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Start your turkeys: Fifth annual Turkey Races held Friday

Modified: Monday, May 20th, 2013

Lavin Stahl and Colton Schnabel, representing the Scoreboard Bar and Grille, use paddles and noise makers to guide their turkey toward the finish line during the fifth annual Turkey Races held Friday in Huron. In the next photo, the team of Matthew Katz and Jim White took an early lead in the finals and won the title and “Hoagie Trophy.” PHOTOS BY SEAN M.X. KELLEY/PLAINSMAN

HURON — The fifth annual Turkey Races took place Friday in downtown Huron, filling the block on Third Street between Dakota and Kansas Avenues. The area was blocked off from traffic for the day to ensure safety.

Despite rumors of the event being rained out, the sun shined throughout the duration of the day. The Scoreboard Bar and Grille offered onlookers a shaded retreat while ice cold waters, beer, and turkey legs were available outside.

Dakota Provisions provided the 90 hybrid turkeys to be used in the race, which are around 8 ½ weeks old. Three adult turkeys, reaching around 42 pounds each, were also present to show the size expected of the younger turkeys once they reach adulthood. The adult turkeys were not used in the competition.

The race used brackets to decipher the teams that would go onto the next round. Two racers are assigned to each bird. The racers do their best to try to persuade their turkey to cross the finish line first. Five teams compete against one another in their flight to decide which two teams advance to the next flight of the competition.

Six teams competed against another in the second round, where the winner advances to the “Final Feathered Five.”

The master of ceremonies for the event was Ben Meyer of Meyer Auctioneer and Huron Automotive. Meyer has hosted the event since it first started.

Meyer said he enjoys seeing the community come together. “It’s great to see everyone come out to support Huron,” said Meyer.

In the first round, most teams got off to a slow start, while some teams couldn’t even get their turkeys to budge out of the starting gate. Spirits remained high and a little dizzy during a “dizzy bat race” for youngsters.

“If you get sick you get to clean it yourself, but luckily it’s like a barn in there,” Meyer jokingly announced to the boys.

The second round thinned out the competition and the Moore girls came out as crowd favorites after they won a bid for the championship round. Addison and McKenna Moore took refuge in the Scoreboard staircase with their friends while they waited for the final round to begin.

“I like racing the birds and hanging out with my friends,” said Addison Moore.

Friends of the girls also had a hand in the team’s success by showing their support in many ways.

“I like cheering them on,” said Ellie Huber.

“We’re their coaches!” added Maddie Hoops.

The teams in the “Feathered Five” final round and their turkeys were Anytime Fitness racing “Morgan,” the Moore girls racing “Moore Trouble,” Northwestern Energy racing ”Wilde Turkey,” Scoreboard Bar and Grille racing “Turklet,” and First National Bank racing “Paloon Agog.”

Before the race began the “Spirit Award” was given to the team that showed the most enthusiasm and sportsmanship during the competition. This was judged based on the crowd’s reaction and cheers, and the crowd favorite, the Moore girls, took home the “Spirit Award.”

Then it was time to decide who would be the 2013 championship turkey racing team. The teams were all close right out of the gate, but it was the team of Matthew Katz and Jim White that took an early lead and won the title and “Hoagie Trophy.” Katz and White filled in as a “replacement team” when one team failed to show for the final race.

“It was a beautiful night,” said White. “Lots of fun.”

The team said their winnings would go toward the Huron Baseball Association.

“Go Huron Baseball!” said Katz.

The two have planned to reunite with their turkey in the future. “We’ll bring him over for Thanksgiving,” said White.

All proceeds from the event will go toward the Huron Baseball Association.

For the complete article see the 05-18-2013 issue.

Click here to purchase an electronic version of the 05-18-2013 paper.

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