The Chicago Ducky Derby is certainly a fun time of year. You get to let loose and enjoy the quack-tastic world of yellow rubber ducks splashing into the Chicago River and racing to the finish line. C’mon, 70,000+ rubber ducks? That’s got to make quite a splash!

One Special Olympics Illinois athlete is a duck enthusiast himself. Josh LeClaire from Region B looks forward to attending the Chicago Ducky Derby each year. He especially enjoys talking to all sorts of people, participating in the day’s activities and, of course, watching the splashdown. His favorite part, however, is seeing the ducks race to the finish line.

Josh has been a Darling Duckling for about four years. The Darling Ducklings is a sales team consisting of Special Olympics Illinois athletes. Together, they host duck sales events throughout Chicago to try and reach their yearly sales goal. This year’s goal is to sell 10,000 ducks, and the Darling Ducklings are already halfway there.

Josh and his teammates never fail to have fun when selling ducks, and most importantly, they never forget why they do it.


Josh says being an athlete leader is important to him. He’s been involved with Special Olympics Illinois for the past seven years and participates in multiple sports, including soccer, bocce, tennis, golf, basketball, volleyball, track, flag football, and snowshoeing. Josh recently won bronze in bocce singles at the 2022 Summer Games in Normal.

When asked what the Special Olympics Illinois Athlete Oath means to him, Josh replied, “It means I would like to win, but if I can’t, I want people to know I did a good job.”

Outside of his sports, Josh also likes to participate in Illinois Law Enforcement Torch Run events, like Polar Plunge and Cop on a Rooftop. He can’t wait to get quackin’ at the Chicago Ducky Derby with his teammates on Thursday, August 4.

If you’d like to learn more or adopt a duck, go to chicagoduckyderby.com.