Boltz’s Bantam Best of Poultry Show
HARRISBURG, Pa. — Clucking and crowing sounds harmonized throughout the poultry cages at the Pennsylvania Farm Show on Jan. 5 as four poultry judges sized up the feathered entries.
More than 150 breeds of poultry, decked out in their chic and colorful splendor, stately sat or strutted their feathers in spacious cages.
Nearby, spectators were packed around a warming pen where newborn chicks hatched out of their eggs.
But, soon, the crowd gathered around the champion poultry cages, anxiously awaiting the announcement of the supreme and reserve supreme champions. Each time a new champion was selected in its class category, suspense built.
Donning white lab coats, judges Tom Topper, Pennsylvania; Mike Wasylkowski, Delaware; and Lewis Cunningham and Gary Overton, Ohio, diligently examined each champion, handling willfully resistant birds, to reach their final decision.
After deliberating amongst each other, the judges gave the results to Phillip Clauer, Penn State poultry department chair, who grabbed his microphone as the crowd clustered around the cages leaned forward.
Cheers erupted as grand champions were announced, starting with the large birds. The grand champion large chicken honor was awarded to the Asiatic class bird belonging to Tim Nagle, Annville, Lebanon County, Pa. The reserve grand champion large chicken honors went to Will Kitch, Mohnton, Berks County, Pa., for his American class chicken.
Then, it was between the best of the bantams. For her bantam in the Single Comb Clean Legged class, Hannah Boltz, Grantville, Lebanon County, Pa., won the grand champion prize. Matthew Holliday, Limerick, Montgomery County, Pa., won reserve grand champion for his Feather Legged class bantam.
Both supreme and reserve supreme champions are from Lebanon County. It was Boltz’s bantam, a White Leghorn Cockerel Bantam, that came out on top, making Nagle’s Dark Brahma Large Fowl the reserve grand champion.
Boltz has been showing poultry at the Pennsylvania Farm Show for the past 5 or 6 years, she said. This year marks Nagle’s third year showing here, he said.
Color, condition, shape and type of poultry give birds like Boltz’s a leg up on the competition, according to judge Wasylkowski.
“The quality of poultry at the Pennsylvania State Farm Show, when compared with other state fairs, has been on a continuous up rise over the past six years,” he said. Now, that is something to crow about.