Joel Mazur of Waterville and his chicken Nancy Pelosi won the Pet Idol contest during the ninth annual MetroBarks Festival at Swan Creek Preserve Metropark in Toledo. Mr. Mazur’s hen topped 102 entries to claim the title.
This year’s Pet Idol winner was turning heads for her feathers and garnering laughs for her name.
Nancy Pelosi, a 12-week-old New Hampshire red chicken, took home the $500 prize in The Blade’s ninth-annual contest at the MetroBarks Festival on Saturday, held at Swan Creek Preserve Metropark. She spent much of her time balancing contently on her owner’s arm.
“Oh, my gosh!” Joel Mazur of Waterville said when the announcement was made. “You’ll have to rename it the MetroClucks Festival now.”
Mr. Mazur entered the hen in the photo contest after being encouraged by the 2013 Pet Idol winner Bob Reinbolt, who owns a German shepherd named Katie, to enter a pet. Mr. Reinbolt and Mr. Mazur both work for the Toledo mayor’s office as chief and assistant chief of staff, respectively.
“I probably had a funny look on my face when he said he was going to enter a chicken,” Mr. Reinbolt joked.
Dogs big and small alike, along with other pets, were joined by their owners at the park in a photo contest at The Blade-sponsored contest, which started in March.
Nancy, who shares her name with a California congressman who is House minority leader, beat out 102 other entries to take the title, winning the final round by a mere 22 votes. Brittney Bradner, The Blade employee in charge of the contest, said about 30,000 votes were cast since the contest began in March. About 3,500 votes were cast in the last four days alone.
“It was really close,” she said. “And this is the first chicken in the contest.”
Mr. Mazur had taken his campaign to social media, luring friends, family, and acquaintances with the promise of fresh eggs in exchange for their votes for Nancy.
“I owe a lot of eggs to a lot of people,” he said. “All the chickens are going to be laying eggs and we won’t get any for a while. But it was totally worth it.”
Nancy is not yet laying, but the family has seven other chickens to help fill the demand. One of those hens is named Sarah Palin, and another is named Madonna.
Mr. Mazur plans to donate his $500 winnings to St. Adalbert Catholic Parish on Lagrange Street in Toledo.
The contest was sponsored by The Blade, Metroparks of the Toledo Area, Yark Subaru, Planned Pethood, and WTVG-TV Channel 13.