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Published October 10, 2013, 10:10 AM

Prized duck decoy snatched from Lakota bar before charity auction

Somebody ducked out of the Sundowner Lounge in Lakota, N.D., Monday with a prized duck decoy that was painted in UND colors and autographed by several present and past UND hockey team members, some of them now playing in the NHL.

By: Kevin Bonham, Grand Forks Herald

Somebody ducked out of the Sundowner Lounge in Lakota, N.D., Monday with a prized duck decoy that was painted in UND colors and autographed by several present and past UND hockey team members, some of them now playing in the NHL.

A $150 reward has been offered for its safe return — preferably in time for Saturday’s Duckfest — so it can be among the 86 other plastic duck decoys that will be auctioned in a fundraising event to benefit the public libraries in Lakota and nearby Michigan, N.D.

“This is the first time we’ve tried this. It was going great, until the duck was taken,” Lakota Mayor Ed Pawlikowski said. “We just want it back. We don’t care who took it. No charges are being pressed.”

Denise Fisk, manager of the Sundowner, located in the SunLac Inn, said the duck decoy was in the bar when she locked up Sunday night but gone when she opened on Tuesday. The bar was open Monday, but nobody noticed when it went missing.

The Duckfest Auction anticipation has been building since early summer.

Charity auction

Organizers invited Lakota and Michigan businesses or residents to pay $25 to sponsor a duck and encouraged them to paint the decoys and put them on display until the public auction event, which will begin with a social hour at 6 p.m. Saturday at the Lakota Community Center. The auction begins at 7 p.m.

The SunLac Inn sponsored four of the 87 ducks, including the UND duck.

Silent auction bids also are solicited, according to Pawlikowski, who said the UND decoy was one of the early bid leaders, with a top bid of about $250.

The UND hockey duck was painted by Fisk, Paulette Schill and Tessa Varnson.

When Fisk learned that UND hockey players would be in Walhalla, N.D., this summer for a golf tournament, she made arrangements for the decoy to be there.

The UND hockey players whose autographs adorn the decoy are: Matt Greene, Mike Commodore, Jake Marto, Matt Watkins, Robbie Bina, Andy Kollar, Mike Prpich, Lee Marvin, Andy Schneider, Jay Panzer and Chay Genoway.

All proceeds from the Duckfest Auction and from the sale of the ducks will be split 50/50 between the Michigan and Lakota community clubs. Both communities will apply their shares to local library projects.

“I had several people bidding on it,” Fisk said of the missing duck. “It’s been so much fun, until now.”

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