Second rubber duck race floats on

Esther Noe
Countless people enjoyed running up and down the banks of Spring Creek to watch 638 rubber ducks of all colors make the long swim from the soccer field to the bridge by the pavilion at Memorial Park for the second annual Hill City Lions Club (HCLC) Rubber Duck Race, Carnival and Craft/Vendor Fair last Saturday.
Children squealed every time they spotted a duck the same color as their lucky number while adults cheered the ducks over the “rapids and whirlpools.” Meanwhile, HCLC members waddled through the creek behind the ducks to make sure none were left behind. Even members of the Pennington County Sheriff's Department pitched in to help. 
The lucky winner was duck 143 purchased by Lisa Busack. Second place went to Ranae Schrier with duck 390, and third place went to Monte Brantley with duck 316. Last across was duck 79 purchased by Maureen Raga.
“I feel the rubber duck race went fairly well. I was happy to see all the people in the community come out and support not just the Lions Club but to support the local vendors as well,” said HCLC president Stefanie Doaty. 
Many guests enjoyed listening to the live music from the shade of the pavilion as well. 
Although it was looking like the Carson Brown Band would be the only ones to perform, Brown himself volunteered to do a second set for the event and Bobby Joe Holman volunteered last minute to do a closing set. 
“A huge thank you to Carson Brown and the Carson Brown Band and also to Bobby Joe for helping out last minute. It was appreciated,” said Doaty. 
Meanwhile, Doaty said the crafters and vendors from last year were happy to see how the event had grown and were pleased by the diversity. This year there were 30 crafters and vendors for guests to explore and five different food trucks for everyone to enjoy. 
Over in the carnival area the children enjoyed things like face painting, temporary tattoos, the Nerf gun shooting gallery and one boy walked away with around 10 cups from the dime toss. 
“The bouncy house has been the most popular thing I think,” said volunteer Pat Forrer, and several children agreed,  lthough one girl said, “My favorite thing today was helping my mom. She has Lyssas Bowtique.” 
Her mom, Alyssa Robison, started out by making bows for her daughter after realizing that she could make them for much cheaper. She bought a Cricut machine to cut the fabric for the bows and then started making T-shirts. After that, she branched out to cups and it grew from there. 
Robison, a Hill City local, hand makes everything in her stock and participates in the local vendor fairs, including last year’s rubber duck race craft fair. Although Robison’s products are often inspired by things her children want, bows are still her favorite thing to make. 
Also returning from last year were Jeanie Kirkpatrick from Keystone and Heather Van De Stouwe from Hermosa. 
Kirkpatrick, who also happens to be last year’s third place winner, had a booth for her UniqueJean products. 
“I make unique pieces of jewelry because I want the person that owns it to feel unique,” said Kirkpatrick. As a result, she makes a limited number of each piece. 
After downsizing, Kirkpatrick had to pick a small, affordable craft project to continue with and chose jewelry making using porcelain, plastic and glass beads. 
“I make anything I would wear and anything that’s special,” said Kirkpatrick. 
At last year’s rubber duck race craft fair, Kirkpatrick met Stouwe who said, “I met her last year here, and we’ve been attached at the hip ever since.”
They were next to each other last year, planned to be next to each other again this year and even ended up next to each other at the Hermosa craft fair in June. 
Stouwe crochets Amigurumi stuffed animals for her business Indie Pandie Craft Co. 28 years ago her mom taught her how to crochet, and she’s been expanding her skills ever since. 
“It’s pretty fun. Crocheting is therapeutic,” said Stouwe. 
Since she works from home, Stouwe crochets two to three things a day during her downtime. She finds the patterns online and adjusts them as necessary. For some of her smaller pieces, she can make five in an hour. 
This year she brought her Halloween, cottage core and sea life stock, but her favorite things to make are her mushrooms and bunnies because they are versatile and quick. 
Some of the new crafters this year included Janet Prochnick with Jscapes and Lily Wanner with Lily Bird Designs. 
Prochnick lives between Pringle and Hot Springs and does oil paintings inspired by places in the Black Hills like Custer State Park, Spearfish Canyon, Bismark Lake and Deerfield Lake. 
“I only started painting a year and a half ago. My daughter gave me an oil painting kit for my birthday, and I started painting. I just really loved it and enjoyed it,” said Prochnick. 
At first, she tried to paint from photographs, but she gave it up because it was frustrating not to get the painting exactly like the photo. Now after deciding the season, weather and time of day, she simply sits down and paints from memory three times a week. Some of her work includes seasonal, window pane and outside the box paintings. She will also do custom paintings for people. 
As a self-taught artist, Prochnick recently began doing shows and fairs to sell her original paintings. The rubber duck race was her third event. 
Meanwhile, 11-year-old Lily started selling jewelry and key chains with her mom Vanessa Wanner last year because she wanted to buy a $180 ice cream maker. 
Three Saturdays later, Lily made enough to not only buy her ice cream maker but also to pay for all the supplies she used to make the jewelry. 
“It’s been really good. It’s been a good experience too because she learns that things don't come free,” said Vanessa.
Lily’s jewelry is made mostly from semi-precious stones and freshwater pearls. According to Vanessa, they make the jewelry together while watching TV shows as a family. 
Now Lily has jewelry at Madame Peacock’s in Deadwood and sells it at different farmer's markets. 
“I just want to thank everyone for coming out, and I hope that they all enjoyed themselves,” said Doaty. “And thank you again to all of our sponsors Krull’s Market, Dairy Twist, Hill City Café, Royal Flush, Grumpy Grizzly Property Maintenance, Lost Cabin Beer Co., Tin City Saloon, Western Mailers, Affordable Inflatables and From the Heart, by the Hand.
“Also, special thanks to the Public Works crew for making sure we had extra tables and trash cans throughout the event.”

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