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Pocket Pets among shows for 4-H and FFA kids at MontanaFair

Posted at 6:40 PM, Aug 12, 2022

4-H and FFA kids started showing their animals at MontanaFair Friday night.

Some presented their animals in the pet pocket show, which is not animals in your pocket, but a category for special animals.

When you think of 4-H animals, cows, sheep and goats likely come to mind.

But there are other critters creeping into the 4-H conversation, and one of the girls presented her two geckos and a snake at the Expo Center.

"Whiskey here will be staying in, like, little tank here, because a lot of people are scared," said Keyara Mills-Low. "And he is a little skittish because he's a baby still trying to get used to being held. I will, however, probably be holding my leopard gecko, Fez, because he's very calm and very good with being held."

Mills-Low is showing three animals during the fair's pocket pet show.

One of her friends has a snake in the pocket category that includes all kinds of animals.

"One year, a kid brought bees so those guys go in pocket pet because there is no bee class," Mills-Low said. "One year a kid brought a pot-bellied pig because, I mean, there is pigs, but they don't fit in any of the pig categories."

Keyara has been in 4-H for several years and her guinea pig already won grand champion before this year's MontanaFair.

The difference with pocket pets is it's all about her presentation and not the traits of the animal.

"Honestly, I think it's a lot easier to just do showmanship with these guys," she said. "Because the other animals you do have to do showmanship so you know all about the knowledge you're messing with them and then show they can get very stressed. So it's a little bit difficult."

While the show is different, the responsibility is the same. And so are the lessons learned by these kids.

"You got to make sure that they have food and water so got to make sure that you have like enough time. And remember the fact that yes, you do have animals. You gotta take care of these guys."

One big difference from traditional livestock, Mills-Low will take her animals home at the end of the show.