PLATTSBURGH — Last year’s Plucky Rooster Contest featured a unique bird — one crafted by residents of the Samuel Vilas Home from used paper-pill cups cut to look like feathers.
In 2008, Meg Alberry used cleaning supplies to make her award-winning rooster.
Another entry in the annual contest — held during the Battle of Plattsburgh Commemoration — was put together from real flowers by the Cook and Gardener Garden Center.
“We’ve had some made of driftwood that were phenomenal,” said Jane Claffey, a Battle of Plattsburgh Commemoration Committee Board member and former contest organizer. “They’re works of art.”
The original “Plucky Rooster” was aboard the U.S. ship Saratoga, commanded by Lt. Thomas Macdonough, during the Battle of Plattsburgh on Sept. 11, 1814. when a British cannonball smashed into a chicken coop on the deck of the Saratoga, a rooster flew out, landed on a cannon, flapped its wings and crowed heartily.
The bird amused the American sailors, and as they laughed, their strength and resolve to win the battle was renewed, so the story goes. and the Americans proved triumphant.
Claffey was inspired to create the Plucky Rooster Contest upon seeing the Strolling of the Heifers Gallery Walk and Street Festival in Brattleboro, Vt.
Board members weren’t too keen on the idea at first, she said, but they warmed up to it, and the event has been a favorite during Battle of Plattsburgh weekend for five years now.
This year, for the first time, the contest will be on Sunday instead of Saturday.
“We decided to move all the roosters to that day so the children can see them” during the Children’s old Time Village fair, said Linda Ward, Village fair Committee chairperson and Plucky Rooster organizer.
Claffey said between eight and 12 roosters are entered each year.
Entries must be at least 3 feet tall, excluding their stand, and can be made of just about anything.
She said three groups have already started on their roosters, including employees from Eagle’s Nest Veterinary Hospital in Plattsburgh.
What’s so wonderful about the contest is it effectuates creativity and camaraderie among those who craft a rooster as a team, she said.
Prizes will be awarded for three categories: Best Rooster Model, Best Children’s Rooster (by kids 12 and younger) and the People’s Choice Rooster.
The winners are chosen by people who view the roosters and buy votes for $1 each. the funds raised go toward the prizes, Ward said.
Last year, a live rooster contest was added to the event.
“The live ones were great last year, except we couldn’t convince them to crow,” Claffey said.
She is hoping the Plucky Rooster contest will lead to another event that is a possibility for 2014, she said.
If enough money could be raised to purchase a form, an artist could contruct a permanent Plucky Rooster sculpture. While the details aren’t yet hammered out, it is thought the rooster could be auctioned off or put on display.
There is no fee to participate in either rooster contest.
The Plucky Roosters will be displayed in Trinity Park from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 9, with judging at 11 a.m. Entry forms must be received by Sept. 6.
The Live Rooster Contest takes place in the park 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sept. 9, with judging at noon.
Entries for the live contest must be received by 10 a.m. on Sept. 9.
Pick up brochures and registration forms at Cook and Gardener Garden Center, 139 Tom Miller Road or call 563-0106.
For more information go to battleofplattsburgh.org or champlain1812.com.