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Bill Michaels, Fly Creek Cider Mill owner, feeds dozens of ducks Thursday, two days before racing Mallards are slated to come to Fly Creek.

FLY CREEK _ Ducks will be racing this weekend as Robert Duck of New Mexico brings his troupe of Mallards to the Fly Creek Cider Mill.

Duck _ his real name _ has been racing ducks for decades and will come with his own aquatic race track, a large pool with lanes to separate the contenders.

``He's been at the New York State Fair, and he's going to the Virginia State Fair, but in between, he'll be here,'' said Bill Michaels, the Cider Mill's proprietor and a duck lover himself.

Lucky visitors will be paired with ducks and allowed to release them at the start of each heat.

In between heats, rubber ducks will be raced down Fly Creek, which flows by the mill, in an event designed to generate funds for the Cooperstown Lions Club.

``It's only $2 to enter, and the winner gets a gift certificate,'' said Rich McCaffery, Lions Club vice president.

Proceeds will be used to help pay for the Lions Club's charitable work, he said.

Club members also will be selling cider and popcorn, said McCaffery.

According to News 10 Now, Duck made a splash at the New York State Fair this year.

In an interview with the station that was posted on the Internet on Thursday, he said he has been racing ducks for nearly 30 years.

"In 1980, when they started the American Duck Race in New Mexico, since my last name is Duck and I had two pet ducks, that's why I entered. And I wound up winning that race 12 years in a row, winning over $50,000 racing ducks in New Mexico.''

However, when Duck comes to the Cider Mill, which is situated on Goose Street, he'll be operating under unusual conditions, because Michaels has about 50 ducks of his own.

``We've become a repository for ducks,'' he said Thursday as he fed the flock. ``People leave them off here. Families get ducks at Easter and after a little while, sometimes they see it's not that easy to care for them.''

Fortunately for the ducks, there's a nice pond behind the Cider Mill and even a duck house next to it.

But how will these hometown ducks take to the nationally famous racers?

``That should be interesting,'' said Michaels.

The Fly Creek Cider Mill is open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily. Special events this weekend are slated to start at 10 a.m.

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