Here comes a chicken

 Dick Micheels tosses a chicken off the roof of a downtown Ridgeland building during the 2019 edition of Pioneer Day. A Dunn County judge’s ruling on Feb. 11 assured that the chicken fly will take place as scheduled at noon this Saturday, Feb. 15, 2020. Photo from News-Shield archives

An attempt by an Edgerton, Wis.-based plaintive to stop the annual Ridgeland Pioneer Day “chicken fly” this Saturday, Feb. 15, 2020, was denied Tuesday afternoon, Feb. 11, in Dunn County Circuit Court.

Judge Rod W. Smeltzer dismissed the injunction request filed Feb. 5 by Farm Bird Sanctuary, Edgerton, against the village of Ridgeland.

Smeltzer refused to grant an emergency injunction Tuesday, and said that the plaintiffs needed to address the issue of whether they have proper standing to legally challenge whether Ridgeland can host the event.

The judge gave the plaintiffs 30 days to resubmit the request, along with a statement of why the plaintiffs feel they have proper standing in the case.

“The judge did ask why (Farm Bird Sanctuary) filed the motion so late,” said Ashley Smith, of the Drunk’n Monkey Bar, which is helping to organize the annual Pioneer Day celebration.

She said Farm Bird Sanctuary had protesters at two previous Pioneer Day events.

“In the past, the bar would get between five and 10 calls a day” from people who were upset with the chicken fly, Smith said Tuesday afternoon. The bar also took down comments online after there were posts from people who opposed the chicken fly.

“But this year, we got only one phone call,” she added.

The plans for the 2020 celebration were moving forward until last week, when the village was served with papers about the injunction.

Smelter’s ruling also included an order that the village would have up to 30 days to respond to Farm Bird Sanctuary’s new filing. Once the village files its information, the plaintiffs will then be given up to 10 days to respond, the judge added, according to court records.

The delayed legal action will allow this Saturday’s 38th annual Pioneer Day to go forward according to plan.

Events include:

• 10:30 a.m., greased pig contest at Eldon Luer Ball Field. Participants need a Pioneer Day button to compete. Contests will take place in the following age/gender brackets: 7-under, 8-10, 11-13, 14-15, and women only.

• 12 noon, chicken fly. No nets will be allowed.

• 1 p.m. Silver dollar treasure hunt for kids under 12, village park.

• 1:30 p.m., horse drawn parade.

• 2:15 p.m., cross-cut saw contest.

• 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., barbecue chicken and pork chops and American Legion Auxiliary bake sale, both at the Ridgeland Community Center.