It’s a ‘shell-abration’ in Yukon

23 kids compete at Friday Fun Day’s Turtle Races

Winners of the Friday Fun Days’ Kids Turtle Race costume contest take the winner’s stand: From left, are second place, Blake Israel with Leonardo; first place, Carson Bowen with Sombrero; and third place, Brenna Israel with Mikey. See more coverage of the June 9th contest inside today’s edition. (Photo by Cara Pattison)

By Cara Pattison
Contributing Writer

It was a real shell-abration at Yukon’s “Friday Fun Days” as the 45th Annual Turtle Races ensued in City Park.

Kids aged 5-11, armed with slowpokes named Shelly, Shelby, Sheldon, Tiny, and even Bacon, came to see who, ironically, had the fastest turtle in town.

Twenty-three kids participated in the event, and most brought their turtle entourage to cheer them on.

The Yukon Community Center Kids Camp came to watch the fun, making attendance at a whopping 50 turtle fans.

After a round of ribbons were presented for the smallest, largest, and best dressed turtles, the actual races began.

Kids sat in a large circle and placed their turtle on a part of the circumference.

When announcer Nick Rice shouted “Go!” on the microphone, the race was on. Rice is Yukon Parks & Recreation’s special operations supervisor for special events.

Kids let go of their turtles and watched them race towards an outer circle that indicated the finish line.

While some turtles were shell-shocked and stayed in their homes, others ran at a literal turtle’s pace.

The old adage, “slow and steady wins the race,” did not necessarily work in these speed categories.

First, second and third grade winners from each category ended up shuffling home with a ribbon shelled out by the City of Yukon.

Rogan Paul, 14, places his turtle named Bacon on the starting line right before he won fourth place in the medium-sized turtle race division. (Photo by Cara Pattison)
Kaytlin Burger lets kids pet the shell-ebrity of the Turtle Races show – her seven-year-old Sulcata tortoise named Charlotte. (Photo by Cara Pattison)
Colt Burton, 7, grins as he shows-off his teeny turtle aptly named “Tiny.” (Photo by Cara Pattison)
Alessa Munoz excitedly holds-up her turtle, Shelly, at the 45th Annual Turtle Races held during the Friday Fun Day event at Yukon City Park. (Photo by Cara Pattison)


This year’s top winners at the 45th Annual Turtle Races were:


Eli Burger “Charlotte” (18 inches)


  1. Holden “Tiny” (1 inch)

Large Race

1st: Eli Burger “Charlotte”

2nd: Carson Bowen “Kristene”

3rd: Kendra/Kelsy Shiery “Emerald”

Medium Race

1st: Kingston Nottingham

2nd: Austin Gepford “Hester”

3rd: James Roberts “Spot”

Small Race

1st: Kids Camp “Timmy”

2nd: Blake Israel “Leonardo”

3rd: Brenna Israel “Mikey”

Best Costume
1st: Carson Bowen “Sombrero”

2nd: Blake Israel “Leonardo”

3rd: Brenna Israel “Mikey”

For more information about Friday Fun Days, call Yukon Parks & Recreation at (405) 350-8937.

Carson Bowen, 14, hoists up Sombrero the turtle as his eight-year-old sister, Lyla, holds a tiny mustache on-a-stick in front of his beak. Sombrero won first place in the Best Dressed Turtle category. (Photo by Cara Pattison)
Austin Gapford, 11, places his turtle, Astro, on the starting line at the City of Yukon Turtle Races. The youngster found the turtle in his backyard that morning and was excited to be able to attend the annual event. (Photo by Cara Pattison)
Eight-year-old Kelsey Shiery grins as, unbeknownst to her, Emerald the shell-shocked turtle was about to win third place in the large turtle division of the 45th Annual Turtle Races. (Photo by Cara Pattison)