Snails and puppies and kittens... oh my

Portales Kiwanis Club holds annual pet show.


August 26, 2018

PORTALES — On Saturday morning, spectators at the Roosevelt County Fair got to meet Slimy, Larry, Tiny, Gary, Goliath and Bob — each one of them a newly-christened blue ribbon snail, in company with various critters presented by about two dozen children during the Portales Kiwanis Club’s annual Pet Show.

Erika Cooke, 12, of Clovis, said she had a seventh snail named Simon but gave him to her cousins. She and her 10-year-old brother William both participated in the show, which presented an opportunity for kids to show off the animals they keep that you might not find among the livestock otherwise common to a county fair. The siblings also got blue ribbons for their gerbils — in fact, every child got a ribbon for their pets.

“I like big animals to little tiny animals. I like horses, dogs, guinea pigs, snails,” said Cooke, who in recent months found the diminutive gastropods in her mother’s garden, attracted by the herbs growing there. “They really enjoy lettuce... but they enjoy basil a lot, especially fresh basil. I looked it up, and they’re attracted to basil.”

Operating as the show’s master of ceremonies for the second year in a row, Jim Lee said this was the first time he’d seen such mollusks in his 17 years observing the local Kiwanis club’s pet show, which has run in excess of three decades.

“It was very enjoyable, as it always is. The bleachers were almost full of people watching it,” he told The News. “It wasn’t so much a competition as the kids getting to show off their pets. Each of them got a blue ribbon for some specific attribute of his or her pet, like this one has pretty eyes or this one has a fluffy tail.”

Lee said Tony Gennaro created the Kiwanis Pet Show and MC’d it for many years before his passing three years ago. The event continued strong this weekend, said Lee’s wife and fellow Kiwanis Club member.

“This is just community...It was just heavenly,” Rica Lee told The News of the show, which kicked off a full schedule of events Saturday. “But you’re talking to somebody who walked into kitty and puppy heaven.”

Many of the standards were present too, from chihuahas and mixed breeds to “a large champagne lab,” she added.

The club’s president, Paul Lockman, declared the event “a good time, fun for all.”

Jim Lee affirmed the same with one of his deadpan jokes.

“It’s light and fun,” he said. “And somebody put a leash on me, but they didn’t want an old goat.”


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