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Ruby Begonia runs into crowd, not finish line during first leg of race

By BY ERIN PRADIA - EPRADIA@VICAD.COM
Sept. 17, 2011 at 4:17 a.m.

Greg Nemec, left, holds Ruby Begonia, while teammates Bobby Phillips, Amy Crain and Linda Nemec trail behind during  first leg of the Great Gobbler Gallop in Worthington, Minn. on Saturday.

Ruby Begonia, of Cuero, made the journey to Worthington, Minn., to race on Saturday against Paycheck in the first leg of the Great Gobbler Gallop.

The 38-year-old race determines which city will claim the affectionate title of Turkey Capital of the World.

"We got beat pretty bad," said Greg Nemec, the coach for the Ruby Begonia Team.

Paycheck finished in a mere 27 seconds, while it took Ruby Begonia four minutes and five seconds to wobble across the finish line.

"She started out good and straight, but then she saw an opening in the crowd and made a break for it," Nemec said. "It was her first time seeing a crowd that big."

Nemec said he hopes to give Ruby Begonia more exposure to people before the next race.

The weather also may have contributed to Ruby Begonia's performance, Nemec said. The Cuero turkey was not accustomed to the freezing weather and blowing winds common to Minnesota, and Nemec said Paycheck may have a similar shock in the heightened October temperatures in Cuero.

He said he still has hope for the race in Cuero.

"Worthington had a good bird, but we're not down and out yet," Nemec said. "Their bird could do what ours did and ours could run fast and straight."

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