Ruby Begonia tries to catch up in second leg of Great Gobbler Gallop

Sonny Long

Oct. 7, 2010 at 5:07 a.m.
Updated Oct. 8, 2010 at 5:08 a.m.

Robert Earl Keen, a Texas legend, will be headlining the Cuero Turkeyfest this weekend.

Robert Earl Keen, a Texas legend, will be headlining the Cuero Turkeyfest this weekend.

CUERO - Ruby Begonia has some time to make up in the second leg of the Great Gobbler Gallop at the 38th annual Cuero Turkeyfest on Saturday.

Paycheck took the first leg in Worthington, Minn., and has a lead of one minute and two seconds heading into Saturday's final race.

"Ruby has continued her training regimen," said team coach Cory Thamm. "Our key issue in Minnesota was the weather. Although it has cooled off here, Ruby has had time to acclimate to the change. Both Ruby and the race team are ready."

Chris Heinrichs, coach of Paycheck's team, is confident the Minnesota turkey can hold onto the overall lead.

"Well, I'd feel kind of bad if the hometown bird didn't at least win the leg of the race in her hometown, so as long as we win the overall time, we'll be fine," he said. "Maybe we'll let Ruby win by 30 seconds in Cuero."

Heinrichs said the cool weather feels like summer in Minnesota.

"Paycheck trained at summer camp, so he'll be fine," Heinrichs said. "We're looking forward to taking the trophy back to Worthington."

Other members of Paycheck's team include captain Tammy Anderson and handlers Jesse Teerin and Diane Schettler.

In addition to Thamm, Ruby Begonia's team includes captain Jason Rogers, and handlers Dawn Draper and Bobby Phillips.

The race begins at 10:30 a.m. in downtown Cuero followed by the Turkeyfest parade.

Round and Round

In addition to a musical lineup that includes headliner Robert Earl Keen on Saturday night, this year's festival features some new additions.

The new events include a roller derby game featuring the Lonestar Rollergirls from Austin.

In 2006 the Lonestar Rollergirls were featured in a 13-episode television series on A&E titled "Rollergirls."

"Roller derby, like turkey racing, is just pure Americana," said Thamm, who also serves on the Turkeyfest board of directors. "It's something you usually only see in one or two cities in the whole country. This is a chance for folks to see this amazing sport close to home for free."

Festival goers have the chance to meet the skaters at 3:30 p.m. Saturday at the Turkeyfest souvenir booth at the main pavilion in the Cuero Municipal Park. The game will be at 1 p.m. Sunday.

Take it to the river

Another new event, the first-ever Ruby's Great Guadalupe River Race will start at 2 p.m. either at the put in on Farm-to-Market Road 766 or at state Highway 72. The FM 766 start is a 15-mile Texas Canoe and Kayak Racing Association and International Canoe Federation sanctioned race, while the Highway 72 start is a six-mile recreational race. Both races finish at the take out under the bridge on FM 236.

More than 100 paddlers are expected to take part in the inaugural event.

Registration is at 1 p.m. The $35 entry fee includes admission into the festival and the Keen concert.

At the park, the festival also includes a World War II re-enactment camp, carnival, cook offs, 60 food and arts and crafts booths, mechanical bull, helicopter rides, paint ball arcade, street magician, antique tractor pull, poker tournament, jalapeno eating contest, turkey calling contest, turkey egg hunt and race your own turkey contest, among other events.



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