Get ready for a lesson about rosettes from a sixth grader.
Two young 4-Hers — a four-year veteran and a 12-year-old newcomer — took time at fair to talk about their blue ribbon small animals.
In her first year in 4-H, Cecilia Graffius earned blue ribbons for her Harlequin rabbit, Reeses, a Lionheart crossbreed with a calico-like coloration indicative of his name.
Sixth-grader Rylee Akin, also from Green and Ham 4-H group (her mother is the leader) has been involved since the second grade, and this year her guinea pig Kettle won Cavy Grand Champion.
Cecilia had seen how much a friend enjoyed raising rabbits, and decided to join 4-H.
“I thought they were very unique and amazing creatures,” she said of rabbits. “I was not expecting what he was doing when I first got him, he was doing things I never thought a rabbit would do.”
She cited Reese’s “chinning” behavior — rubbing his scent to mark territory.
The ribbon and monetary premium to go with it were unexpected — and helpful.
“No, I didn’t know there was things like ribbons, I just thought there was these little things,” Cecelia said, pointing to a participant’s ribbon.
Holding Reeses, she said, “It doesn’t take just love and stuff. It’s big responsibilities. Small animals do cost a lot of money, so you do have to beware of that.”
Rylee also raises rabbits, goats and pigs, and made displays in the Summit Building.
“Its gone pretty good but it’s been tough,” she said Wednesday about the fair. “My rabbit Nemo got a red and he bounced back and got the blue, and my other guinea pig got a red. He didn’t have enough rosettes.”
She explains that rosettes are “hiccup” things, in the fur of some cavy breeds.
“They get it from their parents,” Rylee explained. Not only are the rosettes, whorls resembling cowlicks, desirable, but you get points off if they are not spaced correctly on the shoulders, head, thighs and back. So it is up to the 4-H’er to take care of that.
“You have to be careful whenever you brush them, because of it’s not regular hair, but with the bumpy things,” Rylee said.
“And they had lice a few months ago, which was really bad. Lice take away some of his rosettes,” she added.