Mathias Claims National Chicken Picking Title
SNOW HILL — State Senator Jim Mathias (D-38), who represents the Lower Shore, added another feather to his cap so to speak last week when he won the 2013 Mountaire Chickin’ Pickin’ title at the Delmarva Chicken Festival, toppling the defending national champion in the finals.
Each year during the Delmarva Chicken Festival, an annual event celebrating everything related to the Eastern Shore’s favorite bird, Mountaire Farms holds a competition to determine the fastest chicken picker on the peninsula. Mountaire’s Chickin’ Pickin’ Championship is a contest of speed, skill, strategy and sheer determination as contestants work their way through several early heats to reach the championship round.
This year, the annual Delmarva Chicken Festival was held in Snow Hill, the Worcester County seat, and the Mountaire Chickin’ Pickin’ contest was one of the highlights of the weekend-long event. Competitors had five minutes to pick and shred as much cooked meat from oven-roasted chickens as possible. The two-hour event featured 20 contestants who squared off in groups of five through four preliminary heats with the winners moving on to the championship round.
Mathias swept through his round, the “celebrity” round, topping fellow contestants Delegate Mike McDermott, Worcester County Administrator Harold Higgins, Worcester Schools Superintendent Jerry Wilson, Worcester Economic Development Director Bill Badger and Snow Hill Mayor Charlie Dorman.
With his victory in the celebrity round, Mathias continued to win through the other preliminary rounds to reach the finals against several former winners and the reigning Mountaire Chickin’ Pickin’ Grand Champion. In the finals, Mathias picked and shredded 13.7 pounds of meat from cooked whole chickens in five minutes to stun the reigning national champion and the other contestants in the field to claim the title of Grand Champion for at least one year.
Mathias said this week he was awarded a championship belt buckle for each of his wins in the celebrity round and the final round. He was also awarded a $250 donation to the charity of his choice for each of the wins and naturally chose the American Cancer Society, for which he has been a staunch advocate.
“It was unbelievable,” he said. “I was picked for the celebrity round and didn’t think much of it. Then I won that and advanced to the finals and beat the national champion.”