CENTRE HALL — Three-year- old Brownie captured the first-place ribbon, but it was her sister, Cocoa, who got all the attention Sunday.
Cocoa the bunny and her owner, Michaela Wallingford, 13, of Spring Mills, greeted children coming into the rabbit and chicken building Sunday afternoon at the Centre County Grange Encampment and Fair.
“They like to be touched so I try to hold them,” said Michaela of the rabbits, which she has raised since they were six-months old.
While Cocoa soaked up the attention from children and parents entering the barn, her sister watched from her cage, nibbling some rabbit food.
Last week, Brownie, a mini rex rabbit, won a first-prize ribbon. Her advantage over fifth-place Cocoa? “I guess it’s because she’s not molting,” Michaela simply said.
Across the fairgrounds, in the beef cow barn, 12-year-old Kurt Hall used a vacuum to blow dirt off his prized steer.
“He’s dirty,” Kurt said of the 1,200-pound animal. “I was going to give him a bath, but it started to storm.”
Kurt’s dedication to taking care of the animal is what helped the steer, Teddy Bear, capture the 2012 grand champion junior beef ribbon.
Kim Hall, Kurt’s mother, said her son only started working with cows two years ago. He has raised prized-winning Teddy Bear for the past year.
“Everyday he’s in the barn,” Hall said of her son.
Hall, whose family has a tent at the fair, said her son found his calling after visiting friends at the cow barn.
“They had him on manure duty,” she joked. “He came back and said he wanted to do it. He just loved it.”
Kurt started by keeping his animals in a friend’s barn. Last year, his parents built him his own. Now, he wants to start his own cattle-raising operation.
“This is his passion,” she said. “We’re so proud.”
Crowds flocked to the animal barns Sunday — a popular spot among children at the Grange Fair — especially after storms sent people scattering for cover.
A large group gathered in the goat barn Sunday evening waiting for the rain to pass. The extra attention was much to the delight of animals, who stood on hind legs and popped their heads out for a scratch.
Matt Carroll can be reached at 231-4631. Follow him on Twitter @Carrollreporter