Sebree’s Peck-tacular Chicken Race for New Playground


In Webster County, there’s a sport of wings. Sebree Elementary celebrates a fundraiser, gathering money for something new in the backyard.

Their playground has seen better days and parents want to help. Well-worn monkey bars and a muddied slide showcase the love their jungle gym has received over the years. Like the embossed fossil on the underside of its rock wall, the playground is showing age.

“It’s kind of getting a little old and I noticed that they needed upgraded equipment,” Katie Ferguson says. She works at Independence Bank and has two kids in school. She organized a race to raise money… and it’s not any ordinary race.

Why did the chicken cross the gym?

There is a bounce house, face painting and popcorn, but more than 100 aren’t shouting for some typical fundraiser. They’re pumped over poultry.

A chicken race is about to get started, but at least 8 hens might need a hand getting where they need to be – the other end of the gym.

Together with Ferguson, seven other ladies with Independence Bank are tasked with taming these wild beasts. Each one is designated a color and assigned to a class.

A chicken race isn’t any more fitting in Sebree. “The hen house,” Ferguson says, “that’s what they call us because there’s only ladies at the bank.”

Before their sprint to the finish, there’s already $6,500 raised for new equipment. The fundraiser was selling $5 tickets at the door to add on to their total.

The ladies hope to make this an annual fundraiser for any organization in Sebree, not just the school.

“Went to school here, lived here all my life,” says Cindy Brown. She’s delicately holding the green hen, who gets a five-pace head-start for its class winning a penny drive last week.

Brown knows it’s almost time to run. “This one’s ready to go!” she says.

“We’re going to have to shoo them down the lanes and see what happens,” Ferguson says.

Will it work?

“We hope so,” she laughs.

It takes less than a minute for the orange chicken, named Penelope Pumpkin, to go baseline to baseline across the finish line. It seems to happen more by accident than pure skill.

At least now we can finally answer the age-old question on what came first.

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