Aug 2, 2012 - By Emily Etheredge, Staff WriterNervous anticipation flooded Michael Davis, 14, as he prepared to show his barred rock chicken Ducky and his Polish top notch Kevin on Wednesday at the 2012 Fremont County Fair.
"Since this is my first time to show chickens, I am definitely dealing with a little bit of nerves," Davis said. "I have been working with my birds for about a year, and it all comes down to this day."
Davis originally decided to enter his chickens in the fair thinking it would be a good experience for both him and his birds.
"My chickens are really spoiled," Davis said. "I have other animals including horses and pigs, but chickens are my favorite, and they definitely get the most attention."
Davis said his bird Kevin was a European breed known for a crest of feathers adorning their heads. He said the breed can get scared easily because the crest limits their vision.
"When I first got Kevin he was black and yellow," Davis said. "Over time he lost the black color, and now he is white. It has been fun to see his coloration change."
Davis was among 204 entries for poultry this year with 32 ducks, six geese, seven turkeys and numerous breeds of chicken.
Poultry superintendent Cerella Overgard, 79, has spent the majority of her life around chickens, and she now devotes her time to educating and helping the youth fair participants who show their birds.
"When I was a child, I always had three or four chickens to take care of," Overgard said. "My mother would hand me a catalogue and allow me to pick out which breeds I would like to order, and I would hand it back to her with the circled chickens I wanted."
Overgard said seeing the kids bring their birds to the fair is enjoyable for her. She said there are several unusual breeds being shown this year.
"When I started working with the fair in 1986, there were 36 birds entered," Overgard said. "The event has really grown, and I could not be happier."
Ranelle Hindman, 14, won first place in her age category of the senior poultry showmanship for her bird, Showgirl, a gray, silkie bantam.
Hindman won first place for her knowledge of her bird, which she studied for more than three years.
"When I first got Showgirl, I wanted to know everything there was to know about her, so I read a lot of books to become knowledgeable about the diseases she could get or how to take care of her," Hindman said. "This particular type of chicken makes a wonderful pet, and I have thoroughly enjoyed her."
Hindman said a characteristic specific to the breed of bird she owns is that they are loyal to their eggs and will often sit on them for long periods of time.
"You have to be really careful and watch these birds because if they could, they would sit on their eggs the entire time and not eat," Hindman said. "Some of the birds have been known to starve themselves because they will not leave their eggs."
Although Hindman has shown other birds in the fair for the past seven years, she said Showgirl has been one of her favorites.
"She is so soft; her hair feels like silk," Hindman said.
The poultry judge was Leroy Goody from Clarkston, Utah, where he has been a poultry judge for more than 30 years.
Goody has won two awards with the American Poultry Association, including master exhibitor and grand master exhibitor.
"I love seeing youth come out and show their birds," Goody said. "This year there seem to be a large amount of really unique and unusual birds."
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