The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.


By Virginia Ross, For The Quill

I love fairs-the animals, the exhibits, the people having fun, the carnival atmosphere, the lemon shake-ups, hot dogs on a stick, and all the other things associated with the annual gathering of people to celebrate summer.

This last week, I went to the Des Moines County Fair in West Burlington, Iowa, out by the community college-its free and a fair.

Actually, I wanted to see the photography and how it was displayed (peg boards with hooks with photos attached by metal binder clips), but in going I visited the chickens, rabbits, geese, ducks, cattle, sheep, hogs, goats, and commercial displays-and that was just day one.

The second day the open show photography was to be displayed and I had a free hour in Burlington so back I went to the fair. Yes, I checked on the chickens (my grandsons show chickens at the county fair in Nebraska) and the young man whom I had quizzed about his pair of Bantam chickens the day before had actually won Best of Show.

My hour was not up so I wandered to the Livestock pavilion and saw two classes of the beef show. Like most county fairs, in both classes were kids with unruly calves (luckily the guy that fell was not stomped by his calf and the ringmaster came to his aid).

I thought my days at the fair were over, but on reading the Sunday paper saw that the Cat Show was to be in the afternoon and I'd never seen that at a fair.

How do you conduct a cat show? Off I went to the Southeastern College gymnasium to sit on the bleachers along with parents, friends and grandparents while 4-Hers showed their fluffy projects.

In came parents headed for the sign-up table followed by kids with pet carriers.

Basically, there are two classes with two subdivisions:

Class 1. Kittens (4-12 months, long and short hair)

Class 2. Cats (over 12 months of age, long and short hair).

While waiting for the show to begin, I chatted with Tera's owner. He had gotten his 5 year old cat from the P.A.W.'s shelter in Fort Madison, Iowa, three months ago so he only had that time to ready him for show.

He told me that blue ribbons meant about $6 and trophies would be given for Reserve and Best of Show.

At last 2 pm arrived and the judge, Dr. Tom Hutchcroft from Keokuk, Iowa told the crowd his criteria for judging.

Cats would be scored on

1. Cleanliness,

2. Disposition (otherwise, calmness),

3. Grooming (nails trimmed, no fleas or ear mites plus a brushed, shiny coat), and Individuality (what the judge likes).

This, out of the way, on with the show.

Only one kitten, a 4 month old yellow and white tiger, was entered, so he took the show. In the Cats class,-long hair- 2 competed so blues all were given plus trophies.

It was now time for Tera's class to be judged and he competed with Cutie, Super, and Frisky. He not only won a blue ribbon and one for special merit, but ended up with the "Reserve Best of Show"-good job, Ethan Faeth! The judge praised Ethan for taking in a Cat. Most youngsters will take a kitten, but it's seldom they will take a grown cat, he said.

Actually, the judge said he liked both cats really well, but he felt Lauren Morgan's "Cutie" was "Best of Show".

My compliments go to the judge; he methodically discussed each cat with its owner and the audience. From an onlooker's point of view, I saw a man who truly loved cats as well as kids.

With the end of the Cat Show, my day was not over. Next was the small pet show which consisted of one turtle, 3 Guinea pigs, two beta fish and one gold fish.

Here again, Dr. Hutchcroft rose to the challenge and displayed his love of pets and their owners.-congratulations, Des Moines County for selecting an outstanding judge.

So you see, free entertainment is close at hand.

This weekend the Burlington Southeastern Iowa kennel clubs' All Breed Dog Show will be at Southeastern Community College at West Burlington, Iowa on Friday, Saturday and Sunday; check Hawk Eye for times.