- Associated Press - Monday, August 1, 2016

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) - Five minutes into a conversation with Hunter Young, he asks the question: “Can I show you what pure evil looks like?”

There’s only one way to answer that - in the affirmative. Seconds later, the evil appears: snow-white fur, beady red eyes, just a few inches long.

“I swear this rabbit is like the son of Diable,” says Hunter, 12, who has raised rabbits throughout his three-year stint in 4-H. “She’s just mean.”

With rabbits, Hunter says, you never know what you’re going to get. Genders, temperament - it’s all up in the air.

This rabbit is named Elizabeth, after Hunter’s stepmother. “We didn’t know it was going to be mean at the beginning,” he explains. “We just thought she was pretty.”

His other rabbits include Wonder Woman, Batman and Winter, after the Marvel Comics character Winter Soldier. Winter is female, but Hunter says they christened her thinking she was otherwise.

“Sometimes you don’t know until the judges tell you that you were wrong, and you get disqualified,” Hunter says.

Hunter and his fellow 4-H’ers spend their afternoons at the Monroe County Fair checking on their animals, hanging out in lawn chairs and insulting each other’s rabbits.

“He didn’t raise his rabbits,” Hunter says, glancing slyly at his friend, Hunter Brown. “Put down that he has zero rabbits.”

Hunter Brown fires back later, “Well, your rabbit is just dumb.”

Dumb, and a reserve grand champion.

Fair week may be fun, but the kids say it takes hard work to get there.

“It takes smarts,” said Hunter Brown, who is also 12. Just a few minutes later, he contradicts himself: “And stupidity.”

He turns over his forearms to reveal several bright red scratches. “That rabbit right there is not a morning rabbit,” he says, pointing to a ball of fur huddled across the barn.

Whether dealing with cranky rabbits or devil spawn, the young 4-H’ers have a lot to do. They watch the animals’ weight, stay on a tight feeding schedule, and harness what Hunter Young calls “the magic of baby wipes” to keep the rabbits’ fur silky soft.

“I think it’s just unique for people to do livestock, and to do something that gets you out of the house, instead of playing video games,” he says.

And if doing livestock leads to another brush with evil? Well, he is willing to take that risk.

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Source: The (Bloomington) Herald-Times, https://bit.ly/2aAwkoT

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Information from: The Herald Times, https://www.heraldtimesonline.com

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