A classic tale comes to life, turkey style with video of the race
WORTHINGTON -- The classic "Tortoise and the Hare" fable came to life Saturday afternoon during the 73rd annual King Turkey Day's Great Gobbler Gallop downtown.
Ruby Begonia, the bird from Cuero, Texas, played the part of the tortoise, and proved that slow and steady wins the race. While Worthington's Paycheck crossed the finish line first, penalties acquired from several sideline visits to her adoring fans kept her from winning.
With penalties included Ruby's final time was 2 minutes, 21.20 seconds, and Paycheck's was 4:02.52. Before penalties Paycheck's time was 1:52, and Ruby's was 2:16.
One of Ruby's handlers, Clayton Lantz, said the winning moment was especially memorable because his children got to watch. Lantz credited the warm weather for being on their side, and said he's hoping for the same results during the second leg of the race in Cuero.
Paycheck's team captain Mike Fury said while time was lost on penalties, she ran a good race overall.
"We wanted to keep her in a 'V' pattern, but she just kept getting out of it," Fury said. "The penalties hurt, but we couldn't get her out (of the crowd) without grabbing her."
One of Paycheck's handlers, Amanda Walljasper, said while the crowd was great at helping to get the social bird back on track during her detours, it wasn't enough.
"We had to get her out of the crowd too many times," Walljasper said. "Those penalties will get you."
One crowd member Jeanine Townswick and her family cheered the hometown turkey on near the finish line and stage area.
"I wish Paycheck would have won, but (sitting in the front) was wonderful," Townswick said.
Jami Cummings, Paycheck's other handler, said the day was all about hospitality and friendships made.
Walljasper agreed and said she is grateful for the community involvement.
"We just appreciate all the friendships and the great people that come out and support this event," Walljasper said.
When it comes to preparing for the next gallop, Lantz said, "We're not sure if we'll do anything different (since Ruby won), but we come up with all kinds of stuff."
Fury said the goal for the race down south is to keep Paycheck penalty-free.
"That's going to be the key," Fury said. "Just stay away from penalties and we'll be good."
While Paycheck's team cherishes the bond made with the Texans, they haven't forgotten their game faces for October.
"Watch out," Walljasper said. "This is just the first leg of the race, we're going to come back and be ready for the second half."
Cummings added, "It ain't over 'till October."
Daily Globe Reporter Kayla Strayer may be reached at 376-7322.