Two highly controlled and trained turkeys will compete in the second stop of the Great Gobbler Gallop at the 49th Annual Cuero Turkey Festival at 10:30 a.m. on October 9 on Esplanade Street in downtown Cuero.
Racing turkey Ruby Begonia, the pride and joy of Cuero, will take on Paycheck, the turkey from Worthington, Minn., Who won the first stage of the race by 23 seconds in the hometown of Paycheck earlier this month. . The scores of the two races will be combined to determine the winning bird, thus establishing one of the cities as “Turkey’s world capital”.
“Ruby is not far behind, and anything can happen. It’s not over until October, ”said Brenda Martin, President of Turkeyfest. “The paycheck is not used to our Texan heat and our plaza is wider (than Worthington Street). “
Ruby Begonia’s racing team includes James Rath, captain; Angie Cuellar, coach; Tifani Hilburn, handler; and Brady Boehl, handler. As captain, Rath sets the bird down at the start of the race as the two drivers position themselves slightly back on either side. They use large hats to shield the turkey’s eyes so the bird stays focused rather than looking around, and they hit the ground around it with paddles to move the bird forward. Members of the racing team are penalized if they touch their racing turkey. The coach brings up the rear and keeps the teammates informed of Paycheck’s whereabouts.
In their approaches to racing, Ruby Begonia and Paycheck are very different birds this year. The Cuero bird was selected for its maturity and cooperative nature, while the Worthington bird was selected for its fast “lightning” and “freaky” speed.
“We wanted a bird that wouldn’t be wild and wander away,” Cuellar said. “We want it to be fast but also stable so that it goes down the street and does not sink into the crowd. Worthington has a very fast bird, but he’s not very predictable, and hopefully he will take flight in the opposite direction or in the crowd.
The Paycheck racing team includes Terri Odell, captain; Doug Tate, coach; Kelly Eggers, handler; and Genny McCuen, handler. Tate said their racing turkey receives daily massages to keep it supple, loose, and ready to run. He also eats a highly specialized and clean diet rich in nutrients to make him “the bird to beat.” In addition, the racing team performs daily speed checks and strength training at a state-of-the-art secret training facility.
“The training facility is in a hidden location because we don’t want someone from Texas sneaking up and spying,” Tate said. “Anonymous donors have given large sums of money (to build the facility).”
Tate added that he was anticipating a tough race in Cuero in October and that that 23-second lead could quickly disappear in turkey races.
“We want to stay focused and keep Paycheck focused,” Tate said. “We are concerned about the heat and hope for a cold front to make him feel at home. Hope you interview me and give a victory speech after the race.
Over 30 Worthington residents are expected to attend Turkeyfest this year. Tate has visited Cuero about half a dozen times, and he and his wife have developed close friendships with their Texas counterparts. They even take vacations with some of them.
“We have a lot of good friends there. We love Texas. My wife would love to retire there because we love the nice people and the atmosphere, ”Tate said. “It’s a great place, and we had a great time with the Cuero contingent recently, and we can’t wait to see them again. “
Cuellar echoed Tate’s feelings about the lasting friendships that have formed over the decades.
“We have forged strong ties over the years. We go to weddings and performances that support our friends in Worthington, ”Cuellar said. “It makes our festival unique, this turkey story and the sister city we can celebrate with – the two cities coming together. “
On October 7, free Modelo beer and burgers will be served at Fun After Five from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. in Cuero Municipal Park. Carnival will be in full swing from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Entrance to the carnival will be free, and bracelets and tickets will be available for purchase for the rides. Discounted $ 20 bracelets will be available through October 6 at the Cuero Chamber of Commerce, Cuero Pecan House, and Ranch House Spirits and Gifts. The bracelets will give wearers unlimited access to rides during certain hours.
On the morning of October 8, the Cuero and Worthington running teams will take Ruby Begonia to Cuero and Meyersville Public Schools as well as St. Michael’s Catholic School and Lifeway Baptist School. Ruby will also be a guest at the Cuero High School cheer rally that morning.
“(I love) hearing the kids sing ‘Come on Ruby go’,” Cuellar said. “They are excited when they see the bird.”
In Cuero Municipal Park, the carnival will open from 5 p.m. to midnight, and many live groups will perform on the small stage of the Pavilion and the big stage of the Knoll. The festival will have two stages this year so festival goers can spread out and practice social distancing, Cuellar said.
At least 14 food vendors will serve funnel cakes, turkey thighs, corn dogs, roasted corn, burgers, okra, chili, gyros, twist taters, pizza, snow cones, tostados, chicken fillets, barbecue and more. About 20 arts and crafts vendors and boutiques will sell Paparazzi jewelry, handbags, wallets, western clothing, hats, shoes, belts, wooden crosses, tumblers, bandanas and pet bows, crochet items, and air fresheners, among other merchandise.
The barbecue will take place October 8-9 with categories including brisket, pork ribs and chicken. For an additional $ 25 jackpot, participants can compete in the beans, turkey, margarita and chili categories. They can also participate in Calcutta for $ 25.
On October 9, the Great Gobbler Gallop will kick off the festivities at 10:30 a.m. in downtown Cuero, followed by the 11 a.m. parade, which will feature at least 75 admissions, including Miss Cuero Elizabeth Gonzales and her court. The carnival will open from noon to 1 a.m., and live music on both stages will keep the crowds entertained throughout the day.
“I can’t wait to hear from the Eli Young Band. They are especially popular with people in their late twenties and early thirties, ”Cuellar said. “Crazy Girl”, “Guinevere” and “When it rains” are some of their popular songs. “
Whataburger will have a jalapeño tasting contest and a barbecue for the kids will take place. Also for children, a host with accordion and another with bubbles will crisscross the festival in the company of a wader and a balloon artist.
On October 10, live music will continue at the Pavilion and the carnival will open from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. kids will enjoy a tractor pull at 2 p.m. and a turkey egg hunt at noon, in addition to the tour leaders.
Shops and museums, including the Chisholm Trail Heritage Museum, Cuero Heritage Museum, and Medical Pharmacy Museum, will be open for visitors to explore Cuero during the festival. They will also find plenty of places to spend the night if you wish. A list of accommodations is available on the Cuero Chamber of Commerce website.
“I love seeing the expressions of the children during the turkey race and as the floats pass, and seeing the delegation from Worthington again,” Cuellar said. “It’s a time when people who moved from Cuero are coming home. It’s a reunion when you get together with friends and family.
Elena Anita Watts is the feature editor for the Victoria Advocate. She covers faith, arts, culture and entertainment, and she can be reached at 361-580-6585 or firstname.lastname@example.org.