COLUMBIANA CO. Bleats, hops are the tops

The Columbiana County Fair was a success for at least one area family.
LISBON -- Brushing the spotted rabbit in her lap, 10-year-old Kerrie Welsh was all smiles as she talked about her prize-winning goats and rabbits.
Kerrie and her sister Katie, 11, brought home a number of awards from the Columbiana County Fair.
Kerrie's goat Baxter was the Junior Fair Grand Champion Market Goat. She also placed second for her market rabbits and won Grand Champion Reserve Rabbit Fryer.
Katie's rabbit Happy placed fourth in the mini lop breed competition. Her dairy goat Lucy was the reserve champion doe. She also placed seventh for her market goat Pepper.
"We're very proud of our girls," said their mother, Leanna Welsh, of Lisbon. "They've done well with everything they've taken."
Encouragement: Kerrie said that her cousin, Chezney Clemens, also of Lisbon, encouraged her to show rabbits. Chezney won first place in the mini lop breed this year.
"I was in 4-H, and she wanted to show rabbits with me, so I gave her a rabbit I bred myself," said Chezney, 14. "My friend chose the best one out of the litter, and I gave it to Kerrie because I wanted her to have a good chance at the fair."
Kerrie named her rabbit Gobstopper. "He's my friend," Kerrie said fondly.
She plans to breed Gobstopper this fall.
"I'm going to show them, sell them to my cousin Chezney and give one to my sister. I'm going to sell the rest."
The girls hope to continue showing rabbits through 4-H, and their parents are pleased with the 4-H program.
"4-H is really good for the kids," said their father, Francis Welsh. "It teaches them responsibility by taking care of the animals."
Mrs. Welsh added that 4-H teaches kids "wholesome values -- to look out for one another and support one another."
"There's a lot of competition, but they're still for each other," she added. "They congratulate each other. The kids all help each other. The older kids help the younger ones."

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