CUERO, Texas — In one of the closet finishes in the event's 47-year history, Paycheck extended its Great Gobbler Gallop winning streak to five over Ruby Begonia.
On a cool, breezy Saturday morning that felt more like a Worthington fall day (not counting 2019) than one in south Texas, Paycheck made up a nine-second differential from heat one on King Turkey Day and earned one of the narrowest victories in Great Gobbler Gallop history with a final triumphant time of 2 minutes, 38.75 seconds. Ruby, meanwhile, wrapped up this year's version of the Gallop with a cumulative clocking of 2 minutes, 41.67 seconds — an overall margin of less than three seconds.
As a result, Paycheck once again gets to bring home the Traveling Turkey Trophy of Tumultuous Triumph for the 28th time in the history of the friendly Worthington-Cuero rivalry. Ruby Begonia will once again settle for the the Circulating Consolation Cup of Consummate Commiseration.
Both birds ran closely throughout the race down Cuero's Esplanade Avenue, a thoroughfare nearly twice as wide as Worthington's 10th Street, but a couple of touching penalties on Ruby's race team cost the Texans an important five seconds each. Though Paycheck won the Cuero heat by finishing just about two seconds ahead of Ruby Begonia — that happened in large part as a result of a brief U-turn by Ruby a little more than halfway through — it was the penalties that put the Worthington turkey over the top overall.
"Wow, that was close .... and I'm just happy to say "Go Paycheck go,'" said Paycheck race team captain Jamie Salinas immediately after the race on the Turkeyfest podium. "Thank you to everyone affiliated with Cuero and Turkeyfest, the race team — everybody's been great."
Salinas had help from Paycheck race team members Terri Odell (coach) and Kelly Eggers and Chad Nixon (handlers). Ruby's race team was comprised of Clayton Lantz, Kenneth Schley and James Rath.