Palooza ... I can't think of a more fitting word/definition for the Crossroads of America Poultry Club National Convention we just attended in Indianapolis.
Close your eyes for a moment and imagine, if you will, two exhibition halls the size of four Super Wally Worlds filled to the brim with cages containing just shy of 11,000 chickens, ducks and a few turkeys. You read that right, eleven and three zeros ... 11,000 birds!!! It was definitely an exaggerated event! And L-O-U-D!!! And something I never imagined myself saying ... fun!
My brood had a great time. Their birds didn't win any trophies, but the littles did. Both the Munchkin and Boy Wonder competed in the Showmanship Nationals along with about 200 other poultry-fact spewing kids. This competition was not for the weak of heart or mind. It really was a marathon-like event running from 9 in the morning until close to 6 at night. By the time they handed out awards, my kiddos and their birds were pooped out and wanted to just find a nice comfy spot and take a nap.
yes, that chicken is sitting in a stroller ... hey, she was tired and needed a place to rest:)
They were divided into age groups and the Munchkin took home Third Place Pee Wee Division honors "in the whole United States of America, got to shake a TV star's hand and got $30 cash!" as she likes to tell people whenever she gets a chance. P Allen Smith (of PBS fame) handed out all the trophies and prizes to the Junior Show competitors. But of course the camera batteries died right then and I have no photos of the award presentations :(
Check out the trophy ... it's a Spotted Hen ... is that too cute or what?????
Boy Wonder's competition was really fierce and despite a great job and a nail biting tie-breaker, he didn't make it into the top five trophy winners. His score of 97 out of 100 earned him Sixth Place Intermediate Division honors in the nation. The judges couldn't offer him really any pointers for improvement and just told him to keep up the good work. Needless to say he was disappointed, but his loss was cushioned just a bit by his Second Place honors for the Photography Competition and his "major award" (quick ... what movie is that from???) ... a $3 coupon for chicken feed. He did get a nice plaque, a baseball cap and a handshake from P Allen Smith too.
Purina was a major sponsor for the Junior portion of the entire show. They provided prizes for the Junior exhibitors and feed for all of the birds at the show. The Geek read somewhere it came to about 3 tons of feed over the course of four days ... wowza!
Boy Wonder was able to purchase two new chickens for his flock. His birds' bloodline is getting kinda murky so he used some connections he's made over the years and was able to purchase a prize-winning pair from a major breeder. Who woulda thunk "connections" were needed in the poultry world! I'm pretty sure this isn't one of the new birds, but they look something like this and I had to include at least one photo of my smallest chicklet in this post.
Just had to share one of the breeder's sense of humor. He does this to draw attention to his sales area. The birds are really good show birds he dyes somehow. Asked ... he won't reveal his method :)
Some people got really bent out of shape, but he is a very humane person (and a veterinarian) and ensures this is not harmful to the birds at all. Once they molt, they'll return to all white Silkies well worth their $50 price tag to a poultry connoisseur I'm told.
All in all, it was a true "poultry palooza" and we can't wait until next time. The Nationals only happen once every four years, but there are smaller venues going on almost monthly across the country. I don't know how far we might be willing to travel ... but there may be a road trip in our near future. I hear there's a big show in Columbus, Ohio next weekend :)