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Friday, Aug. 22, 2014

Fair's best-kept secret is something to crow about

Friday, July 24, 2009

(Photo)
Wyatt Clark encourages his rooster to crow during the annual rooster crowing contest at the Putnam County fair. [Order this photo]
GREENCASTLE -- People near the Putnam County Fair on Thursday morning could hear a mix of roosters crowing interspersed with human attempts to keep them crowing.

This contest is one of the best-kept secrets of the local fair. Greencastle Mayor Sue Murray, along with several adults helping out their 4-H'ers took part in the 30-minute contest where participants count the number of times their rooster crows.

The annual Rooster Crowing Contest has grown in popularity every year, with a small crowd cheering on a vast variety of breeds while they are timed for 30 minutes beginning at 8:30 a.m.

Owners or the designated handlers sit behind cages encouraging the birds to belt it out. The crows are counted by marking index cards for each cock-a-doodle-do.

After the half hour lapses, cards are turned in, crows are counted, and results are announced.

Handlers are not allowed to physically touch the bird, but they can coax it through sounds, such as clucking or kissing noises, or even blowing on the rooster's feathers.

"Talk to me!" shouted one contestant to her bantam-sized rooster. "Shake those tail feathers!" as the bird strutted around the cage. He would arch his back and belt one out, at an average of at least one every two minutes. "Come on, big boy!"

Emily Henninger tried everything she could think of to get her rooster to crow, but he remained silent. Her sister Kaylee's rooster crowed 53 times, making her the Grand Champion in the 4-H Division.

Emily's rooster wasn't alone. Two others refused to cooperate even after Megan Mayall brought her hen "Oddball" over to entice the roosters to crow. Even Greencastle Mayor Sue Murray's first rooster refused to perform.

Her second rooster liked "Oddball" and let out his cock-a-doodle-do 43 times, making her the Adult Grand Champion.

Jessica Keeney and son Micah counted crows together as spectators gathered for the event. Wyatt Clark shouted at his rooster showing him how to crow while his dad Jeremy cheered him on.

Hunter Asher got her pet "George" to crow 41 times as her grandmother Miriam Asher helped her shake the cage and cackle at the fowl.

After 30 minutes, handlers and roosters all seemed to have had enough. With ribbons and plaques passed out to the winners, the group dispersed and the roosters went back to scratching in the sawdust.

For all the pictures of the competition, click here.



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