"They are getting ready to pick the best bird of the show" said Eugene Davis of South Royalton, who was showing chickens.
Competitors choose two chickens. They're carried to the stage for easy viewing. A judge looks over every inch of the birds: feet, feathers, comb and legs get special attention.
"A black giant: if she didn't have black feet she would be disqualified," Davis said.
The best of show is underway at the World's Fair in Tunbridge. A flock of competitors are good natured about the competition. Many come back year after year. The Davis family started showing birds here 74 years ago.
"Well, my father has been at it since 1939. My sister and I kind of keeping it going a little bit," Davis said.
The Whalens strut their chickens here, too.
Michael Whalen: This is a frizzled white cochin.
Reporter Anson Tebbetts: Well, I can see the frizzles.
Whalen: All the feathers turn back the other way.
Showing chickens is part of the Tunbridge tradition.
Tebbetts: What does the egg look like?
Whalen: She lays a brown egg, yup.
Tebbetts: Not green or blue.
Whalen: Nope. I have them that lay blue and green eggs.
The eggs will have to wait. The judge is checking lacings on the feathers. The legs have to be the right color and shape. There's the body and a close look at the comb. One by one the judge plucks chickens out of the cages. They are eliminated. The field narrows, but all the owners get a reason why their chicken was kicked out of the crate.
"Well, because some people get upset they think their bird is the best and I have to tell them why it is not the best. I think it is only fair. You just don't eliminate a bird without causes, a reason," said Faith Hunt, a judge.
After close inspection-- a winner: Dean Clark and his Plymouth Rock. He wasn't present to receive his plaque, so they took his prize and his world class chicken to him nearby, where he was selling log homes.
Tebbetts: So what do you think?
Dean Clark: Well, it's kind of a surprise, really it is. Well, we do show birds once in awhile.
An impressive Plymouth Rock. The judge called the bird's barring nearly perfect.
"It was like someone took a ruler and drew the lines, they were totally lined up to the wing, to the body," Hunt said.
A stand out chicken at the fair-- not just any fair, but the World's Fair.
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