He’s 11 feet tall. He weighs about 300 pounds. His top speed might be 15 mph. He’s covered in yellow. 

Meet Rocky. 

Sign up for our newsletter!

* indicates required

Rocky is the spokes-duck for local nonprofit For the Love of the Lake. 

He makes public appearances at the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Lower Greenville, the State Fair of Texas, Fourth of July parades, FTLOTL’s Second Saturday Shoreline Spruce-Ups and other fundraisers. 

And husband-wife duo Richard and Lis Akin, Rocky’s wranglers, are in charge of transporting the duck from his “lair” to wherever he’s going for the day. It’s a job they’ve held since 2012.

“I was voluntold,” says Richard, an engineer at the McCommas Bluff Landfill. 

But back then, Lis — an investigator for Dallas Fire-Rescue — was executive director of the nonprofit, which is dedicated to preserving and enhancing White Rock Lake Park.

She and her family also have a long history of caring for the environment. Her great-grandfather was assistant secretary of the interior under then-President Teddy Roosevelt, who signed the Antiquities Act of 1906, the first federal law to provide legal protection of cultural and natural resources on federal lands. As a kid, a few of Lis’ favorite things included stickers and merchandise from the Environmental Protection Agency. And she got her scout troop to recycle. 

“In the ’70s, it was unheard of in Dallas,” Lis says. 

Rocky’s creator, Doug Frazier, who now lives in Florida, made the Rocky of today after being unhappy with the way the first Rocky turned out, the Akins say. They’ve only seen one photo of the first Rocky, built in 2008. By 2010, Frazier had finished a second Rocky. 

They’ll tell you that caring for Rocky, who’s named for White Rock Lake, is not always easy. 

The mascot’s body is built on a base that comes from a three-wheeled golf cart, circa 1992. So swinging by the local hardware store on the way home just isn’t an option. 

Patching up holes on the body is a little simpler and something Richard has done countless times. It’s constructed from chicken wire covered in a canvas material that’s been soaked in a combination of water and glue, sort of like papier-mâché.

Rocky looks a lot like a bath toy, but don’t be fooled. It’s the same as many other objects submerged in White Rock Lake: He can go in the water, but he’ll never come out. 

It takes about four people to help the duck disembark from the trailer, given his weight. Once he’s on the ground, it’s safe to enter through Rocky’s butt flap. 

“So yeah, you get to crawl up the duck’s bum,” Richard says. “Or, you could say, if you’re crawling out, it’s giving birth.” 

Two adults can fit inside, but it’s tight.

“As you get older, everything doesn’t always bend like it used to,” Lis says. 

One person can drive the electric duck, and the other can spin his head, all the way around if they want. But it can be hot as Hades in there and not always a smooth ride. 

Richard is not just one half of the Rocky wrangling team. He’s also the person who comes up with the FTLOTL-themed messages on the signs at White Rock Lake Park. 

One example: “Rocky says, ‘Man made trash. Pick up your trash man.”