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Badger, MN Turkeys Head To Washington D.C. - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

Badger, MN Turkeys Head To Washington D.C.

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  Thanksgiving is now less than two weeks away, and this year a Valley turkey grower and two of his prize tom turkeys will be in the national spotlight.

  John Burkel of Badger, Minnesota will be presenting the turkeys to President Obama at the White House, the day before Thanksgiving. Burkel raises 70-thousand turkeys a year. He's picked out a handful of his best and is getting them ready for their national debut in this heated garden shed.

John Burkel, Badger, MN: "In February of this year I was elected Nation Turkey Federation Chairman. And one of the duties of the Chairman is to present the National Thanksgiving Turkey to the White House."

  Burkel says only two of these turkeys will make the trip to the White House. He says this one is already a top contender. He's been spending time getting them ready for the media blitz.

John Burkel: "A lot of music in the background… a lot of extra lighting and some flash bulbs flashing in their face, so they get used to that."

  Now I stepped outside their shed, so the turkeys don't hear me. I can tell you it's probably best that you don't get emotionally attached to them. You see, the turkeys are bred to gain wight fast and they have weak hearts.

  So, even though the turkeys will likely get a Presidential pardon, they're probably only looking at a year, maybe two of living the high life.

John Burkel: "They'll go to Mt. Vernon, George Washington's home and stay at Mt. Vernon through the holidays, typically through New Years. Then, they to a farm called, Morgan Park in Virginia."

  So, for a little while at least, a couple of Burkel's turkeys will be strutting their stuff in the national spotlight.

  John Burkel, his wife and five children will all be making the trip to D.C. to present the Presidential turkeys, along with the entire, senior class of 15  Badger High School students.

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