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Ruby Begonia starts race way behind

By Sonny Long
Oct. 5, 2011 at 5:05 a.m.

Turkey trainer and Turkeyfest board member, Cory Thamm, temporarily releases Ruby Begonia into the streets of Cuero.

TURKEY TROT 5K

Before Ruby Begonia and Paycheck take to the streets Saturday, the humans get a chance to race in Cuero in the 4th annual Turkey Trot 5K fitness walk and run.

The event benefits the Cuero Wellness & Rejuvenation Center.

Race day registration begins at 7:30 a.m. at the Main Street Kaffee Haus, 104 E. Main St.

The race starts at 8:30 a.m. Entry fee is $25 and $20 for students. For more more information call 361-275-9355.

For the complete Turkeyfest schedule and the music line up see the Get Out section.

Ruby Begonia needs help from her fans.

Ruby trails Paycheck, her feathered foe from Minnesota, by almost four minutes in the Great Gobbler Gallop.

During the first leg in September, the Cuero turkey ran into the crowd lining the race route and had to be retrieved by team members.

Team Ruby coach Greg Nemec said the Cuero's turkey fans can offer her a big assist.

"Our fans understand that if they stand tall and stand still and don't let her into the crowd, that would help," said Nemec.

Ruby has been working out hard in the two weeks between the races and also has worked on getting used to crowds, Nemec said.

"She has done a couple of parades and hung out with some students on Tuesday. She's more accustomed to being around people," Nemec said. "She should be more acclimated to the crowds and run straight and fast for us."

Cuero's wider streets could also prove advantageous to Ruby Begonia, Nemec said.PAYCHECK CONFIDENT

Paycheck, who blistered his home course in only 27 seconds, is confident of holding the 3:38 lead.

"We've continued to talk to Paycheck every day to let him know that he's in a good position, and all he needs to do is go straight," said Diane Schettler, Paycheck's team captain.

"We know we just need to let him go and walk him down the street. We may not even run this time he's so far ahead," she said. "But then again, these birds are known to do their own thing."

The times from both legs of the race are combined to determine the winner who takes home the Traveling Turkey Trophy of Tumultuous Triumph. The loser settles for Circulating Consolation Cup of Consummate Commiseration.

The winning town also claims the title of Turkey Capital of the World for the next year.

Paycheck is the reigning champion.WEATHER FACTOR

Saturday's weather forecast calls for a 40 percent chance of scattered thunderstorms with a high of 90 degrees. The race is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. in downtown Cuero.

"I don't think the weather is going to be a big deal," Schettler said. "It will be a bigger change for the race team than the bird. At least it won't be cold like it was up here."

Schettler said her only concern would be if the street was wet from rain.

In addition to Schettler, other Team Paycheck members are Mike Fury, Vida Iten and Jesse Teerink.

Joining Nemec on Team Ruby are Amy Alkek Crain, Linda Nemec and Bobby Phillips.

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