Chicago Ducky Derby

What is the Chicago Ducky Derby?

The Chicago Ducky Derby is a signature fundraising event for Special Olympics Illinois benefiting 23,000 athletes and over 13,000 Young Athletes across the state.

Event Details

Each year, thousands of spectators watch more than 65,000 rubber ducks splash down into the Chicago River in downtown Chicago and race to the finish line. The winners of the race receive prizes, including a 2021 Chevy Trailblazer; an all-inclusive trip to Rivera Maya, Mexico; a cash prize; and more. The proceeds go to benefit the athletes of Special Olympics Illinois.

Splashdown / Race begins at 1:00pm at the Columbus Bridge.

Meet Our Duck Ambassador Mallory Taylor

How do I participate?

Adopt some Ducks:

On line duck adoptions are easy! You can adopt a single duck for $5.00; 6 ducks for $25.00 (Quack Pack); 24 ducks for $100.00 (Flock of Ducks) or 240 Ducks for $1,000.00 (Diamond Duck Pack). The more ducks you adopt the better your chances are of winning. You can also visit us in person at Pioneer Court and adopt ducks from one of our sales tables and stick around for the Family Festival and watch the Duck Drop at 1:00pm.

On Line duck adoptions and the most up-to-date event information can be found at

Form a Sales Team:

Sales teams are forming now. Put together a group of friends, colleagues, or family members to join the fun. Teams compete for bragging rights and great prizes. To form a Sales Team click here. For more information on starting a team or to volunteer, contact Emily Merkle at or 630-942-5610.

What if my duck wins?

You do not need to be present to win. The winner will be contacted by Special Olympics Illinois staff. The winner/s will receive one of many great prizes including a 2021 Chevy Trailblazer; an all-inclusive trip to Rivera Maya, Mexico; a cash prize; and more.

Thank You Sponsors!

Who We Are

Special Olympics is a global organization that unleashes the human spirit through the transformative power and joy of sport, every day around the world.  Special Olympics Illinois is a not-for-profit organization offering year-round training and competition in 18 sports for more than 23,000 athletes with intellectual disabilities and 13,000 Young Athletes ages 2-7 with and without intellectual disabilities.  Special Olympics transforms the lives of people with intellectual disabilities, allowing them to realize their full potential in sports and in life.  Special Olympics programs enhance physical fitness, motor skills, self-confidence, social skills and encourage family and community support.

COVID Procedures

Fully vaccinated participants do not need to wear masks, but may choose to still do so.

Vaccination is not required to attend in person events.

Participants not fully vaccinated, but who are medically able should continue to wear a mask the majority of the time while at Special Olympics Illinois activities.  Special Olympics Illinois will not be providing masks.  Participants must bring their own.

SOILL will have hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes/spray and other cleaning/sanitizing products on-site for participants’ use.

Every effort will be made to sanitize equipment and supplies that are routinely touched by the public. Social distancing will be encouraged at sales tables. The flow of purchasers will move in one direction to avoid crossing paths.

Even with the vaccine, there is no way to completely eliminate the risk of infection. Individuals with a higher susceptibility risk for COVID-19 are encouraged to review the information on the CDC and IDPH website to make an informed decision about attending in person events.

Special Olympics Illinois is committed to providing the best athlete, volunteer, coach and supporter environment possible.  While we are excited to resume in-person events, the health and well-being of our constituents remains our top priority.  All of our in person events follow the COVID-19 recommended IDPH and CDC guidelines.


Aug 05 2021


10:00 am - 2:00 pm


Free to attend. $5.00 = One Duck Adoption; $25.00 = One Quack Pack (6 Duck Adoptions); $100.00 = One Flock of Ducks (24 Duck Adoptions)


Pioneer Court
401 N. Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60611
Emily Merkel


Emily Merkel
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