Things get hopping at county fair

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Rabbits, rodeo open 4-H extravaganza

The 2013 Elbert County Fair is underway, promising more than a week of exciting activities for just about anything with feet, paws or hooves.

The annual nine-day event is considered among the top events for local 4-H organizations, featuring the county’s best in a variety of categories including dogs, sheep, swine, poultry and beef.

Among the largest opening weekend events was the rabbit show, with local expert and rabbit judge Mary Brewer estimating the number of entries between 300 and 400.

But then again, it’s hard to have just one rabbit.

Parent Brian Allen of Elizabeth says the 4-H rabbit program, although time-consuming, has been a good investment.

“It’s really become a family project,” he said. “We’ve traveled to places like Texas and Kentucky for competitions and so it’s kind of become our family vacation time.”

Allen’s daughter, 18-year-old Brianna, says the rabbits have helped her build time and financial management skills she thinks she’ll need as she starts nursing school.

Dierson Bankert, 12, and her younger sister Annika, 9, are showing rabbits for the first time in their 4-H careers. They agree the job takes some time, but the rewards are worth the effort.

Future rodeo heavy-hitters also helped kick off the fair on July 27 with the annual youth rodeo competition, featuring team roping, ribbon roping and goat tying.

Many of the animals shown at the fair will go to the fair’s market auction. There, local farmers and ranchers will bid on prize-winning critters.

“It’s really a great way to support the kids,” said Mage Royston, a 4-H parent. “Many of the kids rely on the money they make from the market to fund their next year in 4-H.”

The fair runs through Aug. 4 with a variety of events and exhibitions each day including an ice cream eating contest, a pet costume competition, bucking horse futurity, live music and a parade.

For more information on the fair or a schedule of events, visit www.elbertcountyfair.com.