First-time poultry show participant soaking up fair experience

CASSOPOLIS — Oliviah Carroll has been enjoying the Cass County Fair from a different angle this year.

A Cassopolis native, the soon-to-be seventh-grader is soaking up her first fair as a participant with her chicken Peanut.

Carroll and her chicken, Peanut, an Old English Game, have spent the summer preparing for Thursday’s Cass County Poultry Show.

“We’ve had to bathe her and practice,” she said. “She’s very stubborn. She doesn’t like to sit still. I had to bathe her and make sure she was pretty and clean for today. We had a lot of practice to make sure she was ready.”

The show is divided into three main categories: Market, breed and showmanship.

According to poultry show superintendent Melissa Town, Carroll and her fellow participants put several hours of work into preparing their chickens for competitions.

“These kids study their butts off, they practice,” she said. “If you watch them, they have to do a whole examination of the bird’s body and they have to know a lot about their specific bird, its breed and all about it. It takes a lot of knowledge and a lot of dedication. Some of them had been doing it for 12 years, so their knowledge base is higher than a beginner’s.”

In addition to poultry, Carroll also participated in Wednesday’s Rabbit Show and earned a junior showmanship championship win.

“It’s been really fun,” she said. “I showed rabbits yesterday, and it was really cool because I got first place. It’s been a fun experience for my first year.”

So far, showing rabbits has been Carroll’s favorite fair experience.

“I like being there in front of the judge when she asks me questions,” she said. “I just like showing the rabbit.”

With her first fair under her belt, Carroll hopes to participate in more fairs in the future.

“I’m enjoying it,” she said. “I’m looking forward to doing more.”

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