round training and competition in 18 sports for more than 23,100 athletes with intellectual disabilities and over 13,000 Young Athletes ages 2-7 with and without intellectual disabilities. It strives to be a global leader in shaping a culture where people with and without intellectual disabilities are fully integrated into the community by providing year-round opportunities in competitive sports, health education, leadership and personal development. If you are interested in being a part of Special Olympics Illinois and its vision, contact your local region, call 800-394-0562 or visit our website at Follow Special Olympics Illinois on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.