Welcome back friends to another episode of The festivalPass Stories Podcast! We have something quite bizarre for you this week. Pat Tully takes a deep dive into the history of Fruita, Colorado, and talks with Tom Casal of Mike The Headless Chicken Festival.

Before we get into this great event, you need to know the story behind it. In 1945, a man by the name of Lloyd Olsen went out on his farm to prepare chickens for the market. Everything was going routinely except for one rooster who kept pecking around longer than usual; even for a bird without a head. As an experienced farmer, Lloyd found this to be odd, but he still went on about his day. The next morning, Lloyd found Mike, “sleeping with his head under his wing.” Amazed by the animal’s determination to live, Olsen found a way to feed him with an eyedropper, but there had to be an explanation for what happened. So, they took Mike to the University of Utah to study the phenomenon. Turns out that Mike’s brain stem was still healthy, allowing him to grow and live for another year and a half.

During those 18 months, Mike was known as, “The Headless Wonder Chicken.” After hiring a manager, the Olsen’s toured nationally with Mike in Los Angeles, Atlantic City, and New York. Mike the miracle grew to be roughly 8 pounds, and was valued to be worth approximately $10,000. The history and fame of Mike The Headless Chicken is still recognized in Time Magazine, Life Magazine, and the Guinness World Records.

The city of Fruita, Colorado has their own way of remembering Lloyd’s old rooster. They’ve done it by embracing their history and hosting Mike The Headless Chicken Festival. This two day event has it all; live music, (last year’s lineup includes The Samples & The Williams Brothers Band) a pancake breakfast, a 5K run, competitive eating, disk golf, a classic car show, and a bunch more. You can also enjoy a professionally judged Poultry Show and witness these beautiful birds on the big stage. Mike The Headless Chicken Festival is gearing up for 2022, so start planning your trip to Fruita now; the event is fantastic for the entire family.

“I was pretty aggressive…Mike the Headless Chicken Festival brings a national name. I went to them saying, ‘ we have people from all over the world coming to the festival; and I can do some really cool things if we can up our sponsorship.’” - Tom Casal (MTHCF)

Catch the interview on Festival Pass Stories! https://festivalpass.com/stories

You can find Mike on:

Mike The Headless Chicken Festival’s Website: https://www.miketheheadlesschicken.org/mike

Mike The Headless Chicken Festival’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/MikeChicken

Mike The Headless Chicken Festival’s Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MikeTHChicken

City of Fruita, Colorado’s Website: https://www.fruita.org

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