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Texas man gets special KTD 'Arrest-a-Guest' welcome

Gary Carpenter (center) of San Aneglo, Texas was "arrested" Friday as part of the annual "Arrest-A-Guest' component of Worthington's King Turkey Day festivities. Also pictured are KTD Board of Directors President Terri Odell (left) and Worthington police officer Kirk Honius. (Ryan McGaughey / The Globe)

WORTHINGTON — This year’s King Turkey Day “Arrest-a-Guest” selection represents a “perfect fit” for the festival’s “North Star to the Lone Star” theme.

Gary Carpenter of San Angelo, Texas was “arrested” by Worthington police officer Kirk Honius Friday morning, and will now be an honored guest to multiple activities during this weekend’s King Turkey Day festivities. Each year, Worthington law enforcement, in a partnership with the Worthington Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, pulls over an unsuspecting visitor to the community on the Friday of KTD weekend and “sentences” them to a weekend of fun.

This time around, there was a bit of a pre-arranged setup. Carpenter is the older brother of Linda Nelson of Worthington, and was already in town for a visit.

“It was all a scam —  my sister set me up,” Carpenter said between laughs on Friday morning at the Chamber of Commerce office. “My sister said she needed to go downtown and had to get something, so we got in my truck and headed that way. That’s when I learned I was set up.”

Honius had been tipped off as to when Carpenter would be passing through the downtown area, and dutifully pulled Carpenter over.

“I asked if this was a 25 or a 35 (speed limit), and when I saw the lights I figured I must have speeding in a 25,” said Carpenter, who Honius confirmed was doing nothing wrong.

Carpenter grew up in Spencer, Iowa and has already made a trip to the Clay County Fair during his current visit north. He said his sister encouraged him to stay around to celebrate King Turkey Day this weekend, and he plans to return to Texas early next week.

Carpenter has lived in Texas longer than the Midwest. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy after receiving his education and, after several years, accepted a Border Patrol post on the Texas-Mexico border. Prior to the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, he was promoted to Chief of Customs Aviation, working in both New Orleans, La., and San Angelo.

Given his Texas ties, it’s perhaps natural to wonder which four-legged fowl Carpenter will be pulling for in Saturday’s Great Gobbler Gallop — Worthington’s Paycheck or Cuero, Texas’ Ruby Begonia. Just the race alone should be interesting, Carpenter said.

“I didn’t even know about this whole turkey race thing,” he admitted, and —  after a few chuckles, added, “I remain neutral.”

Carpenter will remain in the spotlight (somewhat) during the weekend. He’ll enjoy complimentary lodging at Worthington’s Historic Dayton House, be an honored guest at today’s Mayor’s Brunch and ride in style in a Ford Mustang convertible during the King Turkey Day parade.

KTD Board of Directors President Terri Odell acknowledged that the act of arresting a guest can be sometimes be difficult, as people often already have pre-determined plans when passing through town and can’t stay. But, thanks, to a tip from Worthington Regional Health Care Foundation Executive Director Jeff Rotert, an ideal candidate was found.

“When we heard he (Carpenter) was from Texas, we thought it was a perfect fit,” Odell said.

Ryan McGaughey

I first joined the Daily Globe in April 2001 as sports editor. I later became the news editor in November 2002, and the managing editor in August 2006. I'm originally from New York State, and am married with two children.

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