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Chickin' Pickin' - April 17, 2010
Inaugural Chickin' Pickin' Championship - April 17, 2010
Held at the Pork in the Park Festival - Salisbury, MD
The 7th Annual Pork in the Park Festival, held April 16-18 at Winter Place Park in Salisbury, MD, featured many wonderful sights and sounds for the tens of thousands in attendance. Carnival rides, live music and delicious BBQ once again set the tone for special weekend, but one event left an indelible mark on an already popular affair. Taking place Saturday, April 17th, the Inaugural Mountaire Chickin’ Pickin’ National Championship drew large audiences and received rave reviews from festival patrons and Pork in the Park organizers for its unique concept and layout.
Beginning at noon, 21 contestants picked and shredded oven roasted Mountaire chickens in an effort to be crowned Chickin’ Pickin’ Champ and claim the grand prize of $500 cash and an authentic Chickin’ Pickin’ Belt Buckle. The contest featured four preliminary rounds consisting of 5 competitors each. Each competitor had five minutes to pick and shred as much meat from oven roasted birds as possible. Limitless ‘birds were available to all, however each ‘bird had to be picked clean to the bone before a new one could be started, meaning breast, thighs, legs, wings and even back meat had to be picked. Judges were on hand to monitor the action and inform each competitor when they could move on to a new ‘bird for picking. At rounds end, the picked meat was weighed and the competitor with the highest total advanced to the final round.
The 21 contestants came from all over Delmarva and represented people of all ages and races, some of whom entered the competition in the weeks leading up to the challenge, while others were lucky enough to register the day of the event. The action, led with play-by-play from Froggy 99.9 morning show host Mike Thomas, was fast and furious from the start, as hundreds of onlookers cheered on eventual round 1 winner Nicole Sherry to a stunning victory. Sherry, the head groundskeeper for the Baltimore Orioles, and a graduate of the University of Delaware with a degree in Landscape Architecture, picked and shredded 6 lbs, 4 oz. of meat to become the first finalist. As a youngster Sherry worked for Boston Chicken where she picked and shredded meat for sandwiches, experience she claimed would lead her to the overall title.
“I came here with one goal in mind, to win that BELT BUCKLE!” said Sherry, “Plus, I owe my mother $500, so that would work out pretty well for me too. I’ve got the experience from my days at Boston Chicken and I’m a competitor...I really want that belt buckle.”
In round 2 the competition kicked up a notch with Steve Maguschak setting the standard at 8 lbs, 4 oz. Maguschak, a 25 year old Salisbury native who pre-registered for the event, claimed his love for chicken would lead him to victory.
“Chicken is by far my favorite food! As luck would have it, my girlfriend loves chicken too, but hates to pick it off the bone. From teaching her and picking my own chicken, I’ve developed some skills.”said Maguschak.
Rounds 3 and 4 couldn’t top the mark set by Maguschak, but did feature some friendly trash talking amongst fellow competitors. Young Korey Hearn won round 3 with a weight of 6 lbs, 10oz, and Joe Cuomo stepped it up to win the final preliminary round with a weight of 7 lbs, 8 oz.
The Championship round pitted Sherry, Maguschak and Cuomo against one another in a fight to the finish to earn the title of Mountaire Chickin’ Pickin’ Champion. From the outset it was clear all finalists had learned something from the earlier contests. Techniques had changed and each competitor could be seen flying through chickens, shredding their way towards the finish line. When the final buzzer sounded each finalist was on their 4th ‘bird with meat trays overflowing. Nicole Sherry’s effort was the first on the scale, topping out at 7 lbs. 14oz, good enough for 3rd place and a bronze belt buckle. Joe Cuomo, who was talked into entering by his mother the day of the event, weighed in at 8 lbs, 12oz, which secured 2nd place and a silver belt buckle. Steve Maguschak, the man who guaranteed victory on his registration form and in a follow-up phone call, made good on his promise, weighing in at a whopping 9 lbs, 14oz; a contest record good enough for 1st place.
When asked about the title, his strategy and what he plans on doing now, Maguschak, with his fiancée by his side, kept it simple…
“It feels pretty good to be the Mountaire Chickin' Pickin' champ! It was a great test of skill that I was able to master better than all the other competitors. As far as strategy, I’ll just say I kept it consistent. I plan on defending my title, so I can’t giveaway my secrets. Until then, I think I’ll use the $500.00 to enjoy a nice weekend getaway with my fiancée.” – Steve Maguschak, Mountaire Chickin’ Pickin’ Champion
“Steve is moving on to challenge all comers for the National and World title designations during the summer months of competition,” - says Roger Marino, Mountaire’s Corporate Director of Community Relations“He has the hands, skill and the will to win that is the trademark of a real champion. We created this time-pressure, hands-on, competitive event to allow all participants, regardless of size and gender an opportunity to get into the record books. It was an exciting first time series and we can’t wait to host the next Chickin’ Pickin’ contest.”
Following the success of this first event, a 2nd Mountaire Chickin’ Pickin’ Championship is in the works for Saturday, June 19th at the 61st Annual Delmarva Chicken Festival being held on the campus of Delaware State University in Dover, DE. Details for this event will be released at a later date. If you are interested in learning more on Chickin’ Pickin’ contact Roger Marino at email@example.com
Round 1 – Round 2 -
Nicole Sherry: 6 lbs, 4 oz. Steve Maguschak: 8 lbs, 4 oz.
Helen Rash Jackie Smith
Mike Mulikin Lester Dennis
Casey Ross Carla Colvin
John Cuomo, Sr. Helen Nappier
Round 3: Round 4:
Korey Hearn: 6 lbs, 10 oz. Joe Cuomo – 7 lbs, 8 oz.
Susan Rogers Dawn Quigley
Zach Rogers Dan Kovicia
Brent Reddick Dylan Drew
Jessica Demartin Dominic Gale
Steve Maguschak: 9 lbs, 14 oz.
Joe Cuomo: 8 lbs, 12 oz.
Nicole Sherry: 7 lbs, 14 oz.
Korey Hearn – N/A