Usually, the Jasper County Fair’s Fun Pet Show is held in the big tent, but this year it was moved to the pavilion, further solidifying organizer Laurie Moffitt’s belief that the friendly competition is not only a fun attraction but also a less stressful gateway to introduce kids to the act of animal showing.
“I think this is perfect for kids who are not yet enrolled in 4-H for fourth grade and above,” Moffitt said after the pet show. “So it’s great for the kids that are ages 2-3 and all the way up to like age 10. It gives them an opportunity to come up on stage, show something and then get a ribbon.”
Several ribbons were given out to participants who showcased their faithful companions and also took turns speaking about them. Some even performed tricks to the audience. One dog could jump into its owners arms. Another canine knew the commands “sit,” “lay down” and “high-five” — well, sometimes.
Moffitt has been hosting the fair’s Fun Pet Show for the past seven years or so, and each new iteration brings her joy.
“I just enjoy getting up there onstage and talking to the kids about their animals and just trying to work with kids, too, on using their voice and be able to get onstage and talk,” Moffitt said. “(We’re) introducing them to what it’s like to actually do 4-H and come into a ring and present an animal.”
Like its name suggests the Fun Pet Show has a knack for introducing audiences to uncommon pets. A young participant was more than happy to share her chicken, who was nestled in a basket. The girl after her had what she called “turken,” or what is sometimes called a naked-neck chicken.
A black cat named Midnight was cradled by his owner, barely able to keep its eyes open during judging. Two boys dressed in Santa hats — matching the fair’s theme of “Christmas in July” — showcased their “reindeer,” which looked an awful lot like goats wearing novelty holiday antlers.
Past shows have produced a few other memorable animals.
“I did have a deer — an actual deer that showed up. It was a fawn and it had spots on it. That was probably the most unique thing I’ve seen,” Moffitt said. “We always just see all kinds. It’s just exactly what it’s called: a fun pet show. Its (purpose is) not to single anybody out specifically.
“It’s to have all the kids come and bring whatever they have.”
Contact Christopher Braunschweig at 641-792-3121 ext. 6560 or firstname.lastname@example.org