MOUNT VERNON — From market fryers to Netherland Dwarfs to miscellaneous “fancy” breeds, Sunday’s Junior Fair Rabbit Show at the Knox County Fairgrounds had something for everybody, and the show tent was packed with spectators.
Judge Terry Fender examined each entry, and took pains to explain to the youthful exhibitors the reasons behind his choice of champion and reserve champion of each breed.
In the market fryer category, for instance, Fender looks at the meat type and body type of each rabbit in the pen of three. He said he wants to see full, round hindquarters and feel firm flesh. He also expects to find uniformity and balance in all three animals in the set.
Amy McElhaney, Lighthouse 4-H Club in Centerburg, had the champion pen of three. Crystal Ferenbaugh, Creative Kids, Howard, showed the reserve champions.
The best of all the rabbits in the show, the grand champion rabbit out of all breeds, was a New Zealand white exhibited by Courtney Strait of the Mount Vernon FFA. She was excited to win Best of Show for the second year in a row, and with a New Zealand white.
Strait, who has been showing rabbits for seven years, said she likes her New Zealand meat rabbits, but said every rabbit out there has a chance to win Best of Show.
“There were some really beautiful rabbits out here today,” she said. “The Californian was a good junior, and you don’t find very many good juniors. It depends on the judge. It depends on your rabbit. It just depends on everything.
To prepare her rabbits for the fair, Strait said about a week ago she brushed them out with rabbit brush, clipped their toenails and “posed them up” to make sure she liked what she saw. Those she liked made the trip to the fair.
Other winners in Sunday’s show include Californian champion Miranda Pruitt and reserve champion Crystal Ferenbaugh; Dutch champion Sierra Williams and Hannah Moreland, reserve; Holland Lop champion, Brittany Shaw and Ashley Rudolph, reserve; Mini Lop champion Clayton Lowe and Judy Watson, reserve.
Mini Rex champion, Jesa Henson and Bernie Douglas, reserve; Netherland dwarfs champion and reserve champion, Andy Rieman; Satin champion and reserve champion, Lacey Brown; fancy other champion Robyn Hochstetler and Billy Martin, reserve; and commercial other, Ashley Rudolph and Ashley Dean, reserve.