XENIA — Excuse Mattie Alderman for not being quite sure what to do when she was announced as a class winner in the market poultry show.
“I wanted to jump (up and down),” the Xenia High School freshman and 4-H rookie said. “First year I didn’t think I would win first place.”
Then she thought better of it and politely — and quite hesitantly — raised her right arm so members of the poultry committee knew where to take the blue ribbon. That was met with cheers from her family and then the obligatory photo op near the cages where she was free to celebrate in any manner.
No doubt there were many hugs and high fives — socially distant of course.
“I’ve never shown before,” Alderman said. “I really wanted to. I love working with animals.”
So with a little nudging from friend Danielle Clarkson — also a 4-H member — she joined the Jitter Bugs. She picked out her chickens in June and received on-the-job training as to how to care for poultry.
“The 4-H people really helped us out with what to feed,” Alderman said. “Obviously my parents helped me out.”
The show was all about the chickens as opposed to showmanship, which tests knowledge and ability of the 4-H member to handle their species. That didn’t mean Alderman wasn’t a bit jittery as the judge inspected her pen.
“Nerve wracking,” she said. “He liked two of them and then he got a little worried about the third one.”
So what was Alderman’s secret to first-year success?
“I don’t know,” she said.
Hey, whatever works, right?
Alderman said she plans to show cows and rabbits as well next year.
Her brother, Brody, won his class right before Mattie won hers, and sister, Samara, was over in the goat barn showing as well.
— Bryant Smith was a repeat grand champion. The Cedarville High School and Greene County Career Center junior beat out a ring full of promising poultry. The competition was so tough that the judge said any entry that was first or second here would win 80 percent of the county fairs statewide.
“I’m really excited,” Smith said. “I was feeling that everyone had some good chickens. I wouldn’t be surprised if I didn’t win.”
Last year’s winning entry hauled in around $1,500. But Smith wasn’t too concerned about dollar signs.
“It’s just fun to do it in the first place,” he said.
That’s why the member of Family Traditions 4-H entered this year after being grand champ last year.
“I was like, ‘might as well try again,’ ” he said.
Taylor Warner, a Jamestown resident and member of Prime Producers, was the reserve grand champion. She was actually over in the hog barn most of the morning and had help from some friends during the poultry show.
— After finishing second in her class last year, Kendall Hauprich, a member of Jamestown Junior Farmers, won her class this year.
“I feel good,” she said. “I was pretty confident.”
But as the names were being called off from fifth to first, that confidence wasn’t as strong.
“I was saying to myself I might have a chance,” she said.
The 10-year-old had a solid plan to improve upon her finish from last year. She put feeders up high to make the chickens stretch and made sure they ate properly. But she wouldn’t give away her secret.
“I feed them chicken feed,” she said with a little giggle.
— George Boyette, better known as Otis to friends and family, repeated as a class champion, but not without some tense moments.
“I was really nervous when he was feeling (my chickens),” Boyette said. “You can tell (what the judge thinks). Whoever has the biggest breasts gets first.”
But then he felt more relaxed when the judge mentioned Boyette’s pen specifically when talking about the top chickens, after giving away who finished second.
“I knew I was going to get first or third,” the Warner Middle School seventh grader and member of T-Birds 4-H said.
Market Chickens Show results (top five places)
Class 1: Brody Alderman, Conner Glass, Sydnee Deyo, Elizabeth Manley, Madison Jamison.
Class 2: Mattie Alderman, Rylan Hurst, Whitney Eavers, Ella Krall, Kimberly Dutenhaver.
Class 3: Kendal Bertelson, Aaron Schrand, Reese Ehresman, Wade Ehresman, Trinity Davis.
Class 4: Jayden Delawder, Braxon Magulac, Gracie Tackett, Landon Bertelson, Dylan Laudermilk.
Class 5: Kendall Hauprich, Cassidy Brown, Kobe Trimbach, Logan Spencer, Chloe Trimbach.
Class 6: Taylor Warner, Dean Bogan, Odessa Hughes, Riley Lawless, Margaret Miller.
Class 7: Brooklyn Warner, Victoria Chaney, Uriah Hughes, Sarah Bogan, Ava Martin.
Class 8: George (Otis) Boyette, Jacob Lide, Mackenzie Cox, Emmett Waggoner, Harlow Hill.
Class 9: Bryant Smith, Leighara Noonan, Jacob Furay, Izabella Noonan, Audra Downing.
Contact Scott Halasz at 937-502-4507.