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There were rabbits, poultry and some goats... 4-H’ers enter their animals in separate shows at county fair

July 28, 2017 GMT

The contestants in Thursday’s 4-H rabbit and poultry show at the Lincoln County Fair are learning as they raise their animals.

Jarod Nicholson, 18, of Sutherland has been involved with 4-H for most of his life, and on Thursday he competed in the rabbit and goat shows. On Friday, he’ll be competing in the swine show.

“I grew up on a ranch and I’ve always been around it and this is just what I like to do,” Nicholson said. “I used to show cattle and I like them more because they’re a bigger animal.”

Nicholson graduated in May and is heading off to college in a few weeks.

“I’m going to go to Chadron to get my bachelor’s degree in ag management so I can go back and become a 4-H extension agent,” Nicholson said. “4-H is pretty much all I’ve known. I do 4-H every year and it’s shown me leadership and different values and taking care of animals.”

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Judge Darren Blue of Brady said he looks for knowledge from contestants about their rabbits.

“Mainly we look for class, weight, condition and finish,” Blue said. “We want to make sure the contestant understands what the rabbit is for. There’s commercial breed for meat and there’s fancy breed. We just want to make sure they follow those guidelines when they show them.”

Dana Heinemann, 17, of Imperial said she comes to North Platte every summer to participate in 4-H.

“I like friends getting together and working together with the animals,” Heinemann said. “It’s very fun and we learn new things every year. Our 4-H group meets once a month and we talk about what we’re going to do for the community, the parade, the 4-H fair. We talk about what we can do better and we do projects during

our meeting.”

She competed in rabbits, chickens and goats.

“I’m fascinated by rabbits and my brothers have rabbits, so it’s a family thing,” Heinemann said.

Matt Weideman, 16, of North Platte competed in the poultry show.

“I’ve been doing 4-H for three years now,” Weideman said. “I got interested in 4-H because of the opportunity to show my animals and showing that I have good quality stock and good care of my

animals.”

He said it is also fun just to be at the fair with his friends.

Contestants must share information about the animal they are showing with the judges.

“We talk about where the bird came from; what it should look like, what it should not look like and why; the colors it should or shouldn’t come in to determine if it’s pure,” Weideman said. “You want to go for that perfection of the breed to help further the breed so it remains pure for further generations to keep improving on it.”

Weideman showed a bantam Cochin chicken that was black with a red comb.

“It’s bred for meat and egg production,” Weideman said. “ A lot of people like using them for breeders because they are a very brooding hen. They like to sit on eggs and hatch out lots of babies.”