Dad: A Major Award

This is the first of what I hope will be a series of posts about events during the life of my Dad, who passed away in early November.

The year was 1955. I was three years old and my brother was about six months old, and our parents were in Chicago, a long way from our home in the Texas Panhandle.

They had traveled to the Windy City so my dad could compete in - wait for it - a chicken judging contest. To this day, I still don't know what's involved with chicken judging, but it was apparently a big deal back then (it may still be; feel free to enlighten me), and my dad was also apparently quite good at it. So good, in fact, that he won the competition, and this Major Award:

Photo - Tropy

The inscription on the trophy reads thusly: 1st Award - Senior Poultry Division - Pfizer 3rd Annual Livestock Judging Competition - November 28, 1955 - Sheraton Hotel, Chicago, Illinois. (I never realized until now that this occurred on his 32nd birthday.)

I can't find any additional information about this event. Pfizer still has an animal health division, and it's involved in some collegiate livestock events; livestock judging continues to be a big deal at the high school and college levels, but I don't find a lot of mention of adult judging competitions. It's probably safe to say that this represents something of a bye-gone era.

But the trophy isn't the end of the story. While it's the sole remaining tangible evidence of his accomplishment, I suspect the more exciting reward as far as my parents were concerned was the $2,000 cash prize that accompanied it. In today's dollars, that equates to more than $17,000 and that surely represented a large percentage of Dad's annual salary as an agricultural extension agent. Mother tells me that they bought a bedroom suite and several wool rugs for the house, and she bought Dad a .22 pistol.


Eric, first and foremost, my serious appreciation for a wonderful snapshot of your dad and his life. I, too, hope it will become a series!

On a more humorous note, re: "this represents something of a bye-gone era." You may be right ... the big payouts for winners at poulty competitions were the inspiration for 10 minutes of Daffy Duck's trademark craziness in the 1948 Looney Tunes short, "You Were Never Duckier"

Leave a comment. It makes us happy.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Eric published on November 22, 2012 11:36 AM.

In Memory of My Dad was the previous entry in this blog.

Christmas Decorations 2012 is the next entry in this blog.

Archives Index