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Turtles dash for cash, glory
Winners owner is two-time champion
Jessica Duran, 12, holds her turtle, Paisley, after winning the Foster House Restaurants annual Fourth of July turtle race. This was the second year for Duran to take the title. In 2012, she won with her other turtle, Bolt, who also competed this year. As owner of the first-place finisher, Duran received $50 and a T-shirt. - photo by Crystal Ledford

Along with the other Fourth of July festivities in Cumming, the turtle race at the Foster House went off as planned Thursday afternoon and produced a two-time winner.

Jessica Duran, a 12-year-old Cumming resident, won for the second year in a row. As she did in 2012, Duran entered two turtles in the race. And she can now call both of them winners.

Paisley, her pet of two years, won Thursday. He joined last year’s champion Bolt, whom she has had for four years.

“Last year [Paisley] didn’t even move,” Duran said.

But the turtle came through for her this year, gaining an early lead and blistering the field of 24 other turtles.

Jeff Davis, whose wife, Amanda, owns the Foster House, kept watch over the proceedings and said the crowd was about the same as in years past. The race was over in “less than a minute.”

“Most of the time, it’s over really quick,” Davis said. “Some will just go, and some will get scared.”

The weather was gloomy, but the rain held off until later in the afternoon. Davis noted the cool weather was an advantage for the turtles.

“When it’s hot and the asphalt gets really hot, they go fast,” he said, making for a quick race but tough conditions on the turtles.

The race finished without controversy.

“All of the turtles passed the steroids test this year,” Davis joked.

Duran won $50 and a T-shirt as the first-place winner. She said she would use the money to buy fireworks.