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Brian Korthals/Daily Globe Worthington race team member Jesse Teerink guides winner Paycheck across the finish line in a near record time of 27 seconds during the Great Gobbler Gallop.

Paycheck for the win

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News Worthington,Minnesota 56187 http://www.dglobe.com/sites/default/files/styles/square_300/public/fieldimages/4/0711/19-td-race1.jpg?itok=QKjSFB2R
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Paycheck for the win
Worthington Minnesota 300 11th Street / P.O. Box 639 56187

WORTHINGTON -- Great training, strong team support and a mighty toss gave Paycheck just the right boost he needed to sprint to the finish line, making Worthington folks proud once again.

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The first leg of battle for the Great Gobbler Gallop ended with the city's pride clocking in the second fastest time in King Turkey Day history -- 27.7 seconds -- while his friendly rival Ruby Begonia made it in more than 4 minutes, after factoring in multiple penalties.

Months before the race, Paycheck received special training from personal trainers Brian "BA" Almberg and Kaden Wendling.

"He (Wendling) worked with the bird and showed us the ropes," said Team Worthington captain Vida Iten.

Prior to the showdown, Team Cuero was certain that Ruby Begonia was ready for Paycheck.

"Ruby's ready and I'm hoping this cold weather will make her run really fast," said Cuero handler Amy Crain.

But alas, the chilly weather was of no help for Ruby Begonia.

While Paycheck soared ahead, Ruby lost her bearings.

She galloped into the crowd, leaving Cuero team members in a frenzy to find her and get her back on track.

"It was really exciting to see when Ruby Begonia escaped the race way," said onlooker Kelly Moon, who was watching the Great Gobbler Gallop for the first time.

Unfortunately Ruby's escape was not as exciting for her team. As Cuero members emerged from the crowd, it seemed that no amount of coaxing helped the bird.

In attempt to salvage what was left of the race, Cuero coach Greg Nemec whisked Ruby into his arms for a dash to the end.

Team Cuero incurred three penalties -- seven five-second penalties for touching the bird, a 30 second penalty for carrying Ruby to get her back on the course, and a two-minute advancement penalty for carrying her to the finish line.

"It could have been the cold but I think it was the crowd that scared her a little bit," Crain said. "We'll be ready for heat 2."

Heat 2 of the Great Gobbler Gallop will be at the Annual Cuero Turkey Fest, scheduled from Oct. 7 to 9, to determine which team is worthy of the Traveling Trophy of Tumultuous Triumph.

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