Roscoe Slade was pulling out of his driveway in January the first time he spotted the purple and gold decoy ducks and geese decorating his lawn.
“I thought, ‘Oh great,’ ” the West Richland Public Works director said, laughing. “I shared the wealth and I sent (a flock) to the mayor’s house.”
Along with the decoys came a sign reading, “You’ve been quacked!”
Slade wasn’t sure who paid the Hanford High School softball team to surprise him with the painted waterfowl, but he suspected friends of his children were behind the plot.
“All of our kids go to Richland (High), and they have friends that go to Hanford,” he said.
The team is distributing the replicas to lawns to help raise the remaining $50,000 to finish the inside of a two-story facility.
The building is the idea of Lesley Guereca, who became the team’s head coach 10 years ago. At the time, the school was going through a renovation that included a new softball field.
“None of our facilities, except for baseball right now, has restrooms, concessions, all of that kind of stuff,” she said. “We were looking to have a place where we could run tournaments.”
Knowing it might be difficult for the district to spend the money to build a facility, Guereca is coordinating the project. So far, the team has raised $140,000, and the shell of the combination locker room, concession stand, restroom and storage building is standing.
It will take about another $50,000 to finish construction.
It’s a source of pride for them. They’re investing into this building and to make their fields better.
Karen Evans and her daughter Sarah, a softball player, came up with the idea for the decoy ducks. They saw stories of people using plastic pink flamingos to raise funds, and they wanted to adapt it.
“Those girls hate those Porta-Potties,” Karen said. “(The building) is a source of pride for them. They’re investing into this building and to make their fields better.”
The Richland Rod and Gun Club donated about 100 decoys. The players gathered in the unfinished building for a couple of painting parties.
For a $20 fee, the players decorate someone’s lawn — often secretively — with 15 purple and gold ducks and geese. Larger flocks are available.
The fake fowl spend a couple of days on each person’s lawn before flying away, Karen said. About 40 residential lawns have been flocked since January.
One lady saw us out her window and yelled, ‘Go Bombers!’ It’s all in good humor.
“We have had some times when we’ve delivered them and people are out in the yard, and we have had a great response,” she said. “One lady saw us out her window and yelled, ‘Go Bombers!’ It’s all in good humor.”
The players deliver the ducks in snow and rain. They have sometimes needed to sift through snow drifts to retrieve wayward fowl.
Duck delivery is limited to Richland and West Richland.
Once quacked, a person can purchase “insurance” to prevent the flock from returning — an option Slade wished he had used. After the ducks left his lawn, they returned again about a month later.
“They were both anonymous,” he said.
People can order a flock though the Hanford High School softball website, bit.ly/FalconFastpitch. A donation link is also available.
For more information, call Karen at 509-628-2518.