Fifteen-year-old Madison Waggoner wanted Bruce and not Bruce’s Girl to get the ribbons.
Bruce won first place in his class — a Feather-Legged Black Cochin chicken — but Bruce’s Girl was grand champion of her class of Feather-Legged Bantams, plus of all Bantams and of the poultry exhibition during the Larimer County Fair.
“He’s probably the nicest bird I have. he is so, so sweet,” the Loveland girl said Tuesday about Bruce, a 3-year-old chicken she is retiring after the fair because of his age.
Waggoner was among the approximately 90 4-H members exhibiting and showing more than 550 chickens, ducks, geese and turkeys at the Ranch-Way Feeds Livestock Pavilion. The members exhibited the meat birds on Sunday and the breeding birds on Monday, followed by answering questions about their birds on Tuesday for the poultry showmanship competition.
“Showmanship is not about your bird, but what you know about your bird,” said Waggoner, who showed a chicken named gorgeous, a 20-ounce Golden Sebright Bantam Miniature. “You just tell the judge everything you know about this breed.”
4-H judge Larry Queen questioned each 4-H member, giving points for the bird’s appearance and what the members knew about the bird’s origin and how they groomed, cared for and handled the bird.
Queen looks for “how tame the bird is from good handling,” he said.
“They’re easy for 4-H kids to manage,” said Queen, an Aurora resident who has been judging poultry for six years, including three as a 4-H judge. “You can handle them. They’re somewhat tame. When they get to know you, they follow you around. That’s why they’re called feathered friends.”
Ten-year-old Alese Mullen, who entered the fair for the first time this year, exhibited three chickens and showed one of them, a six-month Barred Dominique she named Sharpie.
“I wanted to take her to the fair because she’s so nice,” the Loveland girl said. “She’s just really tame. she doesn’t hurt anyone.”
Mitch Leach, 13, said handling the chickens before a show is the most important preparation for showmanship.
“If you don’t have a tame chicken, it’s really hard to show your chicken,” the Fort Collins boy said as he stroked his 18-month Welsummer chicken, which he did not name.
Shelley Widhalm can be reached at 669-5050, ext. 531, or .