Breckenridge Texan

Turkey Trot tradition started at North Elementary, continues at South Elementary

Turkey Trot tradition started at North Elementary, continues at South Elementary
November 22
13:45 2020

By Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan

Although Breckenridge’s North Elementary was shut down earlier this year, one of its traditions lives on — the annual Turkey Trot, which took place Friday, Nov. 20, the last day of school before the Thanksgiving holiday week.

Fifth-grade teacher Jennifer Dawson wore a costume for South Elementary’s Turkey Trot on Friday. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)

When North Elementary was closed as part of consolidation efforts by the Breckenridge Independent School District, teachers, staff and incoming second- and third-graders were sent to different schools. North Elementary P.E. Teacher Tamara Russell became the P.E. teacher at South Elementary. As she made the transition, she wanted to make sure that the Turkey Trot run, which started at North Elementary, continued at South.

Russell started the annual run at North Elementary for second-and third-graders about five years ago. She said originally they started the program just for the kids, but during the second year they incorporated the students’ families and whoever wanted run. She said local law enforcement joined in to help by setting up cones and controlling traffic along the running route.

“Over the years, we just kind of improved it, added things, figured out what worked and what didn’t,” she said. “It’s just a good time for kids to have some fun.”

Then, they added a classroom canned food drive as part of the program. She said the winning classroom that collected the most cans food would win an extra P.E. The food that is collected is donated to Café Love at First United Methodist Church.

Original idea

Russell said she doesn’t remember exactly where she got the original idea for the Turkey Trot, but when she heard about another school doing it, she really liked the idea.

“We were talking back and forth and I had wanted to do it,” she said. “I copied somebody’s idea, I can’t remember where, I just loved the idea. So we asked about it, and of course got the go ahead from Mrs. Gillard, who was the principal of North Elementary at time. And then we just took off with it.”

Moving to South

She said moving the race to South Elementary presented a few challenges, like trying to figure out another route. Also the COVID-19 safety restrictions this year created some more complications because they were not able to include the parents as in past years. She said they wanted to avoided having crowds of people congregating together before and after the race. Hopefully next year they’ll be able to go back to having the parents more involved, she said.

Although the route is different this year, it’s about the same distance. Russell said the old route at North was about a mile, and the one at South is a mile and a tenth. In the past, once the kids moved on to South Elementary, their Turkey Trot days were behind them, but this year, the fourth and fifth graders had another chance to win one of the Turkey Trot t-shirts handed out to the top 20 fastest kids.

Also this year, several of the teachers dressed up in a variety of costumes to make the event more fun. Russell said they had a teacher who had ordered a turkey costume. But because of COVID-19, the costume was late coming in. So third grade teacher Ms. Duncan volunteered to dress up and just put together a costume.

“I noticed that several people just got crazy, pulling stuff out, being silly. So, I mean they had fun doing it, but I think the kids enjoyed that the most,” Russell said.

To see more photos from the South Elementary 2020 Turkey Trot, click here to see the Breckenridge Texan’s Photo Gallery.

The first 20 runners to cross the finish line won Turkey Trot t-shirts. Pictured are, back row, from left, Hunter Davis, Truett Trammel, Chase Carey, Henson McClymond, Aidan Hoffine, Adam Arellano, Jake Chisholm, Mason Alvarado and Ryan Waller; and front row, from left, Christina Forder, Cantyn McClymond, Elizabeth Hoffine, Camdyn Moreno, Rylan Wade, Maddox Paul, Alexander Monge, Kiptyn Escalon, Slayden Young, Cohen Elder, and Cooper Wimberley. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)

Cutline, top photo: South Elementary students take off in the Turkey Trot run on Friday, Nov. 20. The students ran through the neighborhood around the school. To see more photos from the event, click here to see the Photo Gallery. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)

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