11-year-old wins showmanship award

Brooke Hahn, 11, of Grand Junction, won the Grand Champion Showmanship award in poultry in the Intermediate Division at the National Western Stock Show in Denver.

Ducks, chickens, poise, communication and knowledge helped an 11-year-old Grand Junction girl win various awards during the past couple of years.

But last Sunday, Brooke Hahn had some close competition for the coveted Grand Champion Showmanship award in poultry at the National Western Stock Show in Denver.

Five individuals were neck-in-neck in points, and Brooke, who won the award in 2012 in the Junior Division, found herself to be the youngest person in the Intermediate Division and competing against teenagers for the first time. A second judge was required to choose the winner.

In the end, Brooke’s youth was not a deterrent. She received a near-perfect score: 99/100.

The Grand Champion Showmanship award for poultry is given to the individual in the age group who knows the most about poultry and can speak about the subject in an eloquent way.

“I met my goal!” exclaimed Brooke, who received $110 cash for her win. The 11-year-old said it was like a pot of gold.

The showmanship award isn’t the only award Brooke brought home from the stock show, which began Jan. 12 and ends today. She received five ribbons for showmanship for her ducks and five for her chickens.

A great deal of preparation is needed to succeed at competitions. Brooke spent hours and hours studying information about all poultry. And she cleans her chickens. Very well.

“You want three to four different buckets,” Brooke said. “If it’s a white bird, you want bluing in (one of the buckets). But you don’t want too much or it will dye your white bird blue. At first you take the chicken and you dip it (all except their head) in the soap. Then let them drip off and go to the bluing if it’s a white bird. You might need a double rinse bucket. And then you have to wrap the chickens in towels so they don’t get cold.”

Brooke also makes sure her chickens’ legs are clean by using a toothbrush or dish scrubbing brush, and by clipping their nails.

Brooke’s mother, Ann Hahn, is her daughter’s biggest fan.

“Brooke prepares for competitions all year,” Ann said proudly, smiling at her daughter, who is far from done with competition.

Brooke’s goals for 2013 are to keep learning about poultry and to attend more shows. She sees herself becoming a veterinarian and winning a National Western Stock Show scholarship to help her with the cost of college.


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