Being the 2017 National Thanksgiving Turkey certainly has its perks. Not only did Drumstick and Wishbone get to meet the president at the White House, they also avoided becoming the main course for Thanksgiving Day dinner. They are set to spend the rest of their days here Gobbler’s Rest at Virginia Tech.
Spared this Thanksgiving holiday, the only meals that will be prepared at Gobbler's Rest will be made for the presidential turkeys.
"They are going to have a great life,” Virginia Tech graduate student of poultry sciences Mallory White said while laughing. “They get special treatment.”
Just an hour after President Donald Trump pardoned Drumstick and his alternate, slightly smaller Wishbone, in the Rose Garden ceremony, White arrived to escort them to their new home.
"The pardoning ceremony happened at 1 o’clock and I picked them up at 2 o’clock at the Willard Hotel,” White said. “We hit some Thanksgiving traffic. They were great passengers. And then we arrived back here at 8 and unloaded them to their new home."
Playing escort to the presidential birds was quite the treat for this poultry science major.
"It's the only time I'll ever get to do anything with the White House,” White said.
White said that she will graduate with a pretty unique story.
"You don't get to see a presidential turkey every day,” White said.
You certainly don’t get to drive them either.
White said it’s an honor for Virginia Tech to be chosen as the new home for the National Thanksgiving Turkeys two years in a row. Not only is it fitting because of the Hokie mascot, but also because of the prestige of the agricultural college.
“We are an agriculture school. We have a lot of poultry scientists who are doing research, such as sequencing the turkey genome and improving the industry here in Virginia, which is a very strong agriculture sector,” White said.
There Drumstick and Wishbone will live the pampered life at Virginia Tech surrounded by experts in the field, round the clock care and as much food as any turkey could ask for.
That's not to mention plenty of admirers as they will be open to the public for visitation-an experience White said they will enjoy.
"They like to walk around and show off,” White said. “They love people."
And apparently they've already got their own personalities.
"They love to show off. One of them is more showy than the other," White said.
After President Trump made a joke about trying to revoke his predecessor's pardon for last year's Thanksgiving turkeys, let's just hope Tator and Tot can take a joke.
"Well, they didn't grow up together. They don't really know each other yet. They don't need to be roommates yet,” White said, jokingly.
Trump's pardoned turkeys will now live alongside Barack Obama's pardoned turkeys, but we're told they'll be kept in different pens.
The turkeys will be open to the public on Sunday from noon to 5 p.m.
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