Fun tales from the Chicken Olympics

Hello and welcome to the 2013 Chicken Olympics. Today, our competitors will be participating in a variety of events, as they do every day in the chicken compound.

Let’s go to our announcers Frank and Bob, on scene at Backyard Stadium in Grand Junction, Colorado.

FRANK: It’s a gorgeous fall day here in Backyard Stadium, and our contestants are really chomping at the beak to get going with this competition.

BOB: We have a pretty exciting lineup today, Frank. Looks like the chickens are getting ready for Keep-Away, Playing Chicken and Hungry, Hungry Chicken.

FRANK: You Chicken Olympics fans know how this works. Our chicken athletes earn points for being the fastest or best in each competition, or cheating other chickens out of something. And it looks like we’re ready to start with Hungry, Hungry Chicken.

BOB: Yes, all five chickens are in place and they all seem to know that when the keeper lifts that straw bale, crickets are going to jump out from under it like popcorn. The object is to see how many crickets each contestant can gobble before they’re all gone.

FRANK: And ... they’re off! It looks like Eleanor Rigby has snatched up two already and there goes Little Jerry!

BOB: Look at Little Jerry go! Some of the others are playing Keep Away with their crickets, even though that’s entirely another event. Chicken Nugget seems confused and is sitting on top of the bale, and Pollo Kata is desperately trying to gulp her cricket down before Ofabeia rips off one of its legs.

FRANK: Mmmmhm. Extra points for stealing appendages from your opponent’s insect before it’s swallowed. The key to earning that winner, winner chicken dinner here is to really focus on speed, strategy and cold-hearted cheating.

BOB: It looks like Little Jerry is still in the lead with five crickets, and double points for the surprise grasshopper! No word yet on whether Little Jerry will be disqualified for enrolling as a hen if he is actually a rooster. Obviously his/her size and aggressive behavior are still causing some confusion in the gender arena.

FRANK: There’s also been some speculation about Little Jerry’s use of crack corn as a performance-enhancing drug, which could explain the size advantage.

BOB: That’s unfortunate. So much potential has been ruined by crack corn, and the pressure is on for the Division of Poultry Ethics (DOPE) to get this epidemic under control.

FRANK: Looks like the judges have tallied their scores and, wow, a disappointing performance from Nugget. She really needed to shake her tail feathers to get some points, but sat out the whole time.

BOB: Yeah, she really laid an egg in this category. On the other hand, 15 crickets for Little Jerry, plus double points for that grasshopper!

FRANK: That is really something to crow about .. we’ll have to wait and see if Little Jerry does just that, as it could clear up that whole gender debate.

BOB: Next up, Playing Chicken!

FRANK: If you recall, the whole point of this match is to see who backs down first in a beak-to-beak standoff.

BOB: Yes, extra points for any especially Robert De Niro-esque behavior from “Taxi Driver.” “You talkin’ to me? You ... talkin’ to ME?” Remember that scene?

FRANK: This is a family show, Bob.

BOB: Yes, well, moving on. We have Nugget facing off with Eleanor Rigby. Well-matched opponents, Nugget seems to be a little shorter, but that could be a surprise advantage. We have the stare-off ... and our first jab!

FRANK: Ooh! That was a pretty mean peck to the eye by Nugget. Seems like she’s finally getting it together.

BOB: Eleanor Rigby is really squawking about it, and she’s calling a time-out.

FRANK: Meanwhile, the others are taking a snack break. Gotta keep those chickens well-fueled. Cucumbers provided by our sponsor, Mom’s Garden. And boy, have they worked up an appetite.

FRANK: If we don’t get some more cucumbers in there, this could turn into a nasty chicken version of the Hunger Games.

BOB: Ah, yes, if you recall back in the 1987 Chicken Olympics there was that unfortunate cannibalism incident, which chickens are known to do from time to time.

FRANK: That was the end of Henny Penny, champion egg layer.

BOB: She was no spring chicken.

FRANK: And some sprinkles are starting to fall on Backyard Stadium. It looks like we’ll have a rain delay on the rest of the games today since some of the contestants are retreating to the coop.

BOB: Good thing they’re making that call, Frank, as we all know, there’s nothing madder than a wet hen.

FRANK: Well, until next time, goodbye from the Chicken Olympics and may your eggs always be sunny-side up!

Erin McIntyre is an advanced master gardener, writer and Grand Valley native. Please email her at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) with story ideas or feedback.


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