Rubber Duck Regatta: Velma Slayback's toy duck plucked first from Ohio River

CINCINNATI -- One rubber duck floated down the Ohio River and was picked first over nearly 150,000 other bath-tub toys Sunday to win a new car for a Northern Kentucky woman and help fight hunger throughout Greater Cincinnati.

Burlington, Ky. native Velma Slayback was the owner of the first-place toy duck in the 19th Annual Rubber Duck Regatta . For her victory, she’ll drive home in a 2013 Honda Civic Sedan LX, courtesy of Cincinnati-Northern Kentucky Honda Dealers. She was eligible for a $1 million prize if her duck would have been the "KEMBA Million Dollar Duck."

Slaybeck’s duck beat out the record-breaking number of contestants in this year’s event, which is hosted by and benefits the Freestore Foodbank , a Cincinnati-based nonprofit hunger relief organization that receives food donations to distribute to those in need.

At 3 p.m. nearly 150,000 rubber duckies were dumped from the Purple People Bridge into the Ohio River to see if they were the one (and so much fun) for one lucky winner.

Among the competitors in the regatta was Jay Sulee, of Anderson Township, who won $5,200 in groceries from the Kroger Co. for owning the duck that was picked second. He'll get $100 a week for a year to spend at Kroger stores, according to event organizers.

Five other people earned $500 in cash from KEMBA Credit Union for having their ducks selected. That list includes: Martha Stricker of St. Bernard, Kimberlee Nickolas of Cincinnati, Mary Zins of Spring Grove Village, Sal Wertheim of Blue Ash and Carolyn Griffin of Madeira.

Individuals could purchase a duck for $5 each or six for $25.

Every $5 duck provides 15 meals for hungry children in Cincinnati, according to the people from the Freestore Foodbank, which uses the regatta as a way to kick off its Hunger Action Month campaign. 

Event spokesperson Sarah Cook said the overall amount raised for the food bank was nearly $875,000.

Since its inception in 1995, the Rubber Duck Regatta has raised approximately $7.7 million to help fight hunger in the Tri-State.

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