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Announcer prepared for turtle race's extinction

August 08, 2000

Announcer prepared for turtle race's extinction



By JOSH POLTILOVE / Staff Writer


Curtis Uzelac knew it could be his turtle swan song, but he was still excited to call what could be one of his last turtle races in the history of the Ag Expo.

The first heat was ready to race - you could see it in their little eyes and shells.

Uzelac was ready too. He's been leading the races for about 10 years, but he knows if the turtles are considered endangered species next year, the fun will have to be come to an end.

Kids won't be able to watch the turtles scamper four feet from the center of the circle to glory. They won't be able to see the animals, most of which weigh 1 pound or less, fight against top turtle competition.

"It'll be a shame if this is the last year," the Hagerstown native said. "But there's a good chance it will be."

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Uzelac's wife Nevalene, who helps with the event, said the race is a real pleasure for kids and adults.

"It's really neat to see how fast those little turtles can be," she said.

The turtle races will continue through Thursday, with championship races on Friday. People can register their turtles for races tonight at 6 p.m. and Thursday at 6 p.m.

Box turtles and water turtles compete in six different weight classes.

"The races are a lot of fun, and I hope they continue for a long time," Curtis Uzelac said.

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