FAIRBURY — Abby Soderberg’s noisy rooster has a lot to say, all the time.
In fifteen minutes, he spoke his piece 36 times, winning the annual rooster crowing contest at the Fairbury Fair.
"He likes to crow," she said. "I think he is saying ‘Please stop it and let me out.’"
Soderberg, 6 of rural Peoria, was among 10 children who competed in the contest Wednesday, the first day of the fair.
The Fairbury Fair, which marks it 130th anniversary this year, runs through Sunday with various events during the day and at night.
Abby and her mother, Gena Soderberg, selected the rooster based on how noisy he is a home. Soderberg previously entered the rooster into a crowing contest at the Illinois State Fair.
About 50 years ago, that same state fair event inspired Herman Harms to start the crowing contest in Fairbury.
“The children really seemed to enjoy it, so I thought we should have one here,” said Harms, who has been involved in the fair for about 60 years. “It allows children who may not be exhibiting poultry to be involved.”
The contest runs for 15 minutes, and the rooster that crows the most wins. It is open to children under 15 years old and their roosters.
Harms said he has seen a lot of techniques used over the years to entice the roosters. He said the most surefire way is to have a hen in the area for the rooster to see.
“The rooster will see the hen and want to impress her with his crowing,” he said. “The rooster needs to feel good and be excited to crow.”
Harms, of Forrest, said often the roosters not participating are more vocal then those trying to compete.
On Wednesday, several of the roosters’ crowing counts were in the high teens or twenties, which is a good showing Harms said.
“The nicer the weather, the more the roosters seem to crow. They are like people and they have to be comfortable.”
Gena Soderberg said their winning rooster has been crowing almost since it was born in March.
“He always has been making noise,” she said. “He is the loudest one we have.”
Fair in Fairbury
What: 130th annual Fairbury Fair
When: Now through Sunday
Where: Fairbury Fairground
Each day: carnival rides, petting zoo, strolling magician and clown, dog and baboon show