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Waddling for Mechanicsville

MECHANICSVILLE, IA (CBS2/FOX28) When the Cedar Rapids Fire Department needs new equipment, its normally paid for by the city. But smaller cities in Eastern Iowa dont always have the resources to write those kinds of checks. Not too far from downtown Cedar Rapids, where the Fire Houses are professionally staffed, are places like Mechanicsville, Iowa.

"You have to do the same training, said Mechanicsville Fire Chief Lonni Koch. The volunteers have to do the same amount of training as the paid professionals."

Where taxes and city budgets fall short, funding for volunteer fire and ambulance groups falls to the people.

"After an event, most people will send a donation, like, "Gee, I didn't realize how much help you were, said Koch.

And today, it falls to the ducks.

"It started with my dad and a couple other fellas at the bar making a bar room bet, said Nancy Bose, whose father started the Daffy Derby tradition 30 years ago in Avoca, Nebraska.

The bet: who had the fastest duck. What started small now triples the villages population for one day every year.

"It just keeps us on the map, said Bose.

So when Mechanicsville needed a fundraiser, they brought the ducks to Iowa.

Folks rent their amphibious friend for the day and try to coax them across the finish line.

"They have a tendency to turn around and go between your legs. It's hilarious, said Koch.

First place in the Daffy Derby gets a prize, but Mechanicsvilles Volunteer Firefighters walk away a few thousand dollars richer. It may not be much, but when a fire breaks out in a rural part of the city of 1,000, the four-wheel drive pickup truck they hope to upgrade with todays profit could make all the difference. And it would be thanks to the very people the firefighters try to keep safe.

This is the sixth year that Mechanicsville has been holding the Daffy Derby. Organizers say the goal is to bring in anywhere between $3,000 and $5,000, between entrance fees and souvenir sales.
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