Paycheck checks out in turkey race (with photos and video)
WORTHINGTON — Despite all their boasts, Paycheck and the Worthington Turkey Race Team couldn’t keep up with Ruby Begonia and her Texas handlers during the first heat of the Great Gobbler Gallop on Saturday.
After the teams lined up on 10th Street and the birds were released from their cages, Ruby Begonia was quick to set off down the racetrack, then continued to trot nonchalantly down the middle of the street.
Paycheck, on the other hand, needed some prompting to stay on course. Once she did leave her cage, Ruby’s lead seemed to intimidate the Worthington bird as Paycheck tried to take off down Third Avenue..
“She just wanted to go off the track,” said Coach Brian Almberg after the race. “It’s a good thing we had a handler on the other side of the crowd to catch her, otherwise she would have been all the way to Wal-Mart by now.”
Meanwhile, Ruby Begonia continued her steady stroll down 10th Street encouraged by her human handlers — Clint Clark , Mary Beth Finney, Clayton Lantz and Terri Warwas — and eventually finished with a time of 1:18:12 with no penalties.
“The race was wonderful,” said Lantz, the Texas team’s captain. “We couldn’t have done better.”
Paycheck, on the other hand, continued attempting to socialize with the crowd and adoring fans, stopping multiple times to wiggle between spectators. Worthington team members Jami Cummings, Amanda Walljasper-Tate and Jason Vote had to dive into the crowd several times to retrieve their wayward racer..
With numerous penalties, Paycheck eventually crossed the finish line — with some pick-me-up assistance from Vote — with a time of 5:56:35, nearly four and half minutes slower than Ruby Begonia.
The Worthington team chose a veteran bird this year, and her constant wandering seemed to baffle her handlers.
“I don’t know what the problem was,” Almberg said. “This wasn’t her first time racing. Two years ago and three years ago she did fine.”
The Worthington team may have come in second place in the King Turkey Day race, but team members remain confident that they will be able to secure the victory in Cuero, Texas, in a few weeks. The second heat of the race will be Oct. 12 during Cuero’s Turkeyfest.
“It isn’t over yet,” Almberg said. “We plan to keep doing what we have been doing and try to win in Texas.”
The spirit of the competition remained friendly as both teams headed off to the start of the parade route after the race.
“We just love coming up here, and we’re having a great time,” Lantz said.