RC Mayor Allender pardons Gobbles the turkey

RAPID CITY, S.D. — In a possible first for Rapid City, a turkey has been pardoned by the mayor.

Gobbles The Pardoned TurkeyOriginally started as a fun request, Rapid City Mayor Steve Allender granted clemency to Gobbles Monday morning, sparing him from being gobbled.

Gobbles is a Narragansett turkey, a species named for Narragansett Bay in Rhode Island, where the breed was first developed. He however, is a fairly local bird from Bear Butte Gardens in Sturgis, where he was the last of his group.

Granting clemency to the birds on a national level dates back to 1863 with President Lincoln. He was gifted a turkey for a meal, but his son Tad befriended the bird and saw it as a pet.

After a confrontation with his father about the turkey, President Lincoln gave in and wrote an unofficial statement for his son declaring the bird would not be eaten.

The act of presidentially “pardoning” birds became an annual tradition under President George H.W. Bush in 1989.

For Mayor Allender, he hopes this municipal tradition will continue for the city, community, and at least one turkey a year to enjoy.

“This should be a time of thankfulness and gratitude and gift-giving, and thinking of others,” Mayor Allender said. “So maybe we start that at the turkey pardoning event every year.”

The event brings a bit of fun for him and the community.

“The whole presidential turkey pardoning tradition, that’s all in fun. And so this is all in fun as well,” he said. “We need more of this and less of some of those other things we’ve been doing with our time over the last couple of years.”

Gobbles will live out the rest of his life on a new ranch, free to roam as he pleases.

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