Thursday, August 19, 2004
Heavy rains left the Routt County Fairgrounds wet and sloppy Thursday, providing an appropriate contrast to the primping that went on in the dry confines of Exhibition Hall.
Expanding on a contest held at last year's fair, 4-H junior leaders introduced the first "Dress Your Animal" competition, in which children 13 and younger picked a costume theme for themselves and their favorite animals.
A prelude to Halloween, the good-natured contest attracted about 10 entries -- much to the delight of a camera-toting crowd of more than 100 spectators.
The contest's big winner: 7-year-old Belle Horn of McCoy, who dressed as the legendary American Indian Pocahontas. Her bull, Moonshine, was dressed as another American Indian, Chief Yarmony.
Horn and Moonshine were named grand champions as well as winners of the 7-and-under age division contest.
The winner of the older age bracket was Jaelyn Whaley, 8, who donned a light blue poodle skirt and made a matching one for Sassy, her grandmother's puppy.
"It was fun," Whaley said. "But hopefully next year I'll have my own dog."
Abbey Horn, Belle's older sister, finished second in the older age division. Abbey and her heifer, Holly, dressed in tropical attire.
"It's fun," Abbey said before the contest. "There's no theme, so you get to choose whatever you want."
It appeared Holly wasn't too thrilled with the choice of costume -- she continually thrust her head back and forth, knocking a straw hat off her head.
Nine-year-old Justin Kvols let a movie be his costume inspiration.
"One night we saw a Western and my dad said it would be fun to dress the dog up," Kvols said. "I came up with the idea of an Indian."
Kvols came dressed as a young American Indian brave, while his dog, Jake, served as his loyal paint horse.
One of the youngest competitors was 4-year-old Kacie Babcock, who dressed as a butterfly complete with attached wings. Her dog, Cheyenne, was a bee, and even had a striped coat to match. Kacie's dad said the idea came from Muhammad Ali's famous "float like a butterfly, sting like a bee" quote.
Contestants were judged on criteria that included general appearance, grooming, coordination of outfits, control of the animal and overall effect.
Thursday's Dress Your Animal contest followed in the footsteps of a similar contest held last year for rabbits and poultry animals. This year's event allowed competitors to enter with dogs, rabbits, poultry animals, cows, llamas, goats and swine.
"They wanted to add some more fun activities for the kids," 4-H youth agent Jay Whaley said. "It's just for fun."
4-H junior leader Florie Van Baak said the contest placed more emphasis on fun and less emphasis on procedure, providing a relaxed alternative from other fair competitions.
"It turned out to be a really fun event," she said. "I think it will grow every year."
Circle K Ranch donated prizes for the winners.
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