Ohio State Fair to offer poultry exhibitors new opportunity


COLUMBUS — Although there won’t be poultry exhibits at this year’s Ohio State Fair, exhibitors will still have an opportunity to sharpen their skills and participate in the Sale of Champions Aug. 9.

On June 2, the Ohio Department of Agriculture canceled all county and state fair live poultry exhibits, to protect the state’s poultry industry against avian influenza.

But state fair organizers have devised a plan that will allow the top 10 finishers in the skillathon to represent the poultry industry in the Sale of Champions.

Premiums awarded

The winner in each of the 10 age groups will receive $225, plus another $100 and belt buckle for participating in the sale. The 10 winners will help sell one combined poultry exhibit, which this year will represent all market and breeding chicken, turkey and waterfowl projects.

In past years, poultry projects in the sale have been limited to champion turkeys and chickens, said Alicia Shoults, Ohio State Fair spokesperson.

This year, exhibitors will have an “extended opportunity,” she said, adding the decision will bring some “new faces in the sale of champions” and “freshen things up for 2015.”

Instead of receiving money from the sale, as in past years, exhibitors will be limited to their premiums and the remainder, like other years, will go to the Youth Reserve Program.

The skillathon will be held Aug. 5, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Participants must be enrolled in Ohio 4-H or FFA poultry projects. They can pre-register before July 13, to receive free fair admission for themselves and a parent or guardian, at www.ohiostatefair.com.

Members with poultry projects can also participate in the Avian Bowl, which will be held July 25, at 8:30 a.m., at the Nationwide and Ohio Farm Bureau 4-H Center.

The registration deadline for Avian Bowl is July 1.

Lucinda Miller, 4-H extension specialist for small and companion animals, said the Avian Bowl is similar to a quiz bowl, and the winner of the senior team will represent Ohio at the North American International Livestock competition in Louisville, Kentucky.

More participants

Miller said she’s excited about the changes in this year’s program, because it will open up more opportunities for more exhibitors to appear in the sale of champions.

Shoults said she expects skillathon participation will increase, due to the many incentives of this year’s event.

Overall, skillathon premiums have increased by $4,000 for 2015. Second place age-group winners will receive a $175 premium, and third place winners will receive $155.

The buyer of the poultry project will receive one fresh or frozen turkey, and four fresh or frozen whole chickens, courtesy of the Ohio Poultry Breeders Association.

To learn more about the state fair or to register for contests, visit www.ohiostatefair.com. You can access the Avian Bowl forms at www.ohio4h.org/events/ohio-4-h-avian-bowl-contest.

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