It’s the Thanksgiving “Hunger Games.”
Two turkeys — Popcorn and Caramel — were up for tribute at the White House. Both were pardoned by President Obama and spared from the dinner table, but only one could win the title of National Thanksgiving Turkey.
“Generally speaking, Thanksgiving is a bad day to be a turkey,” the president joked at the official turkey pardoning ceremony at the White House. “So I salute our two guests of honor, Caramel and Popcorn, for their bravery.”
Ultimately, Popcorn prevailed in the battle of the birds, emerging the victor of this year’s contest. Caramel has been dubbed the alternate, vice-turkey (a.k.a. the Biden of birds).
“After weeks of vocal practice and prepping for the cameras, the two tributes, Caramel and Popcorn, went head to head together for America’s vote as top gobbler,” Obama joked. “The competition was stiff but we can officially declare that Popcorn is the winner, proving… that even a turkey with a funny name can find a place in politics. As for Caramel, he’s sticking around and he’s already busy raising money for his next campaign.”
The White House on Tuesday pitted the two contenders against each other and asked the public to cast their vote for the winner online. In order to make an educated decision, the White House set up a website highlighting the turkeys likes and physical attributes, including recordings of their gobbles.
Hatched on the same day at a farm near Badger, Minn., “Caramel and Popcorn may have been raised together, but each has flown their own path,” the White House notes. “Caramel is a steady and deliberate bird that enjoys soybean meal and rocking out to Lady Gaga. When Popcorn is feeling peckish, he can’t stop snacking on his namesake, corn, and has been known to strut around to Beyonce’s ‘Halo.’”
The tradition of granting turkeys their freedom dates back to 1963 when President Kennedy sent that year’s gift from the National Turkey Federation back to the farm, declaring “we’ll just let this one grow.” President George H.W. Bush was the first to grant a turkey an official presidential pardon in 1989.
President Obama continues the tradition today. This afternoon, he will ceremoniously declare a winner and send the two lucky birds to live out their days in retirement on the charmed Mount Vernon estate.
But the spared birds’ freedom is often short lived. All eight of the turkeys pardoned by Obama so far have reportedly moved on to greener pastures.
To be fair, the average turkey lifespan is roughly three to four years and Obama is not the first president with a poor track record in this department.
Hopefully the turkey’s pardoned today will have better luck. May the odds be ever in your favor.