Rick Elliot, a former Kickapoo High School All-State runner now competing for the Arkansas Razorbacks, won the overall crown at the 16th Annual Turkey Trot in Springfield on Thanksgiving Day. He was not alone.
A record crowd of over 7,100 strong braved the freezing temps, icy streets and blustery north wind and conquered the course that wound around the area between the Missouri State University campus and St. Louis street. Jodie Adams, director of the Springfield-Greene County Parks Department, pronounced the event "the biggest road race in the history of Missouri."
The Developmental Center of the Ozarks and the Springfield-Greene County Park Board Scholarship Fund are the two main beneficiaries of the annual event. Participants also donated canned goods for the Ozarks Food Harvest.
Serious runners were joined by joggers, walkers, carriage pushers and dogs with owners in tow on the certified 5K course.
A number of Barry County runners participated in the event. Jerry Ragsdale, of Monett, posted the best overall time of local runners, taking ninth in the men's 40-44 division with a 19:51 effort.
Lee Stubblefield, of Cassville, won the men's 50-54 division in 20:32. Purdy's Melissa Renkoski was the fastest area female in the race, finishing in 27:36 in the women's 30-34 division.
The Turkey Trot included 42 Monett runners, 17 from Cassville, an even dozen from Jenkins, three each from Exeter and Shell Knob and two from Washburn.
Cassville finishers included: Henry Essley, Billy Essley, Lisa Essley, Marti Richmiller, Mary Richmiller, Phillip Richmiller, Pace Evans, Daron Evans, Jennifer Evans, Lindy Gibson, Rita Rogers, William Hise, Bodee Rose, Kerry Rose, Hilary Hilburn and Renee Tichenor.