Poultry show pulls six winners

Published 8:57 am Tuesday, July 14, 2015

ROME TOWNSHIP — The guests of honor may have been missing, but that didn’t mean this year’s market chicken and fancy poultry show was anything but dull.

Three ties in three separate categories meant 4-Hers competing had to go through more rounds than expected with tension in the small animal arena mounting.

An outbreak of avian flu in neighboring states caused the state agriculture officials to ban all poultry at county and state fairs along with swap meets.

But the fair board wasn’t about to cancel the poultry show this year. Instead 4-Hers made posters of photographs showing the progression of their chicken from baby to eight weeks.

Then they sat before the judges to show their knowledge of their project for both market and skillathon categories, resembling the judging for showman rather than market.

In the end there were six categories in which they could win: senior market chicken, junior market chicken, junior skillathon, senior skillaton, overall junior and overall senior.

Visiting judge Tim Bowles from Lucasville called the youth very knowledgeable about their projects.

“They have put a lot of time and effort in this,” Bowles said. “It takes a lot of effort. It is a year-round project, not just for eight weeks.”

Winners this year were senior market chicken, Kimberly Schmidt, junior market chicken, Analeyna Hardy; junior skillaton, Noah Hessler; senior skillathon, Payton Walsh; overall junior, Noah Hessler; and overall senior, Kimberly Schmidt.

Schmidt, who won last year in the showman competition, admitted the ban was frustrating, at first.

“I was kind of upset,” she said. “I love showing, but I understand it is for the safety of the birds.”

Without the birds there to judge, the contest had an added element of competitiveness, Schmidt said.

“I am really excited and I was kind of nervous,” she said. “It could have been anyone’s game.”