Overheard at the fair...

Aug 5, 2016 From staff reports

The rush of the fair shows and exhibits had worn down by about 9:30 p.m. Wednesday. The swine were asleep, and some goat and sheep settled into their favorite spots in their designated pens. Other goats were still up and alert, bleating to anyone who passed by.

The duties kids have when they own livestock tend to be an around-the-clock thing.

On one side of the livestock barn, a brother and sister were sweeping the scattered straw, sawdust and manure in the walkway near their goats.

That's one of the "Goat Barn Rules" posted throughout the barn. Rule number one: clean pens daily; Number two: clean walkways (as needed); Number three: fresh water daily and as final advice for the young learners - be ready, be on time.

The little sister got in the way of her older brother. Each had a large broom, and space got tight. They started to bicke, and big brother used his broomstick to push his sister.

"Move over!" he said to his sister, who complained -- and started to fight back. Dad finally came over and told them to settle down.

Suggested new rule: Be nice to your sibling, because there are a lot of those during fair time.

- Alejandra Silva

All kinds of rabbits filled the Fur & Feather Pavilion on Monday morning.

After the other youngsters left their caged critters around 11 a.m., Samantha Hamilton was still cleaning her rabbit, Louie.

"We put him in with the chickens, and they poop on him," the 8-year-old said, pointing to the yellow spots she was trying to clean off of Louie's coat with a rag and spray bottle.

The Hudson girl's family also has dogs, horses and chickens in competition this week. They started showing rabbits four years ago.

Hamilton said rabbits can be difficult to keep up with; she needs to clean the feet and cage nearly every day, along with routine fur cleaning.

For her, that work pays off.

"I like how fluffy they are," she said.

- Daniel Bendtsen

"Sometimes when you cradle her she calms down, but you've got to hold her legs so she doesn't kick," said Emma Hill, of her 2-year-old French angora rabbit, Jessica. Hill, 9, had collected two handfuls of rabbit hair after grooming the animal Tuesday morning.

"Usually a lot more comes off," she said.

She said she usually grooms Jessica once or twice a week, collecting about one "sandwich bag" of fur. Over the course of a month or two, she collects a larger bag of fur, enough that Emma now has a hat and scarf made of it.

She says rabbits can also be vacuumed if they have mites or dandruff.

Emma breeds her rabbits, and says the babies look like piglets.

"They don't have any fur at all," she said. "Their eyes are shut. You can't touch them at all."

Her friend Dani Santee, 8, who raises pigs, said they look more like baby mice. - Andrea Novotny

Beekeeper Arlie Colva had some competition this year -- his daughter, Christina.

The two were the only competitors in the Monday bee show, where Arlie's Italian breed competed against Christina's Caucasians.

Colva admits Christina's the real beekeeper for both colonies now.

"I mostly just supervise," the 80-year-old Arlie said. "I'm getting too old for this."

Still, he's competitive, though he didn't have a prediction about who would come out on top this year.

"It depends on who the judge is," Arlie said. "I might have to bribe him."

- Daniel Bendtsen

Chase Taylor, 14, of Riverton, quickly hosed down her pig, Rocky, before they entered the swine show Wednesday morning. With a brush, Taylor got rid of any dirt or waste. The hose not only helped clean Rocky but also refreshed him.

Taylor sneaked in a drink for Rocky by placing the hose in the corner of his mouth. Rocky quickly drank what he could.

Taylor has three swine total and was introduced to swine care by her father. Her 12-year-old sister Ally shows steers.

Right before the shower ended, Rocky plopped down on the ground for a quick rest before the big show. He may have thought the shower was taking too long too.

"No Rocky, no!" Taylor shouted as she hurried to pick him up by tapping him with her foot.

"Dumb pig, dumb pig," Taylor's mom, Cherrie said with a laugh.

Rocky needed another shower all over again.

Taylor went on to win champion showman in the intermediate class.

- Alejandra Silva

Brook Bray had a tough with her uncooperative sheep during intermediate showmanship Thursday. Her whiteface ewe broke free from her grip during judging and took a turn roaming around the show lawn.

"That sheep wouldn't be fun to show, but she's doing a real good job," said judge Russell Dietz from Shepherd, Mont.

Bray's sheep avoided numerous attempts of capture before finally being wrangled in.

During the competition, Dietz encourage the young contestants to stick with showmanship even on a tough day.

"Even on a bad day, I'd rather be showing sheeping than riding carnival rides," she said.

-Daniel Bendtsen

Fair time comes with a lot of emotions for some competitors each year. Children, pre-teens and teenagers raise pigs, horses, goats, sheep, rabbits, chickens, and steers usually from the time the animal is born only to sell them at the end to buyers who will most likely butcher them for consumption.

Erin VonKrosigk of Riverton finds herself fighting her tears each year when she has to hand over her swine. She's a Shoshoni FFA member and student at Shoshoni High School.

"I cry almost every year when we have to sell them," she said.

This year Dopey is most likely the pig that will sell simply because it's the heaviest in the bunch. She participated in the swine showmanship events this year.

Vonkrosigk is so fond of her stocky friend that she said she often shares her bed with Dopey. New to the Vonkrosigk family this year is a litter of seven piglets who were born on June 22.

VonKrosigk said that when they are home-raised and cared for greatly then the separation moment is even harder to deal with.

"It's really hard not to get attached," she said.

One piglet is blind from one eye. Their eyes are brown and black when they are born and the one piglet has an eye that turned blue with a white spot. VonKrosigk confirmed that it has lost its eye sight and doesn't flinch when she waives her hand in front of that eye.

Regardless, that piglet as well as the others have either already been claimed or will sell at the National Westersn Stock Show in Denver this year. That's a difficult time of the year for VonKrosigk because she'll have to say goodbye to her friends.

- Alejandra Silva

For Phillip Benotti, the new Fremont County reporter for ABC affiliate KTWO, the county fair was a bit of a cultural adjustment.

"I am far from this kind of lifestyle," the California native said after interviewing several contestants.

Benotti moved from the San Francisco Bay area early this summer to replace departing reporter Michael Sevren.

"This is probably the first time I've stepped in cow (poop) before," Benotti said.

-Daniel Bendtsen

Levi Coyle took a break to give his pigs belly rubs after taking 269 pound Thelma and 231 pound Louise for a walk around the empty swine showing ring Tuesday morning.

He walks his pigs every day, not just during the fair.

"(We) walk about, I don't know, a quarter of a mile every day," he said.

Thelma and Louise usually stay close, he said, and he doesn't have to do much in the way of leading the pigs around. "They kind of just roam freely."

-Andrea Novotny

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