Maggie Pyle was named Grand Champion Meat Chickens winner in the Pen of 3 Market Chickens category at Delaware County Fair’s Poultry Show.
“I’ve shown chickens for a while,” Pyle said from her family’s barn in Delaware amid crowing from her flock. “The process went really good this year. It was a little harder with COVID, but it went good. It was a lot nicer this year because the people were back. It’s back to normal, it’s been nice.”
In her fifth year of showing, this was Pyle’s second victory in the class after taking home the crown in her debut back in 2017. She said she shows Cornish Rock Cross chickens.
“The crossing of purebred Cornish and White Rock hens produces this fine broiler,” said the Cincinnati-based Mt. Healthy Hatcheries website about the breed. “Cornish Cross is the most popular, fastest and most efficient meat chicken on the market. They have large breasts, thigh and leg proportions. Their white feathers and yellow skin make for clean processing.”
The Cornish Rock Cross is also notable for its quick weight gain.
Pyle said the judges want all three chickens in the pen to look similar, be symmetrically-proportioned, and clean in appearance.
Like the other competitors, she had her poultry checked-in and weighed-in last Friday before the fair opened to the public. Judging took place Saturday afternoon on opening day when she received her blue ribbon. At 6 p.m. today, the Junior Fair Sale at the Show Arena will result in the sale of her poultry, along with all of the other winning beef, baked good, dairy and rabbits.
“It’s scary at first, but it’s so much fun to show and get rewarded for all the hard work you’ve put into it,” Pyle said.
The Junior Fair page on the Delaware County Fair’s website explained the advantages of being a buyer.
“By bidding and buying at the sales, you are helping to support the positive activities of the youth of the Delaware County community,” it said under Frequently Asked Questions. “By having projects that are sold at the sales, youth learn time management, responsibility, and how to provide a quality food product for consumers. Participation in the sales also supports Delaware County’s agricultural economy, both present and future.
“As a buyer, you are generating exposure for your business or organization through the display of your logo during the sale, signage in the barns during the fair, and in the thank you ads,” the answer concluded.
A member of the Ashley County Liners 4-H Club, Pyle is a junior at Buckeye Valley High School and the daughter of Amy and Tim Pyle.
Pyle said she has two more years of eligibility, but with college in the future, she said next year she might just support her sister, Abby, who also shows chickens, instead of competing. Abby took home top honors at the 2020 county fair for her pen of three market chickens.
Gary Budzak may be reached at 740-413-0906 or on Twitter @GaryBudzak.