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Bunnies and virtual birds: Roughrider Days 4-H poultry and rabbit show hops into Stark County

Roughrider Days poultry and rabbit showing brought a decent turn-out for local 4-H kids who competed during the annual contest.

Poultry breeding
In poultry breeding, Richardton-Taylor High School incoming junior Neveah Baranko, left, won reserve champion, while Morgan Aune won grand champion. Aune will attend Dickinson State University in the fall to major in psychology.
Jason O'Day / The Dickinson Press
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DICKINSON — As part of the Roughrider Days Fair, 4-H poultry and rabbit show competitions were held Wednesday morning at the Stark County Fairgrounds. North Dakota State University Extension Agent Kurt Froelich said the poultry competition was conducted virtually this year.

“Because of the avian influenza issue, the North Dakota Board of Animal Health has shut down the state for any poultry excellent exhibitions. They're going to revisit that situation in September,” Froelich said. “It was put to a virtual type show. They had to take and submit pictures of their animals. Then for showmanship, they had to do a video.”

Froelich said despite the virtual switch, he was happy to see several 4-H kids still participating.

“We were in the office contemplating it, playing that hedging game and thinking, how many youth will actually go through this stuff?” he said. “Not all the poultry youth who were signed up took advantage of it. But we actually still had it, so I commend the seven youths that took advantage of it.”

He noted during the pandemic in 2020, they actually didn’t have to do any of the livestock competitions virtually.

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“We were out here, outdoors. Prior to that we were at the Dickinson State University indoor arena in an enclosed space. So we moved out here where people could spread out,” Froelich said.

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It’s not unheard of for the state to shut down these competitions for animal health concerns, Froelich said, noting that several years ago some restrictions were imposed on hog shows due to a swine flu outbreak.

F4A2E499-790C-4AF5-9892-153E843F2C24.jpeg
Rylie Dohrmann with one of her golden laced wyandotte chickens.
Contributed / Rylie Dohrmann

One of the virtual contestants was Rylie Dohrmann, a graduating senior with Dickinson High School’s Class of 2022. She’ll attend NDSU this fall to major in pharmaceutical studies. This was her 10th and final year doing 4-H, and her sixth year showing poultry. In this competition, she entered four golden laced wyandotte chickens. Dohrmann won Reserve Champion in her competition.

“The judge couldn't ask you a question you didn't know. But they also couldn't give you the opportunity to take on a hard question and then be surprised by the answer, I suppose. It was just, ‘What do you know? What do you feel is important to say?’ That's a very different thing,” Dohrmann said.

Rabbit show
Cade and Adley Bohlman with their rabbits.
Jason O'Day / The Dickinson Press

In the rabbit show, Richardton-Taylor seventh grader Cade Bohlman won Grand Champion for his Holandolp rabbit named Chocolate. His sister Adley Bohlman won a green ribbon for breeding. Cade Bohlman explained there’s about a one-month period from a rabbit getting pregnant to the time it gives birth. Adley Bohlman said she loves doing this. She’s excited and confident about getting into the higher level competitions when she gets older.

“I like it because I get to experiment with young rabbits and watch them grow up. And then they’ll be grand champions like his,” Adley Bohlman said.

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Jason O’Day is a University of Iowa graduate, with Bachelor’s Degrees in Journalism and Political Science. Before moving to Dickinson in September of 2021, he was a general news reporter at the Creston News Advertiser in rural southwest Iowa. He was born and raised in Davenport, Iowa. With a passion for the outdoors and his Catholic faith, he’s loving life on the Western Edge.
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