The Grand Forks County livestock building was hopping with activity Saturday as 4-H members showed their rabbits with the sound of roosters crowing, goats bleating and pigs grunting in the background.
Besides the rabbits, Saturday was judging day for swine, beef, dairy, goats, sheep and poultry at the Greater Grand Forks Fair and Exhibition.
Showing rabbits at the fair requires completion of a “bunny book,” or record book detailing information about the animal, said Mercedes Hoverson, 14, Larimore, N.D. Mercedes showed her mini lop-eared rabbit Primrose Saturday. Besides preparing a record book, competitors have to get their rabbit in show shape, Mercedes said. That means they need to be tame.
“You want to hold them so they get used to it and don’t run away,” she said. Rabbits also must be brushed and otherwise prepped before the rabbit show competition
“Having their coat even, clean and their teeth nicely shaped,” she said, adding that if a rabbit’s tooth gets long it’s painful for the animal. “We have these alfalfa bite blocks so they chew on those.” Besides Mercedes, her siblings, Madilynn, Mariah, Max and Marcus entered 4-H projects at the fair.
“I like it because it gives them self-confidence and they learn about many things,” said Mandy Hoverson, the children’s mother. “They learn about animals and they learn about crafts.”
Erik Joerger, 9, learned that calves can be stubborn and sometimes it takes teamwork to get them where you want them to go. With Erik pulling on the leadrope, his brother Adam and his friend Carver Braun pushing from behind, the 4-Her from Mayville, N.D., coaxed Hariat, his 6-week-old Charolais-Angus cross calf, into the washing pen behind the livestock building.
“This is my first year,” Erik said, as he scrubbed Hariat. The answer to why he was washing the calf was obvious.
“Because it’s dirty. The judge wants to see a clean cow,” he said.
At the other end of the livestock building, Leah Mehling, 12, Brockett, N.D., was preparing her duck Daisy viewing by the poultry competition judge.
“They look at their feathers their beak and their feet,” Leah said.
“If you give them a really, really good explanation, you get a grand,” added her friend Anisty Chance, Arvilla, N.D. Anisty, 12, won a grand prize ribbon with her rabbit.
Members of 4-H club also had an opportunity to enter their crafts, plants and food projects which were on display In the neighboring 4-H building.
Outside of the 4-H buildings, on the midway, Crabtree Amusement carnival workers were inspecting rides and putting out stuffed animal prizes while food booth cooks were gearing up to serve fair food that included cotton candy, corn dogs and Hobo tacos.
The Greater Grand Forks Fair continues Sunday with gates opening at noon. A senior day lunch will be served at 11:30 a.m. under the Big Top in front of the grandstand and there will be entertainment by Honky-Tonk Troubadours.