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Published November 01, 2013, 06:26 PM

Local turkey to be pardoned by President Obama

A local turkey and his alternate will be at the White House for the National Thanksgiving Turkey pardoning ceremony this year. The Burkel family in Badger, Minnesota, will pick two out of their six turkeys to bring, and one will be pardoned by President Obama.

By: Cynthia Johnson, WDAZ

A local turkey and his alternate will be at the White House for the National Thanksgiving Turkey pardoning ceremony this year. The Burkel family in Badger, Minnesota, will pick two out of their six turkeys to bring, and one will be pardoned by President Obama.

As the 2013 Chairman of the National Turkey Federation, John Burkel will talk turkey with the president at this year's pardoning ceremony with President Obama.

John: "We took 80 turkeys out of that flock we placed in July, and we worked with that 80 to start with for about three or four weeks. And once we got into August we pulled 20 of those 80 and figured that's the 20 that are going to be in our little star search."

Now the Burkels are down to six turkeys. Two will make the trip to DC. One will be an alternate and one will be pardoned. John says these turkeys have months of preparation on their wings.

John: "You want to socialize them as soon as you can. Get them used to interaction with people as they grow."

The Burkels say they want to get the turkeys ready for all the lights and cameras and even play a variety of music in the turkey pen.

(Nat of music)

John "We play the radio during the day. Play some, whatever they want to listen to. They've been listening to Vivaldi and John Mayer intermittently pretty much all summer.'

Burkel says its also important that the chosen birds are comfortable with the presidential touch

John: "Now as we get closer we're going to do a lot more table top exercises where you got to pick them up at this presentation and put them up on a table of course for the president to do the pardoning ceremony itself. There's certain birds that will cooperate better than others. I already have a good idea which two are going but we'll see as we go along here."

Burkel says that after the ceremony, the turkeys go to George Washington's farm in Mount Vernon. The pardoning ceremony will be Wednesday November 27th.

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