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Fort Valley student headed to barbecue competition

Amelia Day, of Fort Valley, will be representing Georgia in the National Chicken Barbecue competition in Kentucky.
Amelia Day, of Fort Valley, will be representing Georgia in the National Chicken Barbecue competition in Kentucky.

A Fort Valley student will be representing Georgia in the National Chicken Barbecue competition, which will be held at the 2016 National 4-H Poultry and Egg Conference in Louisville, Kentucky, on Nov. 16-17.

Amelia Day, 18, a student with Veritas Classical Schools, a home-school program, won the chance to compete after winning first in the state competition, which was held at the Rock Eagle 4-H Center in Eatonton on Sept. 10, according to April L. Baggs, 4-H Youth Development Agent for UGA Extension, Houston County.

The conference, according to Baggs, helps develop leadership and decision-making skills in youth who are interested in poultry and poultry products. In addition to the contests, which will include competitors from across the United States, participants will be going on tours around the Louisville area and attending workshops with featured speakers who will discuss the benefits of employment and business opportunities in poultry.

Day, who has been active in 4-H since the age of 9, said she will be competing in two different areas for the competition: barbecuing and speech. Seventy-five percent of the score will be based on outdoor grilling and 25 percent will be based on an illustrated talk, a demonstration with visual aids.

“I’ve been cooking my entire life, and I’ve been competing in about every single 4-H cooking contest,” Day said, adding that she has been competing in the chicken barbecue competition since the ninth grade and placed second each year until she won her senior year. “I just kept going with it. ... I love cooking just about everything. Chicken is an easy protein to work with. It’s easy to add flavor to it, and I love grilled chicken.”

For the barbecue portion, Day said she will have to exhibit an understanding of health and safety issues as well as create or find a recipe to make the barbecue chicken. She also has to make sure it meets the judging criteria, which includes grilling three halves of a chicken within a two and a half hour time limit. Since a charcoal grill must be used, Day said she prefers using smaller chickens because they are easier to cook throughout.

For the speech portion of the competition, Day said she had to do research about poultry and will have to give a speech/demonstration about what she has learned. Although Day said she mentioned Georgia being the No. 1 poultry-producing state in her original state speech, she has had to revise her speech for the national level since states cannot be mentioned. She said she also plans to change her visual aid to a PowerPoint, whereas she used posters at the state competition.

For her recipe, Day started out using a recipe from a friend, but during the past three years of competing, she has tweaked it and made it her own by adding a variety of ingredients such as molasses, Worchestershire sauce, lime, and mesquite seasoning to give it a little “kick and a little more flavor.” She will be using the same recipe she won with at the state level for the national competition.

Baggs said Day is a “decorated, high-achieving 4-Her” who has gained Master Status four times, where students have to win on a state level in different areas.

“This is an amazing opportunity for her to be able to attend the national competition in this project,” she said. “The trip is going to cost more than the stipend, and it’s going to cost more than what she is given. Anything we can get to help with that would be great.”

Day, according to her mother, Kellie Day, will receive a stipend of approximately $600 from the state 4-H office for expenses. She said this money will cover the cost of hotel and registration, but they are still in need of funds for food and gas expenses.

The Houston County 4-H Club is a recognized 501(c)(3) exempt organization and contributions may be tax deductible, according to Baggs.

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