Well, as you may know, I went to Hollister this weekend for a poultry show. I took 11 birds down there, with pretty high hopes for one particular Black Rosecomb pullet. The vinyl cage liners worked out well, and nobody munched any tail feathers this weekend.
I ended up clerking all day Saturday (follow the judge around with a clipboard and write down all the placings and awards, it's interesting sometimes, dreadfully boring sometimes, and really quite tiring to be standing all day). So anyway, I was trying to sneak a peek over at the RCCL class while clerking for the Featherleg class, and from where I was standing in the building a few rows away, I couldn't read the coop tags all that well, but I could see that my fabulous pullet only placed 2nd, having been beaten by one of her sisters. Okay, so that's fine, and it looked to me like the winning pullet's coop tag said "BB" which means "Best of Breed." When I got a little farther down the aisle with the clerking job, I could see that the tag actually said "RB" which means "Reserve of Breed" (second best). Well no problem, I had a couple males in the show too, and they were caged a few rows to my left where I couldn't see them, so I figured that Best of Breed went to one of the Black males. The other clerk took the Reserve female up to Champion Row so that the judge could pick the Best and Reserve of Class, and I didn't think too much more about it...
But then as I worked my way farther down the aisle, I could see that one of my BBRed males was not in his cage, and I got pretty worried. I couldn't leave what I was doing, so I asked a friend to scout around see if he saw my BBRed somewhere (thought maybe he'd been taken for a photo or something, since they are interesting birds). He came back and said "he's on Champion row with the other RCCL birds." Hmmm, this just wasn't clicking for me. I then thought I must have read the Black female's coop tag wrong, it must really have said "BB" and so maybe the BBRed male got "RB." That made sense, so I didn't worry about it.
So, eventually I finished up clerking for the Featherleg class, and wandered over to the Champion Row, and a few minutes later the other clerk (for the other judge, who had judged the RCCL Class) came by and said to me "you got Best with the BBRed and Reserve with the Black." I think my super intelligent response was something along the lines of "huh?" How could that be? Was he talking about Best of Breed? Okay, maybe he meant Best of Breed, it could happen...
I was still just not quite believing all this, so I went back to the original cages and read the coop tags. "Reserve RCCL" (Reserve of Class) on the Black pullet. Huh. I walked over to the BBRed cockerel, and saw "Best RCCL" (Best of Class). Holy crap!!! Oh my word! Good golly! I read it a few more times just to be sure. Yup!!! That's huge, absolutely an amazing thing. I have gotten Rerserve of Breed before, but NEVER a Class award, so I was totally beside myself. It was a pretty good size class, and most definitely competitive!!
As the infomercials say though "But Wait!" The story doesn't end there.
Champion Row gets judged Sunday morning. So my two birds were up there, and I put a little effort into smoothing out feathers and making the BBRed male look as good as possible, though I pretty well knew that a BBRed Rosecomb (come on now, we're talking about one of those "odd color" birds) really could not compete with the other birds up there, and there were sure some beauties.
It's nervewracking to watch, even though knew I didn't have anything to be nervous about. But they kept going back to the Rosecomb and looking at him again. They even pulled out a Bantam Standard book and read through that (BBRed is standard only in the American Bantam Association, not the American Poultry Association). So by this time I'm thinking "oh my stars, they are actually considering this bird" and was just about to keel over from the mere thought of it. I mean, they were putting some serious thought into this!
And then one of the show superintendants stepped up to annouce the winners... "Best Large Fowl...Aseel, Reserve Large Fowl...Hamburg, Best Bantam...Old English Game, Reserve Bantam...Rosecomb." Aaaaaaaaaaaa, oh my gosh!!!! I think my eyes probably just about bugged out of my head, and the man continued on "Best in Show....Old English Game, Reserve of Show...Rosecomb."
OH. MY. GOSH!!!!
My jaw dropped, I was speechless, people were shaking my hand and everybody was hugging me. I was just absolutely shocked.
It is a big deal to win an award like that no matter what you are showing. It's very prestigious to win, it's very competitive, and in the past I have had some big wins (Best in Show, and others) with Black Rosecombs. But for this to go to a BBRed Rosecomb, I can't even begin to explain how much that means.... I started making BBRed Rosecombs "from scratch" (Black RC X BBRed Old English) in 1993. After 13 years of breeding, culling, cursing, and loving this color, a MAJOR win has now happened. All that work is so worth it. They are competitive. I am thrilled to pieces. This just means the world to me.