MERCEDES — Zachary Gray spent much of his time yesterday with his rabbits.
The Vela Middle School 12-year-old was ready for all the judging in the north barn at the Rio Grande Valley Livestock Show.
After working with them for a month, Gray received a payoff, a first in his class. But although he moved on to the championship for the breed of pen market rabbits, the closest to victory he came was his bunnies were in the cage next to the two top winners.
However, he was pleased with his results and will be part of the rabbit competition again next year. One change, he will study more for the showmanship competition.
For Zachary, the hogs are his favorite and he is ready.
There’s a difference between working the pigs and working the rabbits.
Zachary said pigs require daily walking and proper feeding, something that can be difficult with a lot of homework. Rabbits require more grooming and handling to ensure they are docile and tame for the meat and showmanship judging.
However, although the rabbit judging is done, Gray’s show experience at the 77th annual Livestock Show is far from over. He is looking forward to the remainder of the annual event.
Just hours after talking about his rabbits, Zachary was preparing for the pig scramble, where baby pigs are greased and contestants try to catch them and put them in a pen located in the center of the barn.
He’s also looking forward to having some time to himself to have fun away from the animals. Zachary wants to have some fun at the carnival before he heads back to work in the barns.
The market show is coming up along with the sale of champions, in which Zachary will participate. Then, there’s the talent auctions in which some of his top entries will be sold.
Zachary isn’t just a talented livestock contestant, he also received the top prize for one of his photographs and will sell his shop projects at the auction.
With the rabbit competition in the books, Zachary still has plenty on his mind and now it’s time to focus elsewhere.