Jay Kent of Phoenix gives it his all during the human crow competition at the 58th National Rogue River Rooster Crow Saturday. Mail Tribune Photo / Jamie Lusch - Jamie Lusch

A Reason to Shout

The ruler of the roost wasn't about to step down at this year's 58th National Rogue River Rooster Crow.

Just like last year, Bye Bye Bob took the win Saturday. And like last year, he did it by belting out a dominating 63 "cock-a-doodle-doos."

"He's just a regular, white rooster," said his owner, Walt Davenport of Wimer. "About as mean as they come ... but at least he's good for something."

Combining his back-to-back wins, Bob has raked in a cool $300 in prize money for the Davenport family, and he'll be back next year, they said.

This year's second-place prize went to Red Rider, with 46 crows, and third place went to Elron, who mustered 38 crows before the time limit was up.

Since 1958, Southern Oregonians have been lugging their caged roosters to the town's signature event, where the birds are given 30 minutes to crow as many times as they can. The record was set in 1978, when a rooster named White Lightning let go of 112 crows.

The owners of the first-place rooster receive $150, and prize money is paid out for the top five birds. This year's contest included about 30 roosters, and some of them didn't make a peep.

"I wish there was a zero on this scorecard," said Rico Salas, 52, of Rogue River, while standing over his rooster, Cock-a-Dude. "I think we're getting to about the third inning and we haven't even scored yet."

Along with a handful of other roosters in the contest, Cock-a-Dude never scored a single crow; a few clucks here and there, but those don't count.

"He's a first-timer ... I guess he's just not made for the stage," said Cock-a Dude's second handler, Chris Stoney, 58, of Rogue River. "We came up with a new name for him: Cock-a-Dud."

In addition to the real-rooster crowing contest, Saturday's festivities featured a human crow contest, in which kids and adults line up to give the audience their best "cock-a-doodle-do" impressions.

After two rounds in the adult competition, 35-year-old Suzette Millican of Talent walked away with the trophy.

"I've been crowing for a long time, but I was really nervous," she said. "One of my girlfriends told me about this contest and said I had to come, so I did."

Although this was her first official competition, Millican took up crowing about eight or nine years ago, while she was staying with some friends of hers in Trinity County, Calif., she said.

"They had a rooster that used to crow all the time, so I just started crowing with it one day," she said. "I guess I got pretty good."

Over the past 58 years, the annual event has developed into a full-blown, three-day festival. The town's population of just over 2,000 swells during the special weekend, requiring the city to reroute traffic and close off streets to accommodate the influx.

"We had great participation this year, and everyone seemed to be having a good time," said Rogue River Mayor John Bond. "That's what it's all about. You can't take it too seriously."

Bond, who has been announcing both the bird and human-crowing contests for more than 20 years, said he still wouldn't bet any money on any of the birds.

"I've seen a lot of them ... with all seriousness, you just never know," he said. "There is no rhyme or reason to any of it."

Reach Ashland Daily Tidings reporter Sam Wheeler at 541-499-1470 or email

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