Arkansans are known for their passion for duck hunting, and a group of Conway influencers has begun applying that passion to a more difficult assignment: improving men’s health.

These Conway health proponents, several of them physicians, are planning the second annual Arkansas Duck Derby Jan. 6 and 7 of 2020. The first of its kind in central Arkansas, the Duck Derby is a hunting tournament and community-wide banquet. All net proceeds from the event will be directed to building a men’s health initiative to tackle some of the biggest problems facing men.

Health statistics do not favor men. Men die about five years earlier than their female counterparts, and are 100 percent less likely to visit a doctor for an annual exam.

“In general men don’t take care of themselves; they tend to ignore symptoms of disease and they rarely visit a physician,” says Dr. Thad Hardin, who is a primary care doctor in Conway and one of the founders of the Arkansas Duck Derby. “Nothing pulls guys together like a great hunt and this also is an opportunity for us to focus on men taking care of their health, a topic that we rarely discuss. The Arkansas Duck Derby is also a great way to fund awareness of men’s health issues and, eventually, to begin taking preventive screenings and exams to them where they work.”

The Duck Derby is a one-day competitive hunt planned for Jan. 7, 2020 that will include teams of four hunters per team who will compete for $10,000 in prizes that can be equally divided among the team, as well as the landowner who donates property for the hunt. Organizers of the derby have secured private land in and around the Conway area and continue to pursue participation from area landowners who are interested in hosting a hunt the day of the Derby.

Hunters will be awarded points assigned to different species of ducks that are brought in the day of the derby. Point values for different ducks will be kept confidential until all teams have returned from the hunt. The team with the most points wins the grand prize.

Teams will be assigned their specific hunting locations through a random drawing the eve of the banquet.

The community is invited to attend a banquet on Jan. 6, the evening prior to the hunt, regardless of whether individuals are participating on a team. The banquet will include dinner, silent and live auction and big ticket raffle items.

Online, you can find more information about the derby and team sponsorships. Landowners who would like to donate their property for the one-day hunt, and prospective sponsors, may contact Marla Hambuchen at