VISALIA, Calif. — Reggie McClain doesn’t really know how he ended up in a chicken chasing competition.
One of six Modesto Nuts representatives in the California League All-Star Game, McClain recalls that one of the general managers of the team said to him, "We might've dropped your name in for something."
It turns out, it was for one of the pre-Home Run Derby skills competitions on the field. But these competitions had a Visalia twist to it—there was the lassoing contest, the traditional Visalia cow milking contest, a lemon tossing contest, and then, the one McClain’s name was dropped for: the chicken chase.
Members of both the North Division and the South Division teams rounded around third base as chickens were set loose and, just as the contest name suggests, chase and catch a chicken.
“Once I heard it was the chicken chase, I was like, ‘Aw, man, this is going to be kind of embarrassing’,” McClain says with a laugh. “But I was just like, ‘Alright, let's roll with it. See how I do with this’.”
He went on to win the contest, earning a Yeti brand tumbler with “CHICKEN CHASE CHAMPION” written on it.
“I know I'm pretty quick but I never chased a chicken before! From the movies, it doesn't look too easy.”
McClain says he doesn’t think he had any advantages or disadvantages when it came to the contest.
“Everyone else was in the same boat as me,” he says. “I think I had more luck on my side than anything.”
When asked what kind of bragging rights comes with being the chicken chase champion, he says he doesn’t know.
“I got quick feet, quick hands, but I'm a pitcher so I really don't need that!” McClain says, again with a laugh. “I got a Yeti out of it, so I guess I get to drink cold water in front of them. It's got the label and everything. I could hang that up.”
Despite how untraditional the skills competition may be, McClain says that the All-Star Game festivities was a good environment to have fun and play baseball.
“Getting to meet a lot of the other players, that's fun, because you play against them all the time and finally getting to meet them. And seeing all the players out here that you hear about and talk about.”
McClain pitched the second inning for the North Division All-Stars, going one inning, giving up two hits and striking out one.
As for final words for fans, McClain says, “Chicken chasing champion says go Mariners.”