2020 Turtle Derby Recap

| Elizabeth Willenbrink

Well folks, this weekend was truly a spectacle in turtle sports, with a stunning upset in the first ever Parklands Turtle Derby! Ranger Russell blew away his larger, tougher competition in a landslide victory for the title of Turtle Derby winner!


In case you missed the slowest two minutes in sports, here is a recap of the event:

Weighing in at a little less than one pound, Ranger Russell is The Parklands Veteran. In his 35 years earthside, he has spent the last five being a fan favorite among students, campers, and visitors alike. While some may see him as a slow, thoughtful reptile, the rangers at The Parklands know him as a feisty, stubborn, back-pack climbing daredevil.

Russell’s competitor, Ranger Randy, is much more of an in-your-face spitfire. This aquatic turtle was the favorite coming into this race, with her younger age (3 years), her hefty size (over 1.5 pounds), her ravenous appetite, and a truly speedy pace.

When the race began, it became clear that Ranger Russell had his eye on the prize, never looking back or wavering. Ranger Randy, however, did not possess the same forward momentum, often turning to the side or backward, forfeiting her lead and eventually costing her the race. Ranger Russell claimed a clear victory!

Congratulations to both competitors and cheers to a successful race! Both turtles will take a one week break before beginning their training for next year’s Parklands Turtle Derby.

If you would like to see Ranger Russell and Ranger Randy, you can visit the PNC Achievement Center in Beckley Creek Park. While the building may be closed, Ranger Randy can be easily viewed through the windows or you can visit Ranger Russell’s outdoor living enclosure for a chance at spotting this year's champ. Thanks for all your support during World Turtle Day!

Click here to watch a replay of the race on Facebook!

About the Author

Picture of Elizabeth Willenbrink

Elizabeth Willenbrink

Elizabeth joined The Parklands team in March of 2019 as an Interpretive Ranger. In this position, she specializes in outdoor education experiences for school groups ranging from Kindergarten – 12th grade. She also works on curriculum development for The Parklands Outdoor and Virtual Classrooms, creating content for field trips, in-school outreach programs, and online learning that aligns with Next Generation Science Standards. Elizabeth attended Western Kentucky University where she earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work and a Master’s Degree in Geosciences, with a special focus on stakeholder communication in UNESCO-designated National Parks. Before coming to The Parklands, Elizabeth worked as a high school science teacher in Las Vegas. Elizabeth makes it her goal to be outside every day, either on a long run through the city or a hike in The Parklands. She also loves to bring the outdoors inside, with a family of four pets and a collection of over 100 houseplants!

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