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The Great Bagnell Dam Duck Drop: Missouri's Fastest Growing Family Celebration

Located in the heart of Missouri, Lake Ozark, is the ultimate destination to launch your next adventure into the Lake of the Ozarks region.


While finding things to do in and around the Lake of the Ozarks region is an easy task, narrowing them down is where you might find an issue. Trips to the area during the summer present you with chances to experience some of the most beautiful terrain in all of the Midwestern United States. Dry land activities include hiking miles of scenic trails, zip lining through the forest canopy, watching the diverse wildlife, or exploring shoreside caves and caverns. The lake presents you with its own great opportunities for fun such as taking a boat tour of the stunning shoreline, fishing, or exploring the lake via sailboat. Don't forget, if you're in need of equipment or a guide, you’ll find ample outfitters and experts to help you with your adventure.


The restaurants in and around Lake Ozark are excellent, offering a variety of dining options from which to choose. Great local dining establishments include: Baxter’s Lakeside Grille, JB Hooks, Tucker's Shuckers, Blue Heron Restaurant, and Stewart's Restaurant. From specialty antique shops to malls, you’ll find it all here. Areas like the Bagnell Dam Strip are filled with various shopping opportunities, food shops, and plenty of activities for all ages. The area plays host to a series of great events and festivals. The Great Bagnell Dam Duck Drop is one of these events and is ideal for a day of family fun!


Heading into its eighth year, The Great Bagnell Dam Duck Drop has established itself as one of the top family friendly events in all of Missouri. This one-of-a-kind celebration is centered on taking thousands of rubber ducks and dropping them via helicopter into the water below the Bagnell Dam. They follow the flow of water, racing toward the finish line downstream. All of the ducks get a paid sponsor and the first 11 ducks to finish win their sponsor a reward. The event features a family fun zone, which is packed full of games and activities for kids. There will be food and refreshments on hand for purchase and the local restaurants will be open for business. Make your next family excursion one for the ages and visit Lake of the Ozarks for The Great Bagnell Dam Duck Drop! got the chance to interview Mike Waggett, representative for the Great Bagnell Dam Duck Drop, to talk about this one-of-a-kind event.


RAL: Tell me a little bit about the event.

MW: The Great Bagnell Dam Duck Drop is set to occur on August 6th, 2016. It’s one of the most unique and fun family events at the Lake of the Ozarks. Set on the Osage River, below the historic Bagnell Dam and Bagnell Dam Strip, thousands of rubber ducks “race” down the river after being released from the Lake Ozark Helicopter (local company).  Iguana Watersports provides support on the river. The person that “adopts” the winning duck (via a donation of $5/duck to the Ozark Coast Kiwanis Organization) wins a grand prize of $5000 with the top 11 finishers also winning great prizes.


The Ozark Coast Kiwanis is proud to bring this family fun event back to the Lake for its eighth year and is excited to announce U.S. Bank as the presenting sponsor for 2016.


RAL: How long has the event been running?

MW: The Great Bagnell Dam Duck Drop event is in its 8th year, and the associated golf tournament is in its 4th year.


RAL: How many annual participants do you draw?

MW: The Great Dam Duck Drop draws thousands of participants from all over the local area and Missouri. Each year, approximately 2,500 tickets are sold, and the Family Fun Zone has over a

thousand participants. The golf tournament also has a full field each year.


RAL: What is the typical demographic makeup of the event? Children? Families? Couples?

MW: This event appeals to a very wide demographic with adults, children, and families all having a great time at the golf tournament, the family fun zone, and the duck drop event.


RAL: What makes this event unique?

MW: This is the only event of its kind in central Missouri and continues to grow each year. Families and their kids rave about the family fun zone, and the excitement is palpable as the helicopter approaches the river loaded with rubber ducks. The golf tournament is also one of the highlights of the golfing season at the Lake of the Ozarks, and golfers return year after year to participate.


RAL: Take me through the activities attendees will find during a typical day.

MW: The golf tournament begins the event on Friday, August 5th at The Ridge Golf Course at the Lodge of Four Seasons. Registration begins at noon with lunch and a $5000 putting contest sponsored by the First Bank of the Lake. The Ridge is one of the best golf courses at the Lake of the Ozarks with rolling hills, challenging but fair holes, and fantastic greens. Things get underway with Lake Ozark Helicopter arriving and landing at the driving range, followed by the singing of the National Anthem and then the helicopter does a low pass to kick off the golf. Each hole will have a different twist, contest, or obstacle involved such as bucket holes, “ducks on the green” or challenging nets to make your shot, making it more difficult. There are several on-course contests and the chance to win $25,000 from Spielers, Inc. and also a new boat from Big Thunder’s Marine for a hole in one!


On Saturday, August 6th the day begins at 10:00 am with the opening of the Family Fun Zone at the Lake Ozark RV Park &Campground on the Osage River. There will be a variety of events for families including bounce houses, sports demonstrations, games with prizes, dunking booths, great food, shaved ice, live DJ, face decorating, and more! At 11:45 am, the crowd will head to the banks of the Osage River to watch the rubber ducks drop from the helicopter. The first 11 ducks to cross the finish line will win prizes, including a $5000 cash prize and a $1000

cash prize!


After the ducks drop, spectators head back to the family fun zone to enjoy more games while awaiting the winner. The winning ducks will be announced at 1:00 pm live on Mix 92.7 radio. Winners do not have to be present to win and will be contacted by organizers. Many thanks to my co-chairman, Michelle Cook, for making the fun zone a success each year!


RAL: What dining options will there be?

MW: A variety of food is available at the Family Fun Zone on Saturday, and lunch will be served at the golf tournament on Friday. The event is a short distance from the famed Bagnell Dam Strip offering many unique restaurants with a wide choice of menu options. For the kids, the Strip also offers arcades and other unique stores catering to families.


RAL: Does this drive business to your local economy?

MW: The Great Bagnell Dam Duck drop helps the local community tremendously. It occurs in the weeks before schools start back up, and is one of the truly family-friendly events over the

summer. We have visitors from throughout Missouri, and many of the neighboring states who return every year. These visitors often stay to enjoy everything the lake has to offer boating,

fishing, golf, dining, shopping, and our parks. This gives the economy a great boost before the kids head back to school.


RAL: Does the event support a special cause in the community?

MW: Proceeds from this event are managed by the Ozark Coast Kiwanis organization. This thriving community club is focused on helping needy local children and their families. Overall, the event raises approximately $50,000 per year and all of that money is used locally. The Ozark Coast Kiwanis club helps over 40 local non-profits with donations, provides several scholarships to needy students, and provides emergency aid to families and their children during crises such as a house fire or other tragedy. Over the 26 years that the club has been in existence, over $600,000 has been given back to the community via fundraising events such as the Great Bagnell Dam Duck Drop.


RAL: Why should people come to your event?

MW: There is no more unique and family-friendly event in central Missouri than the Great Dam Duck Drop event. The sheer joy that the kids experience in the Family Fun Zone, then watching the duck pour out of the helicopter to splash in the river to “race” to the finish line is priceless. Families can also enjoy the natural beauty of the area, the great golf available at the “wackiest” golf tournament at the lake, and enjoy the boating, fishing, dining, and shopping that make the Lake of the Ozarks the premier vacation destination in the Midwest. The Lake of the Ozarks was recently recognized as “The Best Recreational Lake in the United States” by USA Today.


We hope to see you here!

For more information about the Great Bagnell Dam Duck Drop, please visit their website.

Photo Credit - Brent Simpson