OK, so I've been pretty absent recently, and you all wondered why, right? Most of my local friends know that from December till February I'm so busy I meet myself coming and going. Christmas in December and Farm Show in January. This year was no different. The final jewel to my yearly Triple Crown is the PaSRBA Rabbit Convention the first weekend of February. What a fantastic weekend it was!
The PA Rabbit Breeder's Convention is a HUGE show employing 31+ judges from all over the country to judge over 6 THOUSAND rabbits and 300+ Cavies per DAY in a huge facility encompassing 2 large exhibit halls and 2 smaller exhibit halls plus the kitchen and center hall. The photo at left is a look down the 28 judging tables of the main hall.
I served as Show Superintendant for the Wool Breed showroom. I can say un-equivically that I had NO idea how much decision making, organization, diplomacy and standing firm there was to the job. I have a whole new respect for any person who volunteers for this important position. My first challenge was to arrange the room to make it more functional for the 500+ wool breed entries expected. Now, in the all breed room this means enough space for carriers and people and maybe a few chairs for people who can't stand 8 hours at a time. In the wool room, this means carriers of rabbits, people, grooming tables, blowers, electrical outlets for those blowers, chairs for all the exhibitors and room for tack boxes and grooming equipment. These things are not accessories to wool breed exhibitors; they are essentials. Of course in the wool room I only had 4 judges and 500 or so rabbits and no vendors as opposed to 6000 rabbits, 28 judges and vendors. Brian Bell has my awe as well as my respect!
Once the room was set up and breeders started coming in, most of the work was done, right? Not even close! There were the 100+ entries of Lionhead rabbits to account for. As a non-recognized breed one doesn't expect such high numbers but there they were and they were certainly welcome. The challenge for the LHs wasn't just the numbers but the fact that the vast majority of LH owners have no ARBA show experience. We want to make these folks welcome and that includes introducing them to everything we do from what sort of carriers are appropriate to where and how to set up their areas to how to write for the judges. Saturday was a bit hectic but they caught on quickly and Sunday was much more efficient. Thanks to Tori Whitehause for her tremendous help on Saturday teaching writters. Thank you to everyone for welcoming these new friends to our ARBA family. I'm really sorry I didn't get photos of some of those winning rabbits. Very pretty!
The decisions and organizing judges, rabbits, equipment, problem issues, unexpected challenges never ends. Are the judges moving along on time? Do the judges have realistic entry numbers to judge? Do we have writters for each of the judges? Are the exhibitors getting to their classes on time? Is this a DQ? Is this one fixable? Where are the youth cards and folders!?! Holy cow, what a job. The General Show Super Brian Bell said it best; "It's fun, but it's a sick sort of fun." oh yeah. At one point, I was trying to show my SA's, super'ing the show AND teaching a new person to write for the judge. I joked with Judge Paul Jourgelonis that if I had my judging license he would be completely superfluous. LOL
The quality of the wool breed rabbits in general was AMAZING! For those who may not know, the ARBA wool breeds include the 4 Angora breeds; English, French, Giant and Satin. American Fuzzy Lops, Jersey Wooley and our guest breed the LionHeads. Not only were the Open shows in our room but the Youth wool breeds showed with us also. I always encourage the youth to show alongside the Open folks because I find both bring out the best in the other. To demonstrate the outstanding quality of our youth wool breeds, Saturday's Youth Best In Show was an English Angora and Sunday's Youth BIS was a Fuzzy Lop! Go wool!!!! Now, who out there said wool breeds are too much for youth to handle? HA!!! Go YOUTH wool! (I just wish I had photos of those rabbits)
In addition to serving as wool room Super, I also had to oversee the Thrianta Specialty Show on Saturday and the PAngora Specialty on Sunday. Now, don't get too impressed yet. I may be pres of those two clubs but the vast bulk of the show work falls on the efficient shoulders of the club secretary Ellen Anderson. Wowza what a job she did with that AND managing the housing coops for the entire show. I don't know how she does it, but I KNOW she does a better job than I every could. Now for some photos of some amazing rabbits from those shows.
Congratulations to Meg Whitehouse for winning Best of Breed and BEST IN SHOW at our first D9 Konijn Von Thrianta Specialty show with her Sr Buck CCR's Wiska (WI)
Thanks also to Gary Michaud for an excellent job judging and teaching us about our delightful little redheads. The second photo was taken of the senior doe lineup (12 entries in that class alone!!!!) There were around 25 entries for each show. That's FANTASTIC for this new and rare breed! A-hem...we just happened to have more entries than the mini satins. I'm just saying... ;)
Now for the PAngora Specialty Show. There were wonderful entries and winners in all of the angora shows. That included the Open Show Saturday, the UARC Specialty Show on Saturday (Dru Shephard won BIS with a REW EA that had every spinner's hands just ITCHING) and the Open show on Sunday. But it was the BOB winners that judge Eric Stewart raved about on Sunday at the PAngora Show that I want to share with you. Now, let me say a special thank you to our judge Cathy Patrick who judge the individual breeds and did a WONDERFUL job. Eric stepped in to judge BIS and Wooler class after Cathy spent a very long day with a TON of rabbits to handle. Thanks Eric. He didn't look unhappy to judge these guys BTW. :)
OK, I was trying to get a better photo of the Sable FA and the EA but I got Eric's hindquarter instead. We decided to name him BIS hindquarter. hehehehehehhe Eric was totally impressed by all the BOB winners and actually stepped aside to suggest that anyone with a camera take photos of these outstanding examples of their breeds. I LOVE. LOVE. LOVE. the Satin Angora. Kathy has done a wonderful job with that rabbits breeding and care. But I have to profess a serious lust for that Sable French Angora bred and owned by Amy Spang. The color is gorgous and the coat is MAGNIFICENT. The texture and density are to die for.
And the winner is....
Best of Breed / BEST IN SHOW
Satin Angora Colored Sr Doe
Bred and Owned by Kathy Kenworthy of PA
Judged by Cathy Patrick D8 District Director and Eric Stewart D9 District Director