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Ruby wins second heat of Great Gobbler Gallop

Matt Widboom (from left), Jim Henning, Chad Cummings and Jodi Almberg try to keep Paycheck in the lead as Ruby Begonia tries to pass him. Almberg, who had hip surgery recently, is operating a two-wheel cart provided to her by the Cuero sheriff. (Roni Gendler/Victoria Advocate)1 / 2
Matt Widboom (from left), Jim Henning, Chad Cummings and Jodi Almberg try to keep Paycheck in the lead as Ruby Begonia tries to pass him. Almberg, who had hip surgery recently, is operating a two-wheel cart provided to her by the Cuero sheriff. (Roni Gendler/Victoria Advocate)2 / 2

CUERO, Texas -- It was neck and neck turkey racing Saturday in Cuero, Texas.

And at the end of the second leg of the Great Gobbler Gallop, Ruby Begonia and Paycheck finished just over two seconds apart. Ruby Begonia finished with a time of 1:30.50 and Paycheck clocked a time of 1:33:22. Ruby had one penalty and Paycheck had two, making Ruby the winner of this heat.

However, Worthington's very own Paycheck will, for the second year in a row, bring home the Traveling Trophy of Tumultuous Triumph. Members of the Worthington team are Chad Cummings, team handler, Matt Widboom, second handler, Jim Henning is coach and Jodi Almberg is captain.

"The race started and we started on our side of the street and Paycheck decided he wanted the other side of the street," said Cummings. "We stayed out of the crowd this year."

Almberg was glad Cuero's sheriff gave her a two wheel cart to ride down the street.

"I had a hip surgery two months ago and I can walk but I can't run," said Almberg. "If I would not have had the cart I would have missed today's race because Paycheck was moving so fast."

Paycheck's high energy continued to be his strength.

"Paycheck was awesome. He is wild," said Almberg. "He was pacing in his cage before the race. He was ready to go."

Exhausted was the word Cuero coach Eric McCowan used to describe how he felt after Saturday's race.

"Words cannot describe. It was one of the greatest races," McCowan said. "It was definitely the closest year that I have seen and this is the eighth heat I have covered.

"This has to be one of the quickest, fastest finishes of all times," McCowan added. "We are going to research that."

According to McCowan, the Texas bird spent too much time visiting with the crowd.

"I think here in her own town she likes to visit with her fans," he said. "She went slow and took time to chat with her friends."

McCowan, who said this year marked his final turkey race, was disappointed about Cuero's loss but he is already making predictions for next year.

"I was hoping to go out with a win," said McCowan. "For next year, we will have an older, faster, stronger bird. So watch out Worthington."

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