Ruby Begonia set to reclaim racing title
Oct. 10, 2012 at 5:10 a.m.
Updated Oct. 11, 2012 at 5:11 a.m.
Fastest isn't always best.
Although Paycheck crossed the finish line before Ruby Begonia in the initial leg of the Great Gobbler Gallop last month in Minnesota, penalties against the race team - for touching the bird during the race - helped the Cuero fowl take the first heat of the annual turkey race.
Ruby Begonia, with one five-second penalty, came in at 2:21.21. Paycheck, after the penalties were calculated, clocked a time of 4:02.52.
Teams are assessed a five-second penalty each time the turkey is touched during the race.
The second heat of the race will be at 10:30 a.m. Saturday in Cuero at the 40th annual Turkeyfest celebration.
"We have a friendly bird. We had to get her out of the crowd several times," said Pete Suby, coach of Paycheck's race team, explaining the penalties.
"We've been working hard to keep her on the straight and narrow this time," Suby added. "We feel like we have the fastest bird."
Greg Nemec, coach of Ruby Begonia's team, is confident the Texas turkey will fare well on her home turf.
"Being at home should work to our advantage," Nemec said. "Our people show up to cheer on Ruby, but also know not to open up and let her into the crowd."
Ruby's performance in Minnesota was also encouraging.
"We had a bird go in the crowd last year just like Paycheck did this year," Nemec said. "This year, Ruby Begonia ran straight and steady. That's a good thing."
Times from both heats are combined to determine the winner of the Traveling Trophy of Tumultuous Triumph. The losing team takes home the Circulating Consolation Cup of Consummate Commiseration.
Paycheck has won four of the last five years, including two in a row. Ruby Begonia last won in 2009.
Joining Suby on the Paycheck team are Amanda Walljasper, Jami Cummings and Mike Furry.
Nemec's teammates on the Ruby Begonia team are Richard Weber, Clayton Lantz and Linda Nemec.
The 100th anniversary of the original Turkey Trot is also being observed and another tradition being revived.
Hundreds of turkeys are expected to be herded through downtown Cuero during the parade that follows the Great Gobbler Gallop.
Turkeyfest activities continue through Sunday at the Cuero Municipal Park.