Yorkshire Photographer, Jonathan Pow

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Life as a Features Photographer – 25th World Championship Hen Racing in Derbyshire

I must admit, I do like the strange and eclectic (those who know me, would tend to agree, and also as evidenced by my music collection) and sometimes my job, quite luckily, takes me straight to it.

Although, when I found out about the 25th World Championship Hen Racing, even I thought that it might be a bit of a fowl joke.

But no, I couldn’t be more wrong!


I ventured out to a leafy little village in Derbyshire, called Bonsall, along with Pooja (my wifey), Jess (Pooja’s friend, and how we found out about this curious event), Jon (a stranger who seemed to know much too much about chickens), and Sam (the hitchhiking snail).

There, at a quaint little pub, called the Barley Mow, we found the quintessentially British spirit, as crowds of people gathered from near and far, to stand in the mud and pouring rain to watch an odd bunch of (rather confused) hens wandering along a track to win an extremely popular and serious race for the 25th Annual World Championship Hen Racing.

It was a tricky business to even catch a glimpse of the races due to the sheer numbers of people, dogs and chickens gathered for this epic event.

However, I managed to sneak through the crowds (most of the time requiring me to be on my knees, or my bum, in the mud) to get some pretty spectacularly weird shots.

Each race lasted 3 minutes (which seemed like an eternity in the dampness, whilst the hens pecked their way randomly around the track, flew off, or turned around and headed the wrong way), with 8 heats, 4 semi-finals and photo finish final!

There was an appearance by the mystical ‘Henmaster’ and his sidekick in a stunningly impressive suit.

The cup and glory were taken by Road Runner, and he also won the prize of surviving the chicken shack!

As his owner, was too young to enjoy the celebratory champagne, a Formula One moment was had by all (including me and my camera!).

You can see this feature in The Times, The Daily Telegraph, and The Mail Online.

I am now based in the North West (in North Manchester), to cover news, features and events, as well as commercial and PR photography.

If you have any information about similar events, or any news features, or just need a photographer, call me on +44 (0) 7901 617571 or send me an email, to jp@jonathanpow.com

Better be off – need to find a prized chicken to start training for next year’s event!

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