INDIAN RIVER COUNTY – His name says he’s little, but amongst his seven challengers, Chicken Little was anything but.
For 20 minutes, he and the other roosters crowed under the Livestock Pavilion at the Indian River County Firefighters’ Fair, in an attempt to earn their 4-H human counterpart a trophy.
“A word of advice to all the chickens,” Master of Ceremonies Sam Adams said, “if you don’t crow, we have a reservation for you at the Kentucky Fried Chicken!”
It took a few minutes for the roosters to find their crows, but once they did, they didn’t stop.
Rudy was the first to crow, egged on by 4-year-old Jimmy Elmore and his sister, Mackenzie, 8, who mimicked a crowing rooster to get him started.
Then, Chicken Little got in the game – and didn’t let up.
Ten-year-old Paul Littleton stood in front of Chicken Little’s crate, urging him to start crowing. Behind him, within Chicken Little’s line of sight, was family friend Donna Burtrem, pointing a small key chain flashlight at him.
He crowed several times in a row, reacting to the light.
“It’s because the sun’s coming up,” Burtrem said of why the rooster reacted.
Though some in audience questioned the use of the flashlight, organizers didn’t cry foul.
Once Bailey Chisholm’s rooster, Henry, started crowing, there was a three-way race to the finish.
The five other roosters remained silent.
“I’m afraid we might have mute roosters,” Adams told the audience.
Speedy was one such rooster that couldn’t find the will to crow during the 20-minute contest.
“He crows real well at five-thirty in the morning,” said Terri Hinzman, grandma of contestant Colby Holbook.
By the end of the competition, Henry crowed 12 times, Rudy 15 and Chicken Little 21.
“The kids learn so much,” Hinzman said of those who participate in 4-H, adding that they learn about so much more than animals.
They learn confidence, leadership, organization, she said.
Eight-year-old Colby is normally rather shy, Hinzman said, but all the presentations he’s had to do already for 4-H has given him confidence.
So much so, she said, that he ran for Third Grade Governor at his school, Imagine Schools at South Vero.
While 4-H members, families and friends enjoyed watching the contest and various animal judgings, thousands more walked the Indian River County Fairgrounds riding the various Midway rides, playing carnival games and munching on traditional fair foods.
The annual Indian River County Firefighters’ Fair continues through Sunday, March 20.