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Duck, Duck, Goose record try comes up short

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The weather held out.

Car enthusiasts for an auto show and a lively crowd in downtown on a Saturday afternoon helped, too.

So did a lot of Facebooking, texting and out-loud word of mouth. Kenosha was going to play Duck, Duck, Good for the record — the Guinness Book of World Records.

Lining up on both sides of Sixth Avenue between 56th Street and 60th Street, many were eager to get a favorite childhood game of tag under way even beneath a cloudy sky.

Starting at 3:30 p.m., it took nearly two hours to assemble, but the crowd remained mostly patient as Ty and Jennifer Wagner and a volunteer staff counted each player.

It was the couple’s 6-year-old son, Landrik, a quiet child with a big idea who set the waddles in motion two months ago, declaring he’d wanted to play the game with “a million people” because there weren’t enough people to play just with his family.

Jennifer Wagner later went on a mini-quest to find out what it would take to set the record.

As of early Saturday afternoon, about 4,000 people had planned to attend the event, according to the local event’s Facebook page. That number would’ve been more than enough to break the record set Tuesday night, by 1,634 people, mostly students at the University of Central Oklahoma, as a part of a back-to-school gathering.

The previous record of 1,415 people was held for nearly six years and was set in the community of Guelph Ontario on Sept. 5, 2005.

But in the end, Kenosha’s record attempt fell short, with 1,103 participants.

Crowd assembles

Erin Kelley, mother of Shea, 4, both of Kenosha, committed to the event early on, when there was just a mere 100 or so people planning to attend.

“It looked like a lot of fun,” she said nuzzling Shea, who enthusiastically quacked that she’d prefer to be the goose. A 9-foot-tall Mother Goose on stilts, played by Debbie DeWitt, had given little Shea a hug.

“Who wouldn’t want to be involved in setting a world record?” said Kelley.

Like Kelley, Todd Price, brought his sons, Donjze, 2, and Enze, 4, all of Kenosha, to the family-friendly event.

“I like to be the goose all the time,” said Enze.

“Must be because I’ve called him a silly goose all these years,” joked Price.

Kaitlyn Martens, 8, who was with cousin Caleb Murray, 2, her aunt April Murray and grandmother Lorie Murray, said she was looking forward to being picked as a goose. The family said it’s a game they play, just never “with so many people,” said Lorie.

No record

By 5:03 p.m., the sky seemed heavier.

A sprinkle here and there could be felt. But that wasn’t enough to dampen the mood. Sobering, however, was the realization that the record attempt had fallen short.

“Thank you guys for coming,” announced Jennifer Wagner crying and hugging her husband.

All told 1,103 people attended. It wasn’t going to beat the record set in Oklahoma or in Ontario.

“We didn’t get it,” she said using a megaphone.

Afterward, she said the weather, possibly the location and the timing over the Labor Day weekend affected attendance. But the family intends to try again next year.

While a disappointed crowd began to disperse, she announced a moment of silence remembering the victims of 9/11, one of the things they’d planned as well.

In the end, the big game fizzled. But a hard-core group of about 40, mostly children now, sat with their legs crossed waiting for a fox.

Duck. Duck. Duck. Duck. Duck. Goose! The chase was on.

It didn’t matter to Landrik whether he played with a million or three dozen. Just giggles and grins now. And, no spotlight.

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