PEPPERELL -- It was more than they could've hoped for.
The Pepperell Business Association's annual Duck Race upped the scholarship ante, giving an additional scholarship to both North Middlesex Regional High School and Nashoba Valley Technical High School.
Carole Babineau, who has been organizing the event for the last seven years, arranged to give out three $500 awards to Pepperell students at each school.
But it didn't end there.
"I've heard certain people say that, if they were to win, they would give the money back. That, and I am a former first-grade teacher, I decided to give 50 percent back for the scholarships," said first-place winner Carol Hough.
A late entry, Hough said she happened to be in the bank on the Friday before the race. She noticed the tickets and purchased five to support education. She was in Connecticut celebrating her father's birthday when she received a call that she had won the first-place prize of $1,000.
"I was very surprised, I am not usually one to win," Hough said.
Hough's yellow rubber ducky tore through the Nissitissit, edging out Police Chief David Scott's bird that came in second. Scott donated his $200 prize to the Shawn Kinsman Memorial Skatepark sign/bench project.
"Sometimes fundraisers see generosity like this, but not so much at a raffle like this one," said PBA secretary Deb Hayes. "These are not good economic times either, but it was great to see this generosity.
Between generous winners and great participation, Babineau said it was a good year for the race.
"It was a huge success, we're very pleased with the results," she said. "It looks like we will definitely be able to give more than the $3,000 than we gave this year."
An exact figure for the 2013 scholarships has not been determined. Babineau set out to increase the amount of money the event provides for kids, and succeeded.
"If it weren't for the money going to kids, I wouldn't be working on it," Babineau said. "We had a perfect day for it. My grandkids enjoyed being in the water fetching ducks and we had a lot of spectators," she said.
Follow Luke Steere at twitter.com/LSNashobaPub.