So, so close...
WORTHINGTON — Fans of outdoor festivals — and of racing poultry down city streets — gathered along 10th Street Saturday to watch the first heat of the Great Gobbler Gallop.
Worthington’s Paycheck and Cuero, Texas’ Ruby Begonia competed in what can only be described as the most electrifying racing event on two legs. In the end, it was Ruby that crossed the finish line first — but just barely.
Paycheck took an early lead in the race, inching just in front of Ruby and maintaining command past the halfway mark at the intersection with Third Avenue. But Paycheck stopped around that point, and Ruby slipped ahead. The pair continued for the finish neck and neck, with Ruby finally reaching the finish just in front of the hometown hero.
In one of the closest races on record, Ruby Begonia inched out Paycheck with a time of 1:41.12. Paycheck finished with a respectable 1:47.17. Neither team received any penalties.
Ruby Begonia’s team captain, Clint Clark, was ecstatic with the outcome.
“I’m stoked! I’m stoked! I’m ready to go,” Clark said. “I want the three-peat and they’re (Paycheck’s team) going to tell you in a minute that it isn’t over until October, but it’s over already. It’s done. The three-peat is done.”
Paycheck’s handlers were pleased with their performance, noting that the deficit is minor going into the second heat of the Gallop next month.
“We’re behind a little bit, but we’ll be fine,” Paycheck team member Kevin Prins assured, “A little more training ... and we’ll be fine.”
The next heat in the Great Gobbler Gallop will take place on the second Saturday of October in Cuero during that community’s Turkeyfest. The times from both races will be added together to determine the winner of this year’s contest — and who takes home the Traveling Trophy of Tumultuous Triumph and the Circulating Consolation Cup of Consummate Commiseration.