By DEBBIE WACHTER MORRIS dmorris@ncnewsonline.com

Lawrence County fairgoers saw the best of the best this year watching the grand champion awards in the livestock shows. The market animals were sold at auction Saturday morning at the annual Junior Livestock Association sale in the show arena at the Lawrence County Fair. The proceeds from the sale go to the youths who raise the animals, to put toward their college education or their 4-H or Future Farmers of America projects for next year. Here are some of the top results: Grand champion rabbit The grand champion rabbit, a 3-year-old mini lop-ear named Flower, was shown by Katie Zona, 14, of Wampum. The rabbit is Zona’s pet, but when agitated, “She’s mean,” her owner said. The rabbit tried to nip and scratch her when she attempted to pick it up. Zona is a daughter of John and Jean Zona of Wampum. She is in ninth grade in the Shenango school district and has been raising rabbits since she was 5 or 6 years old. She is a member of the 4-H Blue Ribbon Rabbit Club. Grand champion rabbit meat pen Anthony Vanasco has been raising rabbits for 10 years, so this was not the first time his exhibits claimed a grand champion. Vanasco, 18, of Wampum, had six rabbits at the fair this year. His meat pen of New Zealand white rabbits won the grand champion title and was sold Saturday at the junior livestock auction. Vanasco is a recent graduate of Shenango High School and said he is looking forward to attending Butler County Community College, where he intends to major in psychology. A son of Philip and Cheryl Vanasco, he is a member of the 4-H Blue Ribbon Rabbit Club. Grand champion market steer Weighing in at 1,308 pounds at sale time, Shelby Dean’s grand champion steer and Angus cross is nothing to tangle with. She could barely control him as she took him out of his stall for a photograph. The animal weighed 718 pounds when Dean got him in November to raise, she said. He came from Hidden Springs Farm in Ellwood City, owned by her uncle Bryan Dean, and was about 6 months old at the time. The 11-year-old Dean will be a fifth-grader at Laurel. She is a daughter of Bill and Faith Dean of Hickory Township. She is a member of the 4-H Baby Beef and Porky Pig clubs and the Junior Angus Association, a national organization. Grand champion market hog “I like animals,” Jake Booher, 10, of Scott Township, said, as his reason for raising hogs and other farm animals in 4-H since he was 4 years old. The Scott Township youth won a blue ribbon in showmanship this year for showing his pigs in the 4-H Porky Pig Club, and he walked away with the banner for his grand champion hog, which weighed 244 pounds at sale time. He bought the animal to raise from a 4-H auction in Venango County, which sells club pigs. Booher sold the animal at the Junior Livestock Association Sale Saturday. Local businessman and attorney Mike Wish bought it and the $650 will go toward future livestock projects. Booher also shows Jersey cows and rabbits. Grand champion market goat Paxtyn Lyons said her parents, aunts and uncles have always shown animals, and she wanted to raise something small. Her choice of goat to raise this year was the big winner. Her 83-pound Boer goat won her the grand champion banner. The 10-year-old Enon Valley youth will be in fifth grade this year at Mohawk. She is a two-year member of the Neat Kids 4-H Goat Club. Lyons has had fun raising Oreo, she said, because “he is a nice friendly goat and leads well.” She is a daughter of Kristy Lyons of Enon Valley and John Lyons of New Middletown, Ohio. The goats she showed at the fair were raised at the farm of her grandparents, Evan and Bonnie Ernst of Bessemer. Grand champion market lamb It was no surprise when Justin Martin, an experienced showman of livestock at the fair, took the highest honor with his lamb He showed sheep and pigs this year. Martin, 20, is a son of Blaine and Lori Martin of Volant. The 2005 Wilmington graduate will be a junior at Clarion University, where he is majoring in business. He remains a member of Wilmington’s Future Farmers of America.

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