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Cuero's Ruby outruns Minnesota turkey (Video)

By Carolina Astrain
Oct. 13, 2012 at 5:13 a.m.
Updated Oct. 14, 2012 at 5:14 a.m.

With directional guidance from the race crew, Ruby Begonia, of Cuero, strides toward the finish line of the Great Gobbler Gallop against Paycheck, of Worthington, Minn.

A light brown feather was tucked inside Alfred Polzine's black cowboy hatband.

The feather was from his hometown turkey's wings - a turkey named Paycheck.

After driving more than 1,000 miles from their farm near Worthington, Minn., Polzine and his wife, Roxann, made into Cuero days before the big race.

Cuero's famed turkey, Ruby Begonia, raced against Paycheck on Saturday as part of the rivaling cities' 40-year-old gobbler competition.

"It's an awesome comradery between the cities," the Minnesotan said. "We just love the people here."

This was their first time attending the Cuero race.

"We were able to make it down this time because of the dry season we've had on the farm," Roxann Polzine said. "We've only missed one turkey race back home."

Two large white containers held the turkeys before the start of the race.

Sidewalks swelled with spectators waiting for the turkey dash to begin.

The hometown favorite beat the visiting North Star bird by about 6 minutes with a final speed of 3 minutes and 05.29 seconds.

"I'm so mad," said Team Paycheck member Pete Suby. "She's was just feeling social today."

At the end of Paycheck's stretch of the race, the turkey had to be carried because she kept running toward the crowd instead of the finish line.

The Worthington team said they trained Paycheck, who was just a chick this past spring, in the wild so that she'd keep her young spirit high.

This wasn't Ruby's first time beating the newborn chick. In September at the turkey festival in Worthington, Ruby beat Paycheck by about 2 minutes.

The win in Worthington broke the 5-year-old turkey's losing streak that started in 2006.

"This has been her fastest time ever," said Ruby Begonia Team captain Linda Nemec.

Event staff member Terri Warwas said about $160,000 was spent on the citywide festival.

"It brings people to Cuero that wouldn't normally be here," Warwas said.

Back at the stands, the Polzines watched the rest of the turkey parade in a cheery gloom.

"I felt bad that Paycheck didn't win," said Roxann Polzine. "We'll be back next season."



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