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Sunday, October 21, 2012


Grizzly, gators add excitement at fair
 
at the Alachua County Fair on Saturday, Oct. 20, 2012 at the Alachua County Fairgrounds.
Matt Benson/Correspondent

By Hannah O. Brown, Correspondent
from---gainesville.com
Saturday, October 20, 2012
Jumbo corn dogs, adrenaline-inducing rides and local livestock are not the only attractions drawing Alachua County residents to the fair this year. The promise of wild animal encounters is what some fairgoers credit as the fair's headliners.
 

Mazie Foote, left, and Madison Foote, right, show off the goldfish they won at the Alachua County Fair on Saturday, Oct. 20, 2012 at the Alachua County Fairgrounds. (Matt Benson / Correspondent
Six hundred-pound grizzly bear "Tonk" and the "Kachunga and the Alligator" show drew big crowds on a lazy Saturday afternoon — the second day of this year's fair, which runs through Oct. 27 at the Alachua County Fairgrounds on Northeast 39th Avenue.
Bear trainer Dexter Osborn led Tonk around a metal cage holding sugary foods in front of his nose as a reward. The man and his bear performed a series of tricks while Osborn's wife relayed a library of facts about hiking safety, bear anatomy and what to do if you encounter a bear in the wild.
Tonk stands 7 feet tall on his back paws. He raised his arms and lumbered across the enclosure to meet Osborn on the other side. Osborn popped a marshmallow into Tonk's snout with his bare hand. The crowd cheered.
Then he coaxed Tonk onto his muscular back, exposing his belly. Osborn explained that he has taught the massive bear tricks with the sole use of positive reinforcement, a training method that relies on rewarding sought-after behaviors.
The show climaxed with Tonk devouring the contents of an entire liter of Mountain Dew in several seconds. He licked the last drops off his nose after Osborn took the crushed bottle out of Tonk's enormous paws.
read more---
http://www.gainesville.com/article/20121020/ARTICLES/121029967/1109/sports?Title=Grizzly-gators-add-excitement-at-fair

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