Kids showcase their pets at County Fair 4-H shows

Jackson Day photo

Kayleen Harris shows her cat’s teeth during the Converse County Fair 4-H Cat Show. As cats aren’t all that great at being obedient or doing tricks, the cat show spends more time looking at the cats’ physical conditions. See our coverage of the Converse County Fair week no. 1 inside on pages A-9 through A-12.

Jackson Day photos

Gus Stoltenberg walks with his dog during the Intermediate Showmanship event of the Converse County Fair Dog Show. As competitors are showing their dogs, and not themselves, they always stay on the opposite side of their dog than the judge so as to allow a clear view of their pet. 

Jackson Day


Youth from across the county put their pets on display at the 4-H dog and cat shows, the opening events of the Converse County Fair July 15. 

In the dog show, Laura Stolenberg won Best in Show, Lauryn Vollman won Overall Rally, Josilyn Price won High in Trial and Gus Stoltenberg won Overall Agility. 

In the cat show, Kayleen Harris took first in Senior Cat Showmanship and won Best in Show, Jubal Harris took first in Intermediate Cat Showmanship and Brodie Burchfield took first in Junior Cat Showmanship. 

While participants prepared for the two events in wildly different manners, both shows primarily focused on the bond between the kids and their animals.

“It’s a bond between the dog and the child. That’s all this is, just the bond,” dog show judge Michelle Castelein said. 

Castelein has judged dog shows in 20 of Wyoming’s 23 counties so far this year.

“If you come and watch it, it can get really boring. So don’t watch the show, watch the kid with the dog. See how throughout the day they get better and how they communicate with their dog.”

A similar sentiment was shared by the cat show’s judge, Becky Moody. 

“I’m looking to see how the kid interacts with their cat, what they know about cats in general, as well as their own cat, and then what they know about the care of their animal,” Moody said. 

“Due to the nature of cats, cats tend to shut down a little bit when they come to a new, strange environment. So a lot of times, they’ll either gravitate towards their owner or they will try to just run off. Sometimes you can’t tell (how strong the bond is), but once a few minutes pass, usually they’re pretty calmed down. Then you can tell if they have a good relationship or not.”

The two shows also host very different events. One show prioritizes a dog’s exact obedience while the other marvels over a cat’s mere existence. 

“There’s agility, confirmation, showmanship and obedience,” dog show competitor Gus Stoltenberg said, before going into the nitty-gritty of dog shows.

“Showmanship is just showing your dog to the judge. Obedience is like sit, stay and all that. Agility is tracking obstacles. Confirmation is like showmanship, except showmanship is by age and confirmation’s by breed.”

“It’s about cats – and that’s about it,” cat show competitor Kayleen Harris said, in stark contrast to Gus’s in depth explanation. 

“It’s a lot of fun silliness."


*See the July 19 online or print edition of the Glenrock Independent for four pages of stories and photos from week one of the Converse County Fair.


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