Marquardt rules the roost as poultry superintendent - Republic-Times | News

Marquardt rules the roost as poultry superintendent

By on August 2, 2017 at 12:00 pm

Pictured, Hank Marquardt admires his prize bird, a Silver-laced Wyandotte, that has won first in her class the last three years. (Sean McGowan photo)

Hank Marquardt strode into the poultry and rabbit barn last Wednesday afternoon at the Monroe County Fair. Another volunteer followed behind, carrying a box overflowing with hundreds of tags awarding different prizes for poultry entries.

“That’s a lot of tags,” it was noted, to which Marquardt, 61, nodded.

“When there weren’t so many entries, we used to just tie them to their cages,” the 20-year poultry superintendent said. “Now we bag em’ and give em’ to the families.”

A lot has changed since Marquardt first took on the responsibility of overseeing the poultry show at the fair. More classes exist within the different breeds, while overall entries have increased significantly.

A barn that once housed as little as 13 exhibitors and 128 chickens now contains sheep, and more than 600 chickens are displayed in a combined rabbit and poultry barn.

“Back when we were in the current sheep barn, we were asking for a new barn for probably five years. And they kept saying we’ll never fill it. I’d say we fill it,” Marquardt said.

Don Schrader, Monroe County Fair Association president, also highlighted the increase in entries when considering Marquardt’s impact on the poultry show.

“He’s grown the poultry department from almost nothing to where it’s at today with over 600 chickens entered. He’s a great guy to have around,” Schrader said. “He has a heart for helping kids…>>>

Read the rest of this story in the August 2 issue of the Republic-Times.

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Sean McGowan

Sean is a die-hard Cubs fan, despite the relentless peer pressure coming from the rest of the Republic-Times staff. He and his wife, Jacqui, have been married for two years. Originally from the west suburbs of Chicago, Sean and his wife moved down to Normal to attend Illinois State University and stayed central Illinois residents for the past four years.