Elodie Frisk shows a turkey at the 4-H Agriculture Expo in Soldotna, Alaska, on Aug. 5, 2022. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Elodie Frisk shows a turkey at the 4-H Agriculture Expo in Soldotna, Alaska, on Aug. 5, 2022. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Animals take the stage at 4-H expo

Contestants were judged on the quality of the animal or showmanship of the handler

Prize-winning poultry, pigs, rabbits, cows and goats were on display during animal shows on the first day of the 4-H Agriculture Expo in Soldotna. Starting at 9 a.m., contestants entered a large closed space to be judged on either quality of the animal or showmanship of the handler.

Shows began with the small animals, gradually moving up to the largest. Rabbits went first, followed by the poultry — chickens, turkeys, and even a couple of ducks — then the pigs, goats and cows.

Levi Rankin was named grand champion for his showmanship of a turkey. He explained that showmanship is much more about the qualities of the showman than the animal being shown. “They’re judging every single second,” he said. Judges watch how the animal is taken from the cage and led to the arena, how they are held and how they are shown. Rankin attributes his success to years of experience and guidance from his three older siblings.

The poultry shows were quiet affairs, the birds sitting with their owners as the judges proceeded around the arena. The pig shows were much more raucous. The pigs had to be corralled from their pens to the arena, then trotted in circles while judges appraised them. Fights broke out every few seconds, as the pigs bit at the competition. Show staff often had to quickly intervene by placing hand-held walls between the animals.

Aside from the main event, animals could be viewed around the sports complex ice rink alongside some other booths. Food trucks were available in the parking lot. Classes and workshops were held in classrooms next to the ice rink, far removed from the action.

The 4-H agriculture expo will continue throughout the weekend with an animal auction Saturday morning and a horse show and dog tricks on Sunday.

Levi Rankin shows a turkey at the 4-H Agriculture Expo in Soldotna, Alaska, on Aug. 5, 2022. Rankin was named Grand Champion in showmanship for this turkey showing. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Levi Rankin shows a turkey at the 4-H Agriculture Expo in Soldotna, Alaska, on Aug. 5, 2022. Rankin was named Grand Champion in showmanship for this turkey showing. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Levi Rankin shows a turkey to a judge at the 4-H Agriculture Expo in Soldotna, Alaska, on Aug. 5, 2022. Rankin was named Grand Champion in showmanship for this turkey showing. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Levi Rankin shows a turkey to a judge at the 4-H Agriculture Expo in Soldotna, Alaska, on Aug. 5, 2022. Rankin was named Grand Champion in showmanship for this turkey showing. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Pigs enter the arena to be shown at the 4-H Agriculture Expo in Soldotna, Alaska, on Aug. 5, 2022 (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Pigs enter the arena to be shown at the 4-H Agriculture Expo in Soldotna, Alaska, on Aug. 5, 2022 (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Abriella Werner shows a pig alongside another contestant at the 4-H Agriculture Expo in Soldotna, Alaska, on Aug. 5, 2022

Abriella Werner shows a pig alongside another contestant at the 4-H Agriculture Expo in Soldotna, Alaska, on Aug. 5, 2022

Attendees look on the arena where animals are being shown at the 4-H Agriculture Expo in Soldotna, Alaska, on Aug. 5, 2022. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Attendees look on the arena where animals are being shown at the 4-H Agriculture Expo in Soldotna, Alaska, on Aug. 5, 2022. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Award-winning rabbits on display at the 4-H Agriculture Expo in Soldotna, Alaska, on Aug. 5, 2022. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Award-winning rabbits on display at the 4-H Agriculture Expo in Soldotna, Alaska, on Aug. 5, 2022. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Turkeys on display at the 4-H Agriculture Expo in Soldotna, Alaska, on Aug. 5, 2022. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Turkeys on display at the 4-H Agriculture Expo in Soldotna, Alaska, on Aug. 5, 2022. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

A goat waits to be shown at the 4-H Agriculture Expo in Soldotna, Alaska, on Aug. 5, 2022. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

A goat waits to be shown at the 4-H Agriculture Expo in Soldotna, Alaska, on Aug. 5, 2022. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Rayna Reynolds tends to her cow at the 4-H Agriculture Expo in Soldotna, Alaska, on Aug. 5, 2022. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Rayna Reynolds tends to her cow at the 4-H Agriculture Expo in Soldotna, Alaska, on Aug. 5, 2022. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

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