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4-H Fair allows kids to show hard work, care for their animals

MORRIS – Daniel Muller fancies a fancy pigeon, and it showed as he took home several awards at the Grundy County 4-H Fair this weekend for his show pigeons.

“My mom started raising pigeons a long time ago,” said Muller, a member of the Mazon Verona Kinsman Community 4-H Club. “My grandpa gave me my first Oriental Frill pigeon.”

While he agrees his Oriental Frill pigeon is pretty, he much prefers a Roller Pigeon, one pigeon he doesn’t have, because of how it can roll during flight.

“Sometimes, cool beats pretty,” he said.

The fair is annually held at the Grundy County Fairgrounds each summer, and it gives kids a chance to show what they’ve learned throughout the year as they compete against others for ribbons, trophies and money.

John Davis, youth development educator with the University of Illinois Extension in Grundy, Will and Kankakee counties, said the competition is good for the kids, as they can measure what they’ve learned against others in the area.

Natalie Bajt, 14, and Katelyn Sisk, 14, with Coal City Community 4-H Club, prefer their horses to the feathered friends in the neighboring barn next to them.

Bajt said she learned a lot competing Saturday with her horse, Jazz, in the halter class.

“I’ve learned they are completely different in the ring here than they are at home,” she said.

Jazz had a mind of his own as she tried to steer it to the judge, she said, as Jazz decided to go in another direction.

Sisk not only showed her horse Coyote, but also showed her goats. But it isn’t just the animals she loves at the fair, it’s the opportunity to make friends from other 4-H clubs, and hang out with friends from her own club.

Twelve-year-old Brayden Payne with Highland Ag 4H group could be found Saturday in the pig barn where he was preparing to show the three pigs he’s raised on a friend’s farm.

“You have to feed them, wash them as they get bigger, and clean out the pens,” he said. “It’s important to keep them looking good, and make them fill out.”

He said the life of a pig is pretty good. They just eat and sleep.

His favorite pig, Chuck, is a Chester Barrow hog with a laid back personality.

“He’s mellow and really tame,” Payne said. “I really love him.”

To get Chuck ready to show, Payne walks him every night and works at teaching him to keep his head up.

Payne also showed his rabbit, which he won Grand Champion Showmanship for.

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