NEW ULM — Pigeon and poultry enthusiasts from near and far participated in the New Ulm Poultry and Pigeon Association show at the Brown County Fairgrounds Saturday.

For most veteran enthusiasts, it’s a time to renew old friendships and take their favorite birds to a show of about 900 birds, have them judged and visit in a place they’ve been coming to for many decades.

“I remember coming to a national show at George’s Ballroom in 1965. They put cages on top of the ballroom booths,” said Mark Peterson of Amboy. “(George’s Ballroom owner) George Neuwirth was a big pigeon guy. A band would play and he had a big crystal fountain shaped like a pigeon. George didn’t do anything small. He was a showman.”

Don Roscoe of Kasota recalled showing poultry and pigeons at the New Ulm Armory more than 50 years ago.

“I used to hunt in the fall besides go ot shows, but then decided poultry shows, most of which usually happen in the fall, were more fun than hunting,” said Roscoe, who taught geography at Mankato State University.

Staff photo by Fritz Busch Show-goers take a good look at chickens displayed among hundreds at the Brown County Poultry & Pigeon Association show at the Brown County Fairgrounds Saturday.

Art Rieber of Neola, Iowa, said he doesn’t mind driving four and one-half hours from his home, 30 miles northeast of Omaha, to New Ulm. Sometimes, he’ll drive even farther to pigeon and poultry shows, which are also held at the McLeod County Fairgrounds in Hutchinson.

“I can see the Woodman Tower (in Omaha) from my kitchen window,” Rieber said. “It’s about seeing the exhibitors. I’ve known these people forever.”

Doug Grams of New Ulm said he enjoys coming to shows and that his seven grandchildren are also interested in the poultry and pigeons.

Robert Kosek of New Ulm said he remembers selling a case of eggs each week from this chickens.

“They give me eggs year around and I enjoy meeting a lot of interesting people at shows and maintain friendships with them,” Kosek said. “I’ve got pigeon and poultry pen-pals from all over the United States.”

New Ulm Pigeon and Poultry Association Secretary Aaron Dittbenner of Morgan was busy at the show, keeping records of everything that goes on. He admitted he is busy preparing for the show about a week before it begins.

Some poultry breeders enjoy traveling to national shows during the winter months in places like San Diego, Oklahoma, Kentucky, Salt Lake City, Florida, Texas and Vancouver, Wa. Breeders who travel far to shows often use special mailing boxes ship their birds to distant places.

Dominique chickens, also known as Pilgrim Fowl or Dominickers, were transported across the country by early settlers. They were valued for their meat and brown eggs.

Years ago, their feathers were very sought after for pillow and mattress stuffing. In addition, they tend to be calm, personable birds, making them more successful as show birds or family pets.

Also known for their close feathering, the breed survived the Great Depression due to it’s hardiness and ease of up-keep, according to The Livestock Conservancy.


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