AFTER being bitten by the chicken bug, Ray Connor has been showing poultry at the Sydney Royal Easter Show for more than 50 years.
As a result, Ray was named a Life Member for his services, and has been selected as a Show Champion for 2009.
“I have enjoyed the journey, but the best part is the people you meet along the way rather than the awards themselves,” Ray said.
“To breed something that is considered to be excellent in any field is an honour.”
Ray's passion for poultry began when his father introduced him to the rewarding experience of keeping game and has remained with him his entire life.
His passion now rests with Dark Barred Plymouth-Rock and Old English Black Red Game.
At this year's show, he will be showing eight birds in the Old English Game class.
In the past, Ray has been successful with this breed having won the Champion Hard feather at the 1982 show.
All of this, he says, would be worthless without the friends you meet along the way.
“A few years ago, a testimonial show in recognition of my services was held in Beaudesert in Queensland, and one friend that I had through showing flew from Western Australia to celebrate with me.
“And he was 87,” Ray said.
“It is amazing to have friends that would go to such lengths to honour me and my services,” Ray said.
Ray has been making the trip to Sydney to judge and to show his birds since the late 40s.
“I have only missed two Sydney Royal Easter Shows in that time.
“Once because I was sick, and once because we were flooded in,” he said.
Ray has lived in the Cowper area his entire life having being born in the house next door to where he lives now.
He looks forward to the show every year to catch up with friends and share his passion with people in the city and will be making the trip to be there in time for Judging Day on April 9.