The race is on: Competitors line up the 25 turtles that advanced to the finals of the 32nd annual Turtleneck Turtle Race Saturday in Alexander City. | Dusty Harper

Archived Story

Elmo shows it’s faster than a Deere

Published 7:37pm Monday, June 20, 2011

Some zoomed out of the gate, some took their time and some didn’t even come out of their shells.

Either way, the 81 turtles on hand for 32nd annual Turtleneck Turtle Race put on a show for the crowd at T.C. Russell Airport Park in Alexander City on Saturday.

After nine heats narrowed the field down, 25 turtles remained in contention for the final race.

In that championship race, Elmo, complete with a bright red shell, two big eyes and an orange nose, edged Runs Like a Deere, who raced with a replica of a John Deere tractor on his back, for the first place trophy.

Jesse Worthy raced the first-place winner, Mason Hadaway raced the runner-up and Hunter Worthy raced Lightning, who came in third place.

The race was scheduled for a few hours after the 214th MP arrived, and Kenny Dean, whose family puts on the event every year, said it was neat to have the race close to where the soldiers returned.

“We all were (at the armory) earlier in the day for the 214th and their families, and it was just special to be able to welcome them and then have the race together on the same day,” Dean said.

Proceeds from the event generally go to help Alzheimer’s Research, but money this year was donated to the Red Cross to benefit Tallapoosa County victims from the tornadoes on April 27.

Representatives were collecting non-perishable goods for most of the day, as well.

“We haven’t totaled up the money,” said Will Dean, “but we’re hoping to give the Red Cross a nice check later in the week.

“You never know what to expect on the turnout. We had a few less show up than we expected, but it was a decent crowd altogether.”

Following the final race, Emma Everett was crowned 2011 Miss Turtleneck Turtle Race by the 2010 winner, Nadia Brooks.

Trophies were also awarded for the “Best Dressed Turtle,” which went to Noah’s Ark, entered by Mikaylah Ray. Dino, entered by Chandler Patterson, and Pink, entered by Bryleh Smith, were second and third.