The Grand Riv-Har Duck Race

Often called the “Battle of Painesville,” the Riverside-Harvey football game has become a legend since the two high schools serving Painesville split into two districts more than 65 years ago. Rivalry between the two districts reaches a peak as the date of the game approaches each football season. Another event representing cooperation and community spirit, but no rivalry, has also become legendary: the annual  Grand Riv-Har Duck Race, now being organized by both schools’ alumni associations.

The first rubber duck through the funnel was the winner.

The 16th Duck Race is scheduled for Saturday, September 9, between 11 a.m. and noon; the public is invited to watch the rubber ducks float to the finish line in the creek at Helen Hazen Wyman Park off Route 86. Tickets will be sold for $5 apiece, or “a 5 quack” can be purchased for $20. The person whose ticket has the number of the first duck across the finish line will win $500, and a variety of additional prizes will be given for other front-running ducks. Winners need not be present.

Proceeds from the race are used to provide scholarships for college-bound seniors in both schools and to fund other activities of the alumni associations. Last year the two groups split a record-breaking $10,401, and hopes are high that this year the amount will be exceeded.

Preparation for the race begins months before the race, however, as alumni and friends of the schools meet once a month at Hellriegel’s,  organize props and equipment, prepare publicity and paperwork, and participate in community events to promote the race. Spearheading the activities this year are Ronald Balogh, president of Harvey’s alumni association, and Donald Pomfrey, treasurer of Riverside’s association, both of whom have been the leaders of the event for many years.

Local businesses are asked to become sponsors of the race and will receive recognition in the alumni booth at Party-in-the-Park, at Concord Community Days, on the alumni websites, on local educational access TV stations, in the Battle of Painesville football program, and on social media.

The Duck Race is one of the most important fund-raisers the associations do for the schools. Alumni are needed to sell duck tickets, secure sponsors and door prizes, work the booth at Party in the Park on July 14, 15 and 16, and work at the race itself.

Tickets will be available through Don Pomfrey, 352-8443 ( or Ron Balogh, 352-1339 ( Many other alumni members will also be selling tickets.

Let’s all get quacking and make this year’s race the best ever!





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