GRANTVILLE, Pa. — Competition at the Pennsylvania Farm Show can be tough, so the Molnars from nearby Lebanon County relish their home field advantage.
Gavin and Grant Molnar, 16 and 13, have been showing in Harrisburg since they were each 8 years old, and they don’t seem to be intimidated by the big stage.
That comfort might come from being less than a half hour from their farm. It might be because their parents, Matt and Roxanne, both showed at the Farm Show when they were younger. It might be because the brothers simply love showing and have been doing it for years.
It’s likely a combination of all the above.
Gavin is showing market goats and lambs, while Grant is focused on his rabbit meat pen during this year’s event, which runs Jan. 8-15.
Farm Show brings in competitors from all over the commonwealth, but the Molnar brothers are a well-oiled showing machine. Over the summer, the Molnars travels to jackpot shows with their goats and sheep, and they never miss the Lebanon Area Fair.
Proximity to Harrisburg is certainly convenient. In fact, the Farm Show Complex is a shorter drive than their local fair. Not only can they sleep in their own beds, but they don’t have to worry too much about forgetting crucial supplies at home since it’s just a 20-minute trip down Interstate 81.
For the Molnars, showing is not only a family affair, but also a community affair.
“It’s about a group of us, six families, that go to all these jackpot shows and travel all over together,” Matt said.
And all of those families also show at Farm Show, meeting up before checking in to ensure they have pens together.
Having a group of families who show together means that help is never far away.
“We have certain people that really help us out a ton,” Matt said. “Folks like them are just great to have on your team.”
The Molnars also get help from their breeders, with whom they’ve developed close relationships over the years. This year’s lambs and goats came from Oklahoma, Indiana and Illinois. Grant’s meat pen of rabbits was bred at the Molnars’ farm.
The Molnars know livestock like the back of their hands. The whole family works together to fit their animals, learning over the years what kind of look they like best. Though none of them has had professional training, Matt thinks their fitting is on par with the pros.
“We’re close enough to being competitive with them,” he said.
Rabbits are a new adventure for Grant and the family.
“Let’s be honest, he likes to be different,” Matt said.
“He always liked the rabbits,” Roxanne added. “When we would go to the fair to watch brother, we would always have to go to the rabbits first.”
Grant said he started showing rabbits “for a whim” and enjoyed it enough to stick with it.
Gavin, on the other hand, prefers the bigger livestock.
“Gavin, he just likes showing everything,” Matt said.
Gavin doesn’t really have a favorite species, saying that his favorite is “the one that wins.”
Both Gavin and Grant have good shots at winning this week. Gavin has a lamb that has placed well in jackpot shows, and Grant has won reserve champion meat pen at a past Farm Show.
“We go to play ball,” Matt said.