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Turkey-plucking record holder to go toe to toe with rival

Tuesday, 31st December, 2013 4:10pm
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Turkey-plucking record holder to go toe to toe with rival
Turkey-plucking record holder to go toe to toe with rival

Seamus Enright

Having recently been coaxed out of retirement to defend his crown as the world’s best single turkey plucker, Vincent Pilkington has challenged the man with the speed record for stripping three birds to a showdown.
Vincent from Cootehill, who plucked a turkey in one minute and 30 seconds on RTÉ television on November 17, 1980, a record which has remained for over three-decades, recently went turkey toe-to-toe against four others at a charity fundraising event held in Moycullen, Galway. While the plucky competitors managed to record times of over six-minutes each, 65-year-old Vincent who went last says he “never left second gear” as he defeathered his turkey in just over four minutes 12 seconds.

Record still stands
The father-of-two’s record of plucking a single 60lb turkey remains in the 'Guinness World Records’, and is one of the longest-lasting in the book. It stands proudly alongside the record he set for plucking 100 turkeys in seven hours and 32 minutes, an average of one bird every five-minutes, on December 15, 1978. The turkey plucker extraordinaire is also a world title holder, which he attained in Hawley back in 1984. He even plucked Turkeys for charity, plucking 244 of them in just 24 hours, that’s one bird every six and a half minutes, or on average 10 birds an hour, though without setting any record.
Despite several attempts by others to beat him, no one has improved on the Cavan man’s time, except for one. British Turkey Farm owner Paul Kelly of Howe Green Farm, near Chelmsford in Essex, and the managing director at Kelly Turkey Farms, set the fastest time for plucking three turkeys. Kelly achieved the feat on November 13, 2008 at Little Claydon Farm in Essex on Gordon Ramsay’s 'Cookalong’ TV show. Mr Kelly went head-to-head against the 'fowl-mouthed’ celebrity chef and managed to pluck the trio of birds in just 11 minutes 31 seconds.
Paul had previously attempted to defeat Vincent’s record for plucking one turkey in 1981 but only managed two minutes, however, live on TV he bravely claimed he believed he was now the fastest plucker on the planet.
Vincent first threw down the gauntlet Mr Kelly, 10-years his junior, three years ago when the English man first attained his own title. But now the Cavan man is planning a resolution for the New Year and is laying down the challenge once again in 2014, looking to take on Mr Kelly in a one turkey or three turkey plucking challenge. Not only does he intend to come out of turkey plucking retirement to do it, but he is even willing to do it on Mr Kelly’s turf.
“I may have the record but I’d still be looked on as the underdog. He’s the younger man you see, but even at my age I want to show that I’m able to pluck a turkey quicker than any man who goes up against me.
“I’d like to take a crack at him sometime in Easter if it can be arranged, that seems like the appropriate time. If it can be arranged I’d be ready, somebody bring the stop watch and the record book.
“At 65 I’m not getting any younger. What’s he waiting for? For me to get older? If there’s a record to be set, and one to be beat then I’ll do it,” he promised.

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