Largest turkey show in decades scheduled for the 2019 Ohio National

Back in 2018 Clell Agler, director of the Ohio National, and P Allen Smith, founder of the Heritage Poultry Conservancy, saw the need to place emphasis on turkeys. The numbers of birds shown has been dropping over the years with fewer quality breeders out there, according to John Monaco, President of the APA.  Together, Agler and Smith assembled premiums totaling $1,500 plus trophies for each of the 8 colors, plus AOV of Turkeys recognized by the APA for the 2019 Ohio National Show this November 9 & 10.

The birds will be judged the way they were in the past.  All entries will be bench judged, plus judged in their cages for type.  The judging will be lead by Jeff Halbach with a group of trained volunteers to help handle the birds. The judging will be live streamed on the Ohio National

Facebook page on Saturday, November 9, beginning at 9:00 am, so that those interested can hear and see the judging.

Clell Agler expects a tremendous turnout, citing that there is much enthusiasm for the turkey show this year.  Mr. Agler says this may be largest turkey show in recent decades.  P Allen Smith said that this is an important opportunity to raise awareness of these birds with the hope that it will generate more interest in breeders keeping quality flocks.  

According to Frank Reese, founder of the Good Shepard Poultry Conservancy in Lundsborg Kansas and acclaimed steward of Heritage large fowl breeds of poultry, says that it’s time to get back to judging  these birds properly, turkeys are birds of utility where 86 points are based on size, conformation and type, not feathers.  The last benched show, according to Mr. Reese, was in 1999 for the APA National in Nebraska where Duane Urch judged.  We had 198 turkeys shown and champion of the show was Norman Kardosh’s Narragansett Tom and reserve was my Bronze Tom said Reese.  

Volunteers will also be on hand encouraging turkey enthusiasts and breeders to participate in a survey that will help conservation groups better assess the state of the heritage turkey population in the US and Canada.  A roster of top turkey breeders will be assembled for those interested in the conservation of heritage varieties whereby the public may contact sources for quality birds directly.  

Zane Graham, founder of Jersey Jake’s Turkeys, has been working with the APA to get Chocolate turkeys recognized by the APA. This show will serve as a qualifying meet to recognize the variety. According to the Livestock Conservancy, Chocolates are a 19th century variety raised primarily in limited areas of the American South prior to the Civil War. The Livestock Conservancy cites them as being on the critical list of turkey varieties. Chocolates will be available at the show for sale to interested and qualified breeders, according to Mr. Graham.

The last variety of turkey to be recognized by the APA was the Royal Palm in 1977.  Mr. Enoch Carson of Lake Worth, Florida championed their introduction into the Standard of Perfection after being recognized by the APA.  Mr. Norman Kardosh wrote the breed standard for the SOP.

Those interested in exhibiting turkeys at what promises to be a historic event must have their entries in to the Ohio National by October 7.  For more information about the Ohio National Turkey Show contact Clell Agler at  The show catalogue is on the Ohio National website at under the show information tab.