The Tri-County Children’s Advocacy Center and the Alabama Sheriff’s Girls Ranch fight every day for children so the partnership was natural for the fundraiser Duck Norris Derby at Chuck’s Marina on Saturday.

The two agencies fight daily to protect and help children recover from abuse and the two merged their efforts for the Duck Norris Derby, a duck race.

“It was (the Alabama Sheriff’s Girls Ranch director) Jimmy Harmon’s idea,” Tri-County Children’s Advocacy Center director Jacueline Burgess said. “We wanted to do a duck derby and wanted it to be creative. He loved the idea of Duck Norris. A marketing company in Auburn came up with the design.”

T-shirts for the event featured a profile of a rubber duck with a beard like Chuck Norris’ circled by the words “Fighting for Families, Racing for Cash” and were sold to raise funds too.

The two agencies see each other all the time in the services they provide for children.

“The great thing about us joining forces for this duck derby is we partner every day for children,” Candice Gulley of the Alabama Sheriff’s Girls Ranch said.

“We are at the ranch helping with the girls a lot,” Burgess said.

Those wanting to help the cause of the Tri-County Child Advocacy Center and the Alabama Sheriff’s Ranch purchased numbered rubber ducks to be released at the same time at Chuck’s Marina Saturday afternoon.

“We sold 2,061 ducks,” Burgess said. “It is double what we did last year.”

Dadeville resident William Harrell was the winner of the $2,500 first prize, Bob Huhn was second and awarded a stay for four at the Great Wolf Lodge in LaGrange, Georgia, and Todd Trolinger received a gift certificate and gift pack from Chuck’s Marina.

The funds will be split between the two agencies.

“This is the only fundraiser we do all year,” Burgess said. “We also received funds from the (Lake Martin Area) United Way, the state and the crime victims fund.”

The girls ranch brought some of its girls to help with the derby and enjoy the waters of Lake Martin. Gulley said the girls ranch is always seeking funds.

“We don’t get state funding,” Gulley said. “We rely predominantly on fundraising and local community support along with the United Way.”

Cliff Williams is a staff writer for Tallapoosa Publishers.