Fuji Park's Exhibit Hall resounded with the voices of hundreds of children -- 4-H members who gathered to show off their favorite and finest chickens, rabbits and ducks at the Capital City 4-H Youth Fair Saturday. But in one quiet corner, the cats ruled.
Poised and patient in blue jeans and a white shirt, 11-year-old Lindsey Peterson brought her cats, Snowball and Michael. A Carson Middle School sixth-grader, she had her dark hair drawn neatly back and a pair of wire-rimmed glasses perched on her nose. She fidgeted nervously as she waited for her moment with the judge.
"I brought them last year too, but I'm a little nervous because they can be temperamental. I have to be careful," she said.
Despite her nerves, both behaved admirably for the judge. Michael, a black-and-white short-hair was a true gentleman and Snowball tried to roll into a ball, much as Lindsey had predicted.
"I love being with my cats. It's fun, spending time with them and getting to know them better," she said. "But grooming is a real challenge. They keep themselves pretty clean, but the judge found a little tartar on their teeth - It's hard to get a toothbrush in there."
To the untrained eye, chaos reigned. Judges were calling out for rabbits, present in every size, shape color.
The Carson Bouncing Bunnies 4-H Club served pizza for lunch and the "chicken plop" contest was not to be missed. Squares on a poster board were going for 50 cents apiece and if the chicken "plops" on your square, you win. In the center of the hall, the Bouncing Bunnies were raffling off tables full of prizes.
"The prizes were all donated," said leader Cathy Dinauer with a smile.
She said this year's event drew 50 rabbit owners and 130 rabbits: popular because they're fun, lovable and easy to care for.
"Last year, it was even louder. We had the poultry in here too," Lindsey said. "There were chickens, ducks and geese. "
Neatly ensconced in a barn behind the hall, "the poultry," were caged in neat rows. Four-H leader D.D. Monroe heads up both the poultry and rabbit divisions for Storey County's Comstock Coyotes 4-H club.
"I love doing this. It's my chance to be a kid again," she said. "It's frustrating sometimes and a lot of work. We pay the bills and spend a lot of time taking kids to their competitions. But when my son comes up to me, his eyes all lit up because he's won a ribbon, it's all worth it."
The fair also included numerous home arts categories and dog showmanship, obedience and agility.
An annual event, this competition is a precursor to the state competition, to be held in Winnemucca in September. All Carson City participants winning blue ribbons today qualify for the September event.
Winners of the 4-H Cat Judging
Mchenna Mertz and cat Meg
Tessa Miller and cat Marilyn
Best Short Hair
Gabrielie Desormier and cat Simba
Best Long Hair
Amber Bullis and cat Kelly