2021 APA Canadian National Honoree: Erik Nelsen

The American Poultry Association is pleased to honor

Erik Nelsen

Erik Nelsen
Erik Nelsen was honored at the Canadian National in Turo, Nova Scotia in October, 2021

A few words from Erik Nelsen:

My long journey with poultry began in 1956 at the age of five. A neighbor gave me my first chickens for helping tend her flock. Chickens have been part of my life ever since.

During my middle and high school years I worked on a hatchery where I learned the fundamentals of poultry husbandry. During lunch one day my employer, Winthrop Wyatt, mentioned the Boston poultry show. In those days they had a production class. In 1964 I began showing at fairs but was unaware of real poultry shows. He asked if I had ever seen the Standard of Perfection. I told him I had not, so he fetched his copy and presented it to me. One look at the work of Schilling and Sewell and I was hooked. I exclaimed that I want birds like these! He replied, then you must be born fancier. Soon after, I met a man named Ralph Harlow who had the most beautiful Barred Rocks and Silver Spangled Hamburgs. He became an invaluable mentor and whose bloodlines I carry on to this day. After college I began to show in earnest all around the northeast. I had the privilege to know some of the last of the great stringmen, the Braun family of Syracuse, NY, Leland Snow, Henry Miller, John Kroner, Jr. and Art A. Shallenburg, to name a few. These men were a great influence on my life and ultimately led me to become a licensed judge some forty years ago.

During my twenties and thirties, I raised many varieties of large fowl, bantams, and pigeons. As a would-be stringman, I soon realized that I could never repeat the boxcar days of the Brauns. I will never forget those colorful stories, but I was born in another century.

I have had the pleasure to judge in many parts of the U.S. and Canada and even Australia. But the best part has always been about the people. So many friends from all points. As along as I am able, I look forward to continuing on this most wonderful journey.