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Ruby rules the roost

Photo Courtesy of Cuero Record The Worthington race team runs toward the finish line with Turkey Trot Sultana Joe Adams hiding Paycheck to finish the race Saturday in Cuero, Texas. Ruby won for 18th time with a total time of 3:05.29 while Paycheck had a total time of 9:06.04.

CUERO, Texas --Trailing by a big margin heading into Turkeyfest in Texas, Paycheck needed a big comeback.

But alas, there was no rally for Worthington's most famous turkey, Paycheck.

"We had good intentions until the green flag went down," said Paycheck's team captain Mike Fury. "We have the most social bird. Once again, Paycheck started visiting people in the crowd and I mean immediately. We just couldn't keep her on the street. It was a runaway victory for Ruby Begonia."

Ruby literally ran away with the title. Her time on Saturday in the second leg of the Great Gobbler Gallop was a mere 54.21 seconds, giving the Cuero bird a total of 3:05.29, earning her the Traveling Trophy of Tumultuous Triumph.

"She was steady Freddy again, just like in Worthington," Fury said of Ruby. "She didn't run away. That's the other thing, Paycheck was in a hurry and took off from us. Ruby stayed right with the race handlers. They just herded her down the street. She never made any attempt to get away from them or anything. She was like the tortoise and Paycheck was like the hare, but the hare just kept going all over the place."

Paycheck, meanwhile, had a time of 6:56 on Saturday. Adding the time from Worthington's King Turkey Day in mid-September, Paycheck finished with a total of 9:06.04, leaving her with the Circulating Consolation Cup of Consummate Commiseration.

"It was really déjà vu all over again like in Worthington," Fury said. "Ruby ran a good race and went straight down the street. Paycheck was all over the place again. We couldn't keep her on the street."

By the end, the Turkey Trot Sultana Joe Adams carried Paycheck across the finish line.

"That was way at the end. We didn't hardly get to the finish line, we had to get her out of the crowd and she went into rose bushes," Fury said. "She was all over the place.

"Saturday, it was like 90-degree angles into the crowd. We would put her back down and she would go right back into the crowd. There was just no way we were going to keep her on the street. She just went into the crowd over and over. It was tough races."

Coming into the race, Fury knew they had to prevent Paycheck from heading into the crowd -- an issue from Worthington's first leg.

"We just wanted to keep her with us and keep her by us. But when we put her down, she kind of took off fast and ran hard, but in the wrong directions," Fury said. "She was in the crowd all the time, just like in Worthington. At Worthington, at least she ran down the street a little bit, but here she just went back and forth across the street. We couldn't get her going in the right direction."

But the race was just a small part of the town celebration.

"The hospitality has been so good with great people. It's kind of a neat celebration between the two communities," Fury said. "The hospitality has just been great and the celebration has been good. They have a huge celebration similar to King Turkey Day. It's a lot of fun to be at and hang out with all the people. It's a great tradition and it's fun to be a part of."

And while Fury admitted he was disappointed in the outcome of the race, the experience is more important.

"The race is kind of second hand, although there are some bragging rights that go with it," he said. "The hospitality and the friendships that are made are probably more important. It's a good weekend.

"We are disappointed in the race, but that's just part of being there and everything else is really great. They are certainly great hosts."

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Coordinator Aaron Hagen may be reached at 376-7323.