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The right stuffing: First-grader wins Courier's turkey hunt contest

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By Matt Gunn

Alex Pangei bounced with excitement as he told the story of his success in the great turkey hunt of 2007.

The fact that his success earned him a cool $250 only added fuel to that enthusiasm.

Alex, 6, with the help of his family, followed the clues scattered in the newspaper and the community and won the Columbine Courier’s turkey hunt.

“People say we’re lucky all the time, but that’s just because we play games,” said Nancy Pangei, Alex’s mom.

Over four weeks, the Courier scattered clues to the location of a turkey throughout the classified section. Those clues narrowed down to one final location, baseball diamond No. 3 at Clement Park.

Alex and his father, Paul Pangei, discovered the turkey hidden in a small blue folder resting near the fence at the ball field.

 “You know those things where the batters stand and the big net’s behind them?” Alex said. “It was at the bottom, up against that.”

It wasn’t obvious there was a turkey, as what they saw appeared to be a big blue folder.

 “My dad opened it, and he said, ‘We won,’ ” Alex said.

And that was just after the father-son team thought they were too late to snag the winning clue and return it to the Courier’s office last Wednesday. Some tracks in the snow led them to believe the prize had already been taken.

But Alex implored him to search just a bit more, which was when they found the folder containing the paper turkey.

When he returned home, Alex tried to hide his happiness.

“He actually came home looking like a stuffed turkey,” Nancy Pangei said.

Alex tried not to say a word but mysteriously remained bundled up.

“We came home, and I had it in my jacket, and I was trying not to smile,” Alex said.

But after he sat down on the couch, it wasn’t long before Alex exclaimed, “I won!”

Alex and his sister, Emma, 8, students at Stony Creek Elementary, say they plan to purchase a new family pet with their winnings. Alex says he might want a rabbit, but both he and his sister want a puppy, too. While Emma wants a golden retriever, Alex is partial to Huskies.

“Maybe we can get one that’s half golden and half husky,” Emma suggested.