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Chickin' Pickin' II - DPI Chicken Festival
Mountaire Crowns a NEW Chickin’ Pickin’ Champ!
A newcomer out picks the reigning champ in an epic showdown at this past weekends DPI Chicken Festival in Dover, DE!
The 61st Annual Delmarva Poultry Industry Chicken Festival held June 18-19 in Dover, Delaware, played host to an event for the ages. Long known for it’s giant fry pan, carnival rides, chicken capers, and plain ole’ wholesome family fun, this year’s festival took on a new persona as it featured Mountaire Chickin’ Pickin’ II. The much anticipated and highly touted event stole the show on Saturday, June 19, as nineteen newcomers took on the challenge of knocking off the reigning Chickin’ Pickin’ Champion, Steve Maguschak and his record of 9 lbs, 14 oz., which he established at the inaugural Mountaire Chickin’ Pickin’ Championship held in April at Pork in the Park in Salisbury, MD.
As was the case in April, fans were not disappointed with the action, which was fast and furious from the start. Beginning at noon, the event featured four preliminary rounds each pitting five contestants against one another in battle of speed, skill and strategy to see who could pick and shred the most meat from oven roasted Mountaire chicken(s) in a 5 minute time frame. Competitors had as many cooked 'birds available to them as necessary, from which they had to pick and shred all the meat and skin from the breast, thighs, legs, wings and back. New ‘birds could not be started on until the first one was deemed completely picked to the bone. All picked meat was placed in a tray, which was weighed at rounds end to determine who moved onto the finals for a chance to win $500 and be crowned the Mountaire Chickin’ Pickin’ Champion!
Maria Perez, who showed up at 8am just to guarantee a spot in the event, walked away as the winner of round 1 when she weighed in 6 lbs of picked meat. Round 2 included Charlene Jones-Kellam, who won her way into the event via a Chicken Dance competition held by Eagle 97.7, the official radio station of the competition. Charlene used her momentum to turn round 2 into a runaway with a weight of 7 lbs, 2 oz. Round 3 was comprised of a couple of returning Iraq war veterans and a few moms from the crowd, one of which was Hope Kramer, who won the round with a weight of 5 lbs, 10 oz. Reigning champ Steve Maguschak wowed the crowd in round 4 when he turned in a whopping total of 10 lbs, 2 oz., establishing a new Chickin’ Pickin’ record and setting the stage for an incredible finale.
The Championship round began at 3pm in front of hundreds of interested onlookers. Event emcee, Petch, from Petch and Paula in morning on Eagle 97.7, formally introduced all four finalists and jokingly walked everyone through some limbering exercises for the hands before getting the fierce competition got underway. Fingers, meat and verbal jabs were flying everywhere for the entire 5 minutes, with all four finalists tearing through chicken after chicken. When the final buzzer sounded it was anybody’s race.
First on the scale was Maria Perez who weighed in a meat tray of 10 lbs, 10 oz., good enough for a short lived record. Next up was Hope Kramer who topped out at 7 lbs, 6 oz. Charlene, the chicken dancing queen, was up third and posted an unbelievable weight of 12 lbs, 2 oz., a NEW record for the competition. After a brief celebration all eyes turned to Maguschak and his overflowing meat tray. As the champ’s score of 10 lbs, 12 oz. was announced a roar went up from the crowd! One particular scream was especially noticeable as it bellowed from the lady who just realized she was $500 richer and the NEW Mountaire Chickin’ Pickin’ Champion, Mrs. Charlene Jones-Kellam of Magnolia, Delaware!
In my first encounter with Charlene a couple of weeks ago we held a Pickin’ qualifying event with the radio station in Camden, Delaware. And there she came, racing across the restaurant parking lot to enter the first of three chicken related events hoping to be eligible for a chance to win the big prize in Dover. In the first event, this fiery lady raced on foot balancing an egg against a couple of fast competitors in the spoon race and finished second. So she tried again. The next event was to simulate a rooster in a crowing competition and a very powerful cackling gentleman beat her out. So she entered the last and final qualifying event; the Chicken Dance. And boy did she enter with a burst of energy and enthusiasm. Patrons sitting in cars wrapped around the carry-out parking area of the restaurant lot lit up the atmosphere with laughter and cheers as our star contender danced and pranced and flapped and tapped her way across the asphalt stage. With enthusiasm Charlene was the winner of that event, going away; and going away she was, to Dover and the Mountaire Chickin’ Pickin’ Championship. She’s the one to beat for the National title at the next Pickin’event that will take place in Harrington, Delaware at the State Fair Grounds on July 23rd. It’s also Paula Dean’s day. However, I say step aside Paula on July 23rd. Here comes the chicken champ: Charlene Jones-Kellam. - Roger Marino, Mountaire Corporate Director of Community Relations.
Throughout the Chicken Festival Mountaire Farms, along with the Georgia House Restaurants, raised money for Mountaire’s Thanksgiving for Thousands campaign, an effort which annually feeds more than 40,000 residents in need over the holiday season(s), by selling official Chickin’ Pickin’ t-shirt’s and the delicious Chickin’ Pickin’ Barbeque Sauce. Sales proceeds will go to help buy more staple food items to help grow the program in 2010. For more information on Chickin’ Pickin’ or Thanksgiving for Thousands contact Roger Marino at firstname.lastname@example.org
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