That's how I feel about it too....I don't really have much of a competitive bone in me and never did. But, I do like to try new things and have fun, though as of this morning I really don't find showing chickens the least bit fun.
NEVER...and I will say it again....NEVER will I wash another chicken as long as I live. The judges are just going to have to look past how a normal chicken looks to see his lines, feathering and such because I started at 8:30am and finished at 12:30pm...and that was just two measly birds. These WRs have such thick feathering that I was blow drying each bird for over an hour and they still weren't all the way dry underneath, but I just couldn't do it any longer....my old bones wouldn't take it.
The birds, on the other hand, were docile and patient, standing unrestrained in my mother's huge garden tub while I sat and fluffed and blow dried their feathers, on and on and on and on. That poor little pullet hadn't even had any breakfast, no water(I offered and she wouldn't) and hadn't had a chance to even lay her egg this morning....and still she was just as pleasant and cooperative as can be. That whole process just wore her OUT, I think...way too stressful, though I was being as gentle as can be, moving slowly and trying not to startle her. As soon as I put her back in the pen she went immediately to the nest to lay her egg...didn't stop for water or food. The other two hens in that pen were so stressed out by the absence of the cockerel that they had paced the fence all morning, hadn't eaten their food nor did they lay any eggs.
The cockerel was just as patient, stood patiently while I bathed him, then toweled him, then blew him dry for an hour....he too was still damp underneath when put back outside, but it's 80* and balmy out right now, so I doubt they will catch a chill.
As I'm sitting there contemplating that no chicken should have to undergo this process, losing all the valuable oils on their feathering and the dust coat to their skin, not to mention the very intimate contact with a human and being separated from the flock....I'm thinking, "I'm an idiot." Who does this to a chicken..... for fun???
Well...I can say I tried it, at least. I didn't like it and I didn't like it for the birds, so if I ever go to a show again, they will get what us hillbillies call a "bird bath"~so aptly named in this case, but it consists of washing only the necessary and very dirty parts of the anatomy, while leaving the rest alone. They will get a butt and feet wash, maybe a quick swipe to the face and head with a damp cloth.
Maybe I'll start a revolution wherein folks just let chickens be chickens and they get judged on their form and natural beauty and not so much on their owner's ability to do a Brazilian blowout and a pedicure. It's so simple that it just might work!
Just imagine it....a poultry fancier world where points are taken off if the chicken is too obviously groomed! They do that when they judge Scottish Highland Cattle....they must have long, shaggy, rough coats indicating they were living out in the fields and were not barn kept, before they can be eligible to even enter the show.
I think it would benefit chickens everywhere if they were not eligible to compete unless they showed evidence of actually being outside in the fresh air and dirt, not living in a wire pen or pristine coops. All the pullets and hens should have obvious breeding tracks on their backs and all of them should look like they've had a really good dusting recently. Free the show chickens! Free the show chickens!!!!
And, in doing so, free the exhibitors from 4 hrs of fiddly, fussy primping of miserable birds on a beautiful spring day....