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The Pima Turkey Trot will be celebrating its 16th year Thanksgiving Day.

For some people, Thanksgiving traditions revolve around the turkey and mashed potatoes and maybe a NFL game. For the last 15 years, the Browns have included the Pima Turkey Trot in their turkey day rituals.

“It is a good time for families, and it is a really good cause, they give all the proceeds to the (Pima) school so they have been able to do some really neat things at the school and they probably wouldn’t be able to do that otherwise,” said Heather Brown.

Another great thing about the Turkey Trot is running into people from all over the Gila Valley, people she doesn’t always get to see, she said.

The Turkey Trot was started 16 years ago by Cody Marshall and Melinda Nelson, who continue to be co-directors of the event. Marshall explained she and Melinda like to go on runs and decided they didn’t want to travel out of town to participate in a Turkey Trot.

“We decided to put one on. We advertised it a little bit that we would have a one mile run and a 5k, and we had such a great turn out that the following year we decided to go a little bit bigger,” Marshall said.

The event has grown each year, with the largest having 833 participants. Even during the challenges they faced during the pandemic, there was a great turnout last year at the 15th Annual Turkey Trot, she said.

So far this year, 710 people have pre-registered for the event, which is held at the Vard Lines Roping Arena.

“We try to keep the registration price as low as possible so more people can participate because a lot of times on Thanksgiving Day you have a lot of family that come in and it is a good event that everybody can go to,” Marshall said.

The Turkey Trot promotes and encourages good health and training, she said.

The event suits everyone, she said. Some people train for it, while others simply come and enjoy the walk.

They present awards for those with the fastest time in nine age categories. the family with the most participants on race day also earn an award — a free turkey.

They also have raffle prizes for all participants; this year they’ll be raffled before packet pickup.

“My favorite part about the Turkey Trot is that it has become a tradition and we continue to grow. The excitement is there every single year,” Marshall exclaimed.

They try to keep the event as fun and simple as possible so everyone can participate and still be ready for their Thanksgiving Day. It’s usually over before 11 a.m.

The event starts at 8 a.m. with the one-mile fun run which is led by a person in a turkey costume, and it is followed by the 5K Turkey Trot.

Unless it is rainy and they can’t hold it at the arena, they follow the same route every year.

“We like holding it out there. We like the fact that it is a country race, and we keep the route out on the dirt roads and around cotton fields,” Marshall said.

The sponsors for this year’s Turkey Trot include Channen Day Law, Haralson Tire Company, Copper Hills Dental and Country Financial.

“We couldn’t do it without our sponsors, we have great sponsors that have donated every year across the valley who have been very generous to help us out,” Marshall said.

She loves seeing so many people wearing the T-shirts with all of the sponsors on the back, she said.

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