Young competitors show off rabbits, goats at Westmoreland Fair
Pennsylvania’s Rabbit King held court at the Westmoreland Fair on Sunday morning.
Zach Farlow, 18, of West Newton was awarded the title of this year’s Rabbit King by the Pennsylvania State Rabbit Breeder’s Association, and this week he and his award-winning lagomorphs are at the Westmoreland Fair hoping for more victories.
There are many animal competitions at the fair this week, and they got started Sunday with contests for llamas, horses, goats and rabbits.
Farlow will participate in several contests.
On Sunday morning, the fair held its rabbit showmanship competition, a test of how well owners know their rabbits, and how well they can demonstrate that knowledge.
“If you want to be the best, have a mindset of never stop learning,” Farlow said.
One of his is biggest rivals is one of his closest friends. Hannah Smith, 18, of Smithton is the state champion in rabbit showmanship.
She said her family wanted to raise livestock, but they didn’t have room for large animals. That’s how they started raising rabbits.
Other animal showmanship competitions focus on the animals, but rabbit showmanship is more about the breeder.
“With rabbits, it’s all about your knowledge,” she said, dressed in the white show jacket that competitors wear.
During the summer and fall, she rarely has a free weekend, as her family travels to compete in various fairs and animal shows.
Farlow and Smith are regularly at the same shows and have developed a friendly rivalry.
“We’re good friends, so we help each other, but we’re always at each other’s throats,” Farlow said.
Meanwhile, one building over from rabbit showmanship, another group of young competitors showed off some bigger creatures.
Janee Weyandt, 16, of Derry was named Grand Champion of dairy goat showmanship with Monkey, her short-eared, 5-year-old dairy goat.
Goat showmanship judges competitors based on their knowledge and performance in the ring with their animals.
“My mom back in the ’80s showed goats, and I wanted to show them, so that’s kind of how I get into it,” she said.
She came in second place at last year’s fair, and she said it felt good to take first place this time.
The animal competitions will continue all week at the fair.
On Monday, judges will evaluate pets, poultry, cattle and more goats.
The fair opens to the public 4 p.m. every day through Aug. 26. Admission is $7, which includes parking.
Jacob Tierney is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jacob at 724-836-6646, [email protected] or via Twitter .