Alpacas and Sheep and Rabbits, Oh My, at the Central Wyoming Fair and Rodeo (Gallery)
The Neon Lights and Cowboy Nights at the Central Wyoming Fair and Rodeo this week dazzle the eyes and pump the pulses of fairgoers at the midway, the rodeo, and vendors hawking sunglasses, T-shirts, lemonade, toys and Jesus.
However, little of that glitz penetrates the Fairgrounds' cavernous Arena where hundreds of 4-H and FFA kids show off their livestock in hopes of prizes and big sales during the auction at the end of the week.
Inside, pens hold cattle, chickens, alpacas, turkeys (like we don't have enough already blocking traffic), goats, ducks, and rabbits.
In the rabbit area off the main floor, Brynli Ungricht lifted her Havana rabbit by the scruff of the neck as she was cleaning his cage.
Brynli said this marked the first year she'd ever shown an animal.
She credited her friends for going public with a lifelong passion, she said. "My friends do it and I love working with animals."
Brynli, who will be a junior at Natrona County High Schools said she wanted to be a veterinarian when she was younger, but is now considering a career in cosmetology.
An Alpalca-lypse was happening in the middle of the main floor.
Charlotte Buckner was caring for her two Alpacas five-year-old Penny and four-and-a-half-year-old Acorn.
Charlotte saw her first Alpaca when she was little and wanted one ever since, she said. "It took a few years to convince my parents."
Penny and Acorn came into her life four years ago, she said.
Penny, she added, won a grand champion award for fleece in the dark fleece category. (Charlotte noted that the hair, while it's on the Alpaca, is called fleece. After it is cut off, it is called wool.)
Charlotte lives outside Casper, and her family also has goats, chickens and pigs, she said.
Over in the sheep pens, Sara Trojan was raking the hay in a pen where her daughter Katie kept their sheep Matilda and Lavender.
Sara grew up in Sheridan and participated in 4-H for nine years, she said.
She and her husband now live on an 80-acre "ranchette," as she called it.
They own 10 ewes, and sheep is a secondary hobby to their commercial ranch activities, Sara said.
As Sara explained her family's business, Eight-year-old Katie and her six-year-old sister Abby returned with balloon sculptures from the spindly stilted Charlie the Clown who wanders around the Fairgrounds.
Katie sported her swan-shaped balloon sculpture before she and Abby posed by one of their sheep.
The fair continues through today and Saturday, ending with the PRCA rodeo at 7:30 p.m.