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Creepy critters on stage at Berkeley County Youth Fair

August 03, 2009|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. -- Jacqueline Mosser's entry in the critter division of the Small Pet Show at the 62nd Berkeley County Youth Fair would have slept through the exhibition on Monday if given the chance.

Raven, her 3-year-old sugar glider, is a nocturnal marsupial outfitted with membranes that help the flying squirrel-like animal glide from tree to tree in its natural ranges in Australia and Indonesia.

"Not a lot of people have heard of them," said Jacqueline, 15, after receiving the reserve grand champion ribbon for the division.

With two babies in tow, Raven was one of 10 critters in the show.

Mosser did not yet have names for the babies, which are at least 5 weeks old and still clinging to their mother.

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"We're still trying to figure out what their personalities are going to be," Mosser said.

"This is for the kids that can't have the big livestock," said Melissa Curtis, supervisor of the pet show.

There were eight cats in the feline division, among them a 20-pounder.

Tango, the grand champion tabby owned by 17-year-old Dalton Mason, arguably stretched the definition of small pet.

"He's on a diet," Dalton said after he and the 2-year-old feline also netted the reserve grand champion ribbon in the pet costume contest.

Dressed as a lifeguard, the incoming Hedgesville (W.Va.) High senior said the cat was so big that he had to buy a dog-sized beach outfit to match the garb he had from lifeguarding at The Woods Resort.

"He's generally a nice cat, gets nervous around people. He loves water," Dalton said of his pet.

In addition to the cat, Dalton said he also entered one of the 101 pigs that were judged Monday morning at the fair.

Nine-year-old Frank Burner's 257-pound pig, Piggy, was named grand champion market hog and the boy also was recognized for champion-level showmanship in the junior division.

Also judged Monday were 79 rabbits. Judging and showmanship events resume today at 9 a.m., beginning with sheep judging and horse showmanship.

Fair publicist Becky Daniel said this year's fair features more tractor/truck pull events and on Friday, it will host the first flat-track enduro, which is typically an off-road motorcycle race. The enduro on Friday is open to trucks, cars and four-wheel ATVs.

The country band Little Texas is scheduled to perform Wednesday.

The total attendance for the weeklong series of events at Harry D. Shelley Park is expected to be about 30,000, Daniel said.

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