Northeastern Poultry Congress
by Cheryl Barnaba
Hello Poultry Fans !
Well I am writing today to report that a good time was had by all at the 40Th Annual Northeastern Poultry Congress Show in West Springfield Mass. Our show was held on January 19 & 20Th.
The Congress is a perfect storm of poultry shows. Every thing was great including weather, volunteers, a great building and quality birds competing for the top prizes.
We have fantastic group of exhibitors. They are good people, who really seem to enjoy our show. Many of them have gotten swept up in our enthusiasm and now help out to make our show even better. I have a list of “go to” exhibitors who enjoy volunteering for lectures, clerking, and helping out the newbies. Thanks to all of you who also gave cash donations to help defer our many expenses.
Man, each and every year we have more and more people attending the show who are not exhibitors. It was actually difficult to walk through the crowd. Everyone said the same thing: “Are there more people walking around this year or what ???”
And those people spent money, which was also super. We had a lot of vendors this year, which made for some great chicken shopping opportunities. There were shirts, poultry pottery, chicken art. And Peter Brown was there, although he was hard to see as he was swamped with customers. Of course Peter has everything a poultry man could wish for! I heard that our exhibitors in the sales area “sold everything”. We even sold all our 10 x 10 sales areas. At the end there was hardly a bird left! Note for next year sign up for floor space early. As always at the Congress the general public is not charged to attend.
While I do get thrilled to see so many from the outside (many of them are now returning as exhibitors), that’s nothing compared to the great feelings that come from compiling the numbers. I have been keeping track since 2005. We had a dip in birds exhibited in 2008, but since then numbers have increased steadily. This year was not an all time high but not bad either at 2800 birds. The most interesting aspect is that we were way up in Largefowl, Waterfowl and Turkeys. New England is traditionally very fond of the large birds so we are very pleased indeed.
We opted for a new host hotel this year. And it was the BEST hotel in the Congress’s history. The Sheraton Springfield was like Star Trek meets Las Vegas. It was 12 floors all open in the center and lit up with purple and pink lights. It had a proper well-staffed sports bar, and a restaurant that served good food. Everyone loved it with the noted exception of a gentleman I met named Winks from Maryland who said it was “@#&!”. Apparently he is a well-known chicken show food critic. I disagreed with him anyway. The hotel parking is underground so there was zero frost to scrape in the morning. We blocked out 100 rooms for each night and sold them right out ! The hotel staff could not have been nicer. Hands down the Sheraton was luxury like we have never known at a New England chicken show.
I have such a good time putting on this show with my friends that I lose track of what’s really important. WINNING. The birds were in very good condition this year. Making our judges lives more difficult. Our judges who were up to the task of choosing the top chicken were: Troy LaRoche, Jerry Yeaw, Steve Beaty, Jeff Halbach, Clell Agler, Jackie Koedatich, Paul Gilroy, Warren Carlow, Tom Roebuck, Eric Nelsen. Thanks to all who clerked.
One of our most coveted awards is handed out in the Junior division. It’s a Lifetime membership to the American Bantam Association. This amazing prize is given to the champion JR Senior Showmanship. The award was the brainchild of our member Shawn Streeter. Shawn spent quite some time pondering what he could do that would really make a difference for our junior program. So he decided to give the champion Jr Showmanship winner a prize to last a lifetime! I think this is the 3rd year of Shawns generous gift. This year’s winner is Alexandrea Farquhar of New Hampshire. I was so touched by this girl and her family I nearly cried. We are really looking forward seeing her birds in the show halls in the years to come!
Our Junior program “Rocks”. Which is the word most of the kids use so I guess I can also use it here. Rick and Allison Trojanoski do such a good job that they will never be allowed to leave the position. Gosh when I was a kid there was nothing like this in New England. Are kids smarter now? I don’t know. But what I do know is all the parents tell us they thoroughly enjoy it and appreciate what we do. We also give the kids quality judges and there own beautiful champion row to show off there winning birds.
The run down in open juniors went like this: The Champion Jr Waterfowl was a perky Grey Call Cock by Kaleigh Florek. Champ Jr Largefowl went to a nice Black Australorp Cockerel by Kara Miller. Champion Jr Bantam as a reachie Brown Red Modern Game Bantam by a super young man Cole Goodwin. Cole’s bird went on to win the highest Jr award in New England’s biggest show: Super Grand Champion Jr Bird. Congratulations Cole. The second best Jr bird was a Golden Sebright hen by Kara Miller. That must have been tough for the judges as that was such a nice looking Hen. Good work Kara !
Over and over again I say to myself “ I am so glad I never got my license” Gosh what a job picking the top birds off champion row. The birds were all so very nice (for a complete list of winners see the Poultry Congress web site ). Firstly we need to boast about the Congress’s Trio Classic. The judges tell me there are not many shows in the Country with such tough competition in trios. 3rd best trio went to Mr Bacon of Bacon & McCarty with a YT trio of bantam black Langshans. Res Champion trio was a YT trio of White Leghorns by George Beyer. And the top this year went to the Asiatic’s which were a YT of Black Cochin’s by Tom and Sandra Roebuck.
This year in Waterfowl the big birds were well; huge. The 3rd best waterfowl went to a white call cock by David Touchette. Nice job David I know the competition in Calls is stiff. Second best WF was a Khaki Campell Cockerel by Kelsey Ferguson. Kelsey is a good poultry “man” and its great to see her in the top every year. The Champion WF went to a Black Cayuga Cock by Rick Hare. Despite the fact that its freezing cold where Rick lives he always shows perfectly conditioned birds. I don’t know how he does it frankly.
In Largefowl 3rd best was a White Leghorn Hen by William Sandoe. You can bet that if William is at your show its going to be hard to beat him as he has spends a large part of his time working toward perfection. Res Champion Largefowl went to our own Rebecca Buffington. She won on a glistening Blk Langshan Cockerel. It was great to see Rebecca smiling! This is a much-deserved win for her with this beautiful super sized chicken. Langshan breeders start now: The American Langshan club has already announced there National at our show in 2014. So Rebecca will be the one to beat ! Champ Largefowl went to a well-coifed WCB Polish Hen by Joel Henning. His birds remind me of the Hope Diamond and I always feel like they belong in a museum!
In Bantams 3rd best was a shining Black Langshan Hen by Bacon & McCarty. Res Champ Bantam was a Black Cochin Hen by Tom and Sandra Roebuck. Man That boy Tom is as fit as a fiddle and on fire ! He is the one to beat of late. And the people to beat him for the coveted top Bantam was Karen & Kevin Unrath with a gorgeous Quail Beligan Danver Hen.
Reserve Super Grand Champion of our show was in the end the Black Cochin Hen by Tom and Sandra Roebuck. And Karen and Kevin Unrath reigned supreme with their beautiful Quail Beligan Danver. That typie bird had it all including +++ condition, good color, a beautiful fluffy beard. It says a lot for the quality of the birds in the house that day as a colored bird was able to beat so many solid colored birds! Congratulations all around to Karen and Kevin Unrath! Check out the nice photos of this bird and the other winners at our web site www.poultrycongress.com!
In closing I would like to thank our lectureres and volunteers. We had Joseph Marquette of Yellow House farms give a great talk on the history of largefowl (Polish are from Italy! …who knew ?) Dr Darre of Uconn did a well-received lecture on common poultry diseases. And Paul Kroll put on a well thought out talk on breeding and exhibition poultry. You guys really helped to make our show special by presenting these well-attended lectures. Finally our most heartfelt thank you’s go to the people who do all the mundane things to make this show happen. It really does require a lot of pre-planning and elbow grease to make a large show happen. Thank you to everyone who took part and to all who gave donations. Also God Bless the fork lift driver as how could we do it with out him !
Take care and don’t forget NEXT YEARS SHOW WE ARE HOSTING THE APA NATIONAL!!! Cant wait to see you then!