Moffat County Fair shows wealth of activity Friday
August 8, 2014
Craig — Friday at the Moffat County Fair featured competitions in the small animals divisions, including poultry such as ducks, turkeys and chickens, rabbits and a guinea pig.
Rabbits led the way with judging starting about 8 a.m., followed by poultry in the afternoon and then the Small Animal Round Robin Showmanship competition.
In the evening, kids ages 5 to 15 competed in the Catch-A-Pig contest, and shortly after the children took their pigs off the arena, bronc riders hit the ground — literally.
Fun was had throughout the entire day.
Betty Ann Duzik volunteered to be one of the poultry superintendents, whose job includes registering all the participants and helping the judges and competitors ensure the show runs smoothly.
"We had about 20 entries, which were down a bit from last year," Duzik said. "I think this reflects the changing nature of the community."
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Poultry Superintendent Catherine Hunter has learned to expect the unexpected on fair days.
"This year, we had a little girl show up with a guinea pig, so we made a special class for her," Hunter said. "She won a first place and Grand Champion ribbon, and I loved watching her eyes light up like a Christmas tree."
Poultry 4-H leader Hannah Coy was excited by another rather unusual entry.
"We had a 4-H duck for the first time in about seven years," Coy said.
The Rouen duck, a hen named Brown, belongs to Cheyenne Gensler, who raised the 1 1/2-year-old duck that she bought as a duckling.
"I love spending time with the animals," Gensler said.
Hanging from Brown's cage is a photo and story reading: "What you learn in 4-H is that you must finish the job and not leave it half done."
Job well done for Brown and Gensler, as the pair took Grand Champion Duck and Reserve Grand Champion in the Poultry Showmanship competitions.
The top place winners from the Dog, Poultry and Rabbit Showmanship competitions tried their hands at showing animals of different species in the Small Animal Round Robin Showmanship competition.
Tory Van Tassel was the voice of the fair. He sat in the announcer's box above the show ring, and from there, he had a bird's-eye view of the competitions and the catastrophes.
"It's usually in the Small Animal Round Robin when something gets away," Van Tassel said. "We've had chickens get away from the show ring and fly under the stands and into the cattle pens. That's when everyone's blood pressure starts to rise."
In the round robin, participants compete for the title of best small animal handler. They have to show a dog, a rabbit and a duck or chicken, and they may have little or no experience with the animal they draw.
Ashleigh Muhme judged how well competitors handled the rabbits. Judge Julie Benefiel scored competitors’ ability to handle a dog, and Shirley Vazquez judged participants’ skills with the poultry.
"I love helping the kids and, since many of them are unfamiliar, educating them a little on the dogs they are handling," Benefiel said.
"I look for confidence," Vazquez said. "I know they are not going to be as familiar with other species as with their own, but I look to see if they are willing to answer my questions."
Winners will be chosen when the scores from the three judges are added up with the highest cumulative scorer winning Grand Champion in the Small Animal Showmanship competition. Results will be announced Saturday evening before the live animal auction. All of the results from this year's fair will be available in a special Fair Results edition of the Craig Daily Press.