Mr. Jimmy

19 05 2014

This is the story of my 2013 National Dutch Show BOS win, as submitted for the Dutch Reporter.

Mr. Jimmy first attracted attention last October by being found one morning with his head stuck in the hole cut for a J-feeder at our state show in Hutchinson.  Even before he was old enough to be competitive he was determined to make people talk about him.  Some quick-thinking friends cut him out and he shook it off and went on.  All along the way, this buck’s story has been one of friendship and teamwork and it was very special to be able to celebrate his win with some of the many people who had a hand in his success.

I normally stop breeding in late May thanks to our often-brutal summers.  2013 was mild so I took a gamble and bred for a blue litter in August.  The sire was a buck named Stroke of Midnight whom I raised as a partnership with Jessie Showalter of Oklahoma.  We’d bred Jessie’s blue doe Sophie to my blue herdsire Midnight Rambler one spring and the first litter was quite a success.  Jessie kept the pick who won a Best in Show for her, and a pair I took from the cross both placed in the top 10 at the 2009 Convention.  I had planned to keep one, but sold them both when we decided to try again.  Sophie came to my house during the winter of 2009 and kindled another Midnight litter on New Year’s Eve.  Again I’d planned to keep one, but friends came calling and I eventually sold the buck and doe I’d kept.  The buck, Stroke of Midnight, went to Anthony Campbell in Arizona.  He had some marking flaws but had both a smooth, deep body and a very masculine head and bone, a combination that isn’t easy to put on a single rabbit.  When Anthony downsized in 2012 he offered him back and I said, “yes!” in a heartbeat!

The dam was another rabbit who took a long route to my barn.  Siren was raised by Gene Knieling, a daughter of his buck Satisfaction who was BOSV at the 2010 NDS, and went back to a blue buck from my lines, a Midnight son who had produced very well for him.  She placed 2nd at the 2011 NDS to my eventual BOV winner Merry (that love-her-or-hate-her doe who I think is the best I’ve raised but who was accused of everything from being “too deep” to “satinized”) and was purchased by Sara Amelse of Wisconsin.  Sara later got out of Dutch and sent Siren to me.

That August litter gave me some up-and-coming juniors for the late fall/early winter shows and “Mr. Jimmy,” named for a character in a Stones song, took off with a BOB win at a big show in Iowa on Thanksgiving weekend and a sweep of the Missouri State Dutch shows in early December.  He continued to mature and started off the spring show season with a RIS win at a Kansas show in February, just a few days after turning senior.

RIS win in Abilene

RIS win in Abilene

It wasn’t long after that the rabbit world was saddened by the cancer diagnosis of Dee Ann Burkhalter.  “Wade’s Mom,” as she’s known, is a wonderfully kind and generous woman who I’d known since my days as a youth breeder.  One afternoon I received a text from Randy Shumaker saying he was working to put together a benefit auction to help offset her medical expenses and asking if I would donate a rabbit.  He listed breeders from whom he’d secured donations and the names made my jaw drop: these were the best of the best, many were Convention BIS winners and all were hugely influential breeders.  Despite a feeling of, “I’m not worthy!”  I said, “yes” in an instant, then in a few moments settled on this buck.  He was a package deal: a flashy show rabbit, he had herd buck potential and a pedigree full of consistent winners.  I hoped he’d make for an attractive item!

In the weeks between the commitment and the beginning of the auction, Jimmy got better and better.  He took BIS in one show and Best 4 Class in the other at a double show in Iowa with a large Dutch entry and began to attract attention.  As thrilled as I was by the wins, I was even more excited that this would increase his value.

A little more filled out, after his wins in Grinnell

A little more filled out, after his wins in Grinnell

I wondered who would purchase him and hoped it would be someone who would use and appreciate him.  Meanwhile, I started breeding him to most every black or blue doe in the barn.  Does bred to him palpated positive, and I entered him at NDS.

His auction photos, this was a trick since he never liked to sit still!

His auction photos, this was a trick since he never liked to sit still!

As it turned out, my good friend Lisa Wittrock won him for a generous donation of $1150.  Dakotah Gould put in the last bid by proxy since Lisa wasn’t near a computer when the auction ended.  I was thrilled with how much he’d raised, and that he was going to the kind of person I’d hoped would win him.

The spring weather started its ups and downs but he held his coat and like most of my bucks, started to hit his peak at 8 months.  I spent a week on a judging trip in Malaysia just before NDS so all care and conditioning was left to my mom.  She raises Mini Rex, feeds for me regularly, and always follows instructions, but it’s still not the same as being there myself.  His first litters were born while I was overseas and I was happy to see several marked babies in each box.  I returned to find out he’d started to get a little “bucky,” and stained his coat, but I was able to clean him up.  He was slick and solid as we packed up Thursday morning with high hopes.  Lisa finally got to see her new purchase early Friday morning and much to my relief, loved him.

Among other things, rabbits are a competitive outlet for me, so I can’t stay away from the judging table.  Some hate the anticipation but it’s my favorite part, especially at a National show.   As much as I love judging, I’m a breeder first.  Lisa and I watched the class and were excited when he won.  I thought he had a good shot at variety, but after that I knew the competition from Val’s black buck and Kristy’s gray would be tough.  Kristy’s buck “Rusty,” had beaten him the night before in the Champion of Champions fun class.  As part of the show committee, I was the one to open the ballots for BOS, and although I knew, it didn’t really sink in until the announcements were made.  Reaching this goal was thrilling, but celebrating with friends who were nearly as excited as myself was the best part!   (I don’t have rights to the BOS photo, but you can see it at the bottom of the page here)

On Sunday morning he was Lisa’s rabbit.  It was a little hard to say goodbye, but with litters in the box and his parents bred again, I feel confident that I can keep his best traits in the barn.

Secure and ready to go to his new home in Washington

Ready to go to his new home in Washington

This is the second year in a row that my partnership with Gene Knieling has resulted in a big win.  We show the torts together, but our black and blue herds are also so closely intertwined that a win for one is a win for both.  Gene’s influence has been there since the beginning of this herd in 2006 after losing all but two of my original herd in a barn fire.  The black buck I was able to save, Bing, was sired by a buck Gene owned.  Bing is behind every National or Best in Show winner I’ve raised since, usually more than once.  A blue grandson, Storm, went to Gene as his herd buck and is behind many of his winners including the 2013 NDS BOB.  Although we only see each other’s rabbits and trade at National shows, we speak the same language when it comes to Dutch and can come up with the missing pieces each other needs along with affirming decisions to keep or cull in the meantime.  I’m very independent and decisive, but it’s very difficult to isolate oneself in this hobby and become or remain competitive.  Working with Gene has definitely pushed me forward and I’m grateful for that and our friendship.

I’m also grateful to the Showalter family for the breeding that resulted in Jimmy’s sire.  I met them when Jessie was just little, and they are some of the kindest, most genuine and appreciative people in the hobby.  We’ve traded back and forth for a few years now and have even remained friends through several seasons of K-State and OSU games!

And finally, thank you to Lisa for her generous donation to Dee Ann.  I don’t know that any rabbit is worth that much, but it has been heartwarming to see the rabbit world come together to support one of their own, and it was very touching to be able to help raise that kind of support.

As I write this, Jimmy’s first two litters are just bouncing out of the box.  There are beautifully marked babies in both.  Six more are opening their eyes, and three more are due in during the coming weeks. Hopefully he’ll have many offspring from Kansas and Washington in Fort Worth. My fingers are crossed that this is just the beginning of his story!




13 06 2011

This year’s National Dutch Show in Manitowoc, Wisconsin was a very memorable one.  For starters, it was the first NDS I’ve gone to by myself.  Yes, I go to Convention by myself more often than not and despise the gasps of horror I get, “You’re going by yourSELF?”  I don’t really know why this bothers people.  Anyway, I have always enjoyed the companionship and nonstop Dutch talk on the way to NDS, so it was a little lonely this year.  And a long trip!

I only entered 5, two black bucks (senior and baby junior) and three blue senior does.  I arrived at around 7 and got everyone cooped up, then volunteered to stay late and keep the building open for some friends who arrived.  Then, after being up for nearly 24 hours, I crashed!

Friday was relaxed and fun, as friends trickled in and everyone pulled out their sale rabbits and hopefuls.  I had already shown my seller’s class doe several times and was hoping she’d bring in a decent price.  Merry also came out for a few viewings, as she’s been doing very well this spring, several friends were interested to see her.  I have always liked her a lot, as she’s my own I nitpick at her, but I did think she had a good shot at winning the class.  Others saw more in her than I did, and I was both surprised and humbled when Rick and Scott, two breeders I look up to, told me that she was their pick for Best of Breed.  The momentum picked up and made it very difficult to sleep Friday night!

Saturday morning came, and I’d promised to do Twitter updates on class winners.  Reception in the building was shaky at best, but it worked fairly well through the morning.  Once the afternoon clouds rolled in, nothing was going out.  I tried! 

The black classes started off well, and I was proud that my senior buck placed 4/48.  He was sold to Bob, who sold me my first Dutch 20 years ago!  Next was the blue senior doe class, which was the main event for me.  I have always believed that winning the class is the hardest part.  Merry quickly went to the back along with another doe.  All of mine remained until the placings.  The seller’s class doe, Skydiver, placed 14/34.  I wished she’d gone a little higher, but wasn’t going to complain.  Both Merry and Caroline were in the top 10!  Caroline placed 6th. Gene was with me and we realized his doe was in the top 5 also.  She sat in the first place coop with Merry in the second.  They were the last two, and Gene and I stood watching stonefaced.  After a lot of nerve wracking back-and-forth, his doe’s tattoo was read for second place.  He, Sara and I hugged and celebrated.  At a national, all 24 class winners are brought up and variety and breed judging is done by all participating judges.  So she was up for the final round!

After this I was able to relax a bit and we even went out for lunch.  The day took a somber turn when we were notified that our friend, Missouri Dutch breeder Gary Clark, had passed away after complications from surgery to remove a brain tumor.  Gary was supposed to be at NDS with us.  The KS/MO group had traveled to a number of shows together over the years, and Gary was always a calm presence in the middle of the chaos of organizing and packing the van.  He truly enjoyed showing his blues and just being among the other Dutch breeders, the competition seemed to him to be icing on the cake.  I never heard him say an unkind word about anyone, or about anyone’s judging.  He could often be found lending a hand wherever one was needed.  I was often the only girl on the trip, and he was especially gentlemanly toward me.  I remember many times coming out of a gas station or restaurant during a stop and finding Gary on the sidewalk, gazing at the sky and waiting to walk me back to the van.  When it was time to unload carriers, he normally had them waiting for me before I had a chance to make it back to the van.  Gary was a wonderful, kind man and gone much too quickly. 

As the class judging wound down, excitement built for breed and variety judging.  When you have one on the table, time slows to a crawl!  I sat at one end and watched with Gene and a few other friends, and finally, after examining and conversing, the judges announced their variety winners.  Merry was announced as Best Senior, and then Best of Variety! 

After the variety winners were announced, the judges filled out their ballots for BOB.  I was close enough to be able to watch them write.  Even though a friend was signaling “you won!” from across the table, I’d seen “Black” go at the top of three of the ballots.  She’s a lovely doe, very well balanced in markings and type and very deserving of the win.  I’d actually judged her two weeks before in Reno and she was my Best of Breed.

I think some of the people cheering her on expected me to be disappointed, which I wasn’t.  If this is somehow a tragedy, I’ve been through much worse.  It was only 5 years ago at NDS that I took home some of the first rabbits to build this herd, and it’s still a work in progress.  As it always will be. 

Merry wasn’t done, after BOB the fur classes were judged.  I knew she’d be tough to beat here as she was still holding onto a prime coat.  She won, and I later found out that second place was a blue buck out of a rabbit I sold last year, who happened to be Merry’s nephew!

Next was the Seller’s Class.  I knew several people were planning to bid on Skydiver, the bred blue doe I’d entered.  She exceeded all expectations and broke the record for the highest price ever…$520!!  She couldn’t have gone to nicer people, and I hear she did have a litter for them!

All in all, it couldn’t have been a better show.  Besides the showing itself, it was great to see old friends and to get better acquainted with new ones.  And now, the Convention litter watch begins!

Merry is now retired from the show table, and caring for her first litter.  Despite the bald patches, she STILL has her famous coat! 

Merry…Valentine’s Day??

14 02 2011

Yesterday was the Smoky Hills RBA double show in Abilene, aka the first all-breed show of the year.  A few of our regular attendees were missing due to snowfall in Kansas and Oklahoma.  It took me a little longer than usual to load up, instead of being able to put the carriers on the cart or at least just carry them normally, I had to carry them one-by-one, high-stepping through 6 inches of snow that had melted just enough the day before to have formed a nice new crust on top.  I wasn’t really joking when I said I should’ve bought a sled to pull them to the car!

The show was very nice, though.  I’d missed it for the last couple of years for various reasons (judging, wedding) and had forgotten that the showroom was warm, so quickly shed my long underwear.  Since I was off-duty and just an exhibitor, I had a great morning helping to ramrod Allen’s table.  I don’t get to see him nearly often enough, so it was nice to catch up between classes.  Just after lunch, Dutch were judged in the A show.  I was excited, since they were looking very good, and Randy agreed.  He chose my blue SD Merry for BOB (and was very complimentary of her) and black SB Start Me Up for BOS, giving him a senior leg.  SMU had a great show career for three months last year, then turned into a slob, so is just returning to the show tables after molting out his sticky coat.  I put a wire wall an inch in front of his cage divider, thwarting his plans to spray the divider and then rub in it.  Now, he sprays the divider and rubs himself on the wire, handily removing any loose fur.  Ha, ha!

Shortly after Dutch were judged, open BIS was called on Randy’s table.  As he was picking BIS he said it was an easy pick, and that “the Best in Show is a rabbit who took my breath away the first time I touched it, and that doesn’t happen very often.”  He then announced that Best in Show was…the Dutch!  I was very proud, she is probably the best doe I have raised.

GC Briony's Merry, BIS SHRBA Show A

Shortly thereafter, Dutch were judged in the B show.  This time, BOB was won by my other blue SD, Caroline.  Start Me Up again took BOS.  I was a little surprised by this, but she did earn her senior leg.  I was worried that I’d have to pull Merry from a show for this to happen, fortunately I didn’t.   Caroline is a beautiful doe with her share of wins, but was just born at the wrong time to have much of the spotlight to herself.

In the B show, Allen picked Best in Show.  Caroline did get a second look, and I was very pleased when she was chosen 2nd Runner Up in Show!

GC Briony's Caroline, 2nd RIS, SHRBA Show B

Overall, it was a great day.  The rabbits did well and I was able to spend time helping with the show and just hanging out with friends.  As much as I like to judge, I really do enjoy days when I’m just an exhibitor and can focus on my own rabbits and having fun!  I did take some of my mom’s Mini Rex to show, and she earned a 2nd leg on her Chin buck, so hopefully will have a GC Chin Mini Rex very soon!  I also sold two nice rabbits to a new youth breeder, and another youth breeder-to-be ordered a trio of blues.  Dutch are very scarce here in youth, so I am very excited to see some new kids take up the breed!

As it was the Valentine’s Day show, I won boxes of chocolate for my BOB and BOS awards in one show…one for my mom and one for my grandma!  XO

It’s almost February?!?

27 01 2011

Time has flown by and I’ve obviously been negligent in keeping up with the blog!!  Long story short: I went to Convention and a couple more fall shows, got a new (ish) showmobile, had verrrry good luck with winter litters, and am getting ready to start a new show season!

ARBA Convention

Convention (in Minneapolis, MN) was great!!  The only hitch was load-in and load-out.  The Convention Center’s parking lot is approximately the size of a postage stamp and there were lines and waiting on Friday afternoon.  Saturday, Sunday, and early Thursday morning were fairly brutal!

Otherwise, it was wonderful!  We had feared bad weather, but it cooperated and was pleasant enough to walk downtown in long sleeves.  Not that anyone had to, as the showroom was attached to the hotel by a walkway.  There were several wonderful restaurants within easy walking distance (my picks: Brit’s Pub and The Newsroom – try the root beer cookies!) and the downtown area was very clean. 

ADRC Banner...although we've been around much longer than that!

The host club prepared banners depicting each breed, and these were arranged in a commons area outside the showroom.  The Dutch club’s poster boy was…Jagger!

2010 ARBA Judge's Conference

On Sunday, I joined other longtime Dutch breeders and judges to talk at the ARBA Judge’s Conference.  The ADRC organized a round-robin Dutch presentation, and my assignment was posing, handling and type.  I was honored to present, enjoyed it thoroughly, and received some great feedback from my fellow judges.  I hope other specialty clubs take an interest, as I think that a person who is both a breeder and a judge has the best perspective and knowledge of a breed!

Judging youth Dutch

On Monday morning, judging started.  I was assigned youth Dutch.  In a word, it was hard.  I last judged youth in 2005 in Indianapolis, and while there were some very nice animals at the top of the classes, the overall depth of quality has made some astounding progress.  I had some very difficult decisions to make, but enjoyed it very much!

My own fared OK, Jagger had begun to break coat about two weeks before the show, and when he arrived, was more interested in soliciting attention from everyone nearby than eating.  He was far down in the placings, which was disappointing, but he was not in shape to win.  Fortunately he is a buck and his show days are far from over!  My blue junior does, however, did very well!  Caroline, who was also breaking coat, took 9th.  Little Merry came into a lovely junior prime at the show, and placed 3rd at not quite 4 months!


Shows and more shows…

After a little over a week at home, I headed to the Llano Estacado RBA show in Muleshoe, TX.  While it’s not in an exciting place, this is one of my favorite shows of the year.  The weather is nice, the show facility is spacious, clean and well-lit, and the exhibitors and show officials are incredibly friendly and there to have a good time!  I judged the specialties and part of the all-breed show, and took a few Dutch along.  In Saturday’s A show, I took BOB with Blue JD Merry and BOS with a Steel JB.  Much to my surprise, Merry went on to win a Best in Show and the Best of the Best!

The next weekend, I attended the North Central Iowa Rabbit Fanciers show.  There was a large, top quality Dutch entry and a specialty show.  I was pleased to take BOV Blue in both shows, once with Caroline and once with Merry.


Winter litters

Raising litters in the winter is not easy, it requires luck and good mothers as it’s impossible to predict the weather 31 days in advance!  I’ve been very, very lucky and have had several litters with promising babies born since the end of October.  Blues, especially does, seem to be the predominant variety.  I prefer a little more balance, but oh well!


On The Road Again

The artists are in the shade, hard to see them!

The weekend of January 21 I headed to Albuquerque for the Southwest Dutch RFA double specialty show.  Another one of my favorite shows of the year, I love visiting Albuquerque!  This year my friend Chelsea was able to join me and we met up with judge Scott when we got there.  Last year Carolyn took me up the tram on Sandia Peak; this year our sightseeing was shopping in Old Town.  It’s full of adobe buildings and adorable shops with all sorts of jewelry and Southwest crafts.  There was even a rattlesnake museum!  My favorite part was buying jewelry from Native American artists who set up shop on a sidewalk along the square. 

I got a necklace with turquoise and hematite, it’s very elegant.  I love turquoise but don’t wear anything that looks Southwestern in styling because I feel like a poser, but this is lovely!  I also bought some hand-blown drinking glasses from Mexico.  (I do love shopping)  We went to lunch at a great Mexican restaurant in town, then to the new outdoor mall and Trader Joe’s.  I would’ve been in a lot of trouble if I had failed to stop there, and I carted out an entire case of Two Buck Chuck for friends and family back home! 

l-r Carolyn, Scott, me and Chelsea

While we were out and about, the rabbits stayed at Carolyn’s lovely new house.  Not only is it a nice place, but the view is stunning.  Off to one side is Sandia Peak, turn around and it overlooks the city.

Chelsea and "VKK1" with BOS, Merry and I with BOB. Scott with the beautiful awards!

After lunch and shopping, we headed back to the hotel for some rest before the show, which started at 6.  I took a few along and was hoping to get a senior leg for one of my blue does (Merry and Caroline).  Merry was really looking nice, and ended up winning Best of Breed!  Chelsea had BOS with her stunning Tort buck.  He’s 2 1/2 and still looks amazing, he’s done a lot of winning and I think there are a few breeders who are tired of losing to him and would like to see him retire 😉

Our show season here begins February 12 in Abilene, I’m excited to see how these young seniors continue through the spring, and to get some juniors on the table!

Sweet Caroline

18 10 2010

I had a little trouble with my entries for the State show, they were due the same day as the original ARBA Convention deadline, and after racking my brain over that one, I was too frazzled to pre-enter!  I ended up only taking 3, two of whom are bumped-up juniors.  I then decided to take out Caroline*, a young blue junior doe who I’d always liked, but who had started life with a very fuzzy baby coat.  This is a pretty common trait of my rabbits that end up having the best fur.  She was just starting to come into a nice junior prime, so I took her for some table experience.  And yes, Jagger stayed home.

In Friday night’s Dutch specialty, I was pleased when she took BOB, and even more pleased when she took BOB in the all-breed on Saturday.  Being so young (3 months and 20 days, to be exact) I wasn’t sure if she had a shot at anything past that.  I was happy when she got a second look, but thrilled when she took second runner-up in show!!  The real excitement came later, when judge Randy told me she was just as good as any Dutch he’d seen recently in California.  She’s one more reason I’ll be a raging insomniac until Minnesota.  Win or lose, I’m excited just to put these two on display with my name on the cage tag. 

*I haven’t abandoned my Stones naming theme, “Caroline” actually comes from a song from the Beggar’s Banquet album.  The post title was just too cheesy to resist!

Rock Star

27 09 2010


Jagger looking fabulous, me on two hours of sleep!

Everyone loves those babies who we’re excited about from the time they’re little.  But as the breeders and owners, who see them every day and are most alert to the tiniest faults they may have, we often like to get a second opinion to make sure we aren’t going hutch blind.

In a black/blue litter by Bing and Cream, I had two exceptionally well marked black bucks.  I didn’t like the type on one, but the other was shorter, stockier, and with a better head and ear.  He was also the smallest in the litter, so his growth tended to be more slow and steady and he took a little longer to really look show-worthy.  I had taken him to Duncan earlier in the month where he won two BOS’s, and both judges who gave him that told me later that they thought he was the best rabbit there, but couldn’t pick him for breed as he had some molty brown patches on his side.  I hadn’t expected to win, he was just out for some table experience, so this was very understandable! 

He was starting to come into a better coat, and I’d posted some pictures of him on Facebook.  I was contacted by the president of the ADRC to ask if I’d mind his picture being used on a banner for the Dutch breed that would be displayed at Convention.  I said, “of course not!”

As two of my bags of feed had gotten ruined, I needed to make a trip to Gardner.  I didn’t really want to go up just for feed, so I contacted my friend Rick to see if he was going to a show in Sedalia, and if so could I ride along?  He said “sure!”  I put together a small entry (3!).  Although I thought the black buck was coming along nicely, I was fully convinced I’d get my butt handed to me by Rick’s doe who won 3 Best in Shows the previous weekend.

She is a stunning, stunning doe, although her age and the weather changes last weekend had prompted her coat to slip a bit.  Still, she was stiff competition and I was proud to win BOB in the A show.  In the B show, it came down to that doe and my buck for BOV Black.  After a lot of back and forth and careful thought, he took BOV and again won BOB.  I was thrilled, while I didn’t feel he was quite finished in coat, I could tell he was coming into a very nice prime.

Best in Show was done back to back, with the judge for the A show writing his winners down and giving them to the show superintendent.  He did get a second look, so I was pleased about that.  It was the same judge who had picked him BOB in the B show, and had told me again after judging how nice he was.  This judge isn’t one to issue empty praise, so I figured he had a good shot at something. 

After he’d made his choices, the B show BOB winners came up and the next judge looked through them.  He didn’t get a second look until the very end, and the judge didn’t even flip him over this time, so I figured that was the end of it.  She was to announce her winners as she chose them, so I was shocked when he won Best in Show!!  The awards were handed out, and then the A show judge’s ballot was unfolded.  “Best in Show…the Dutch!”  One BIS is exciting, but two?!?!  I was (am!) on cloud nine!

I’d already named him, but after seeing how much my high opinion of him was shared by others, I gave him the name I’ve been saving for a buck that’s as electrifying as his namesake…Jagger.  (I’m a huge Rolling Stones geek, and all of my rabbit names come from song titles, lyrics, etc.)  I think he may very well be the best rabbit I’ve ever raised, and he’s even more special since he’s by Bing.  He looks more like him than any of his other sons, and shares his calm, affectionate personality.

In one week, Rick and I have taken 5 Best in Shows with 2 Dutch, so needless to say we are both very excited for Convention and hoping that both rabbits are looking their best.  There are a lot of very nice junior black Dutch out there winning BIS/RIS awards around the country, so we know the competition will be tough and it may come down to luck and timing.  We’re just hoping both are on our side!

Spring and Summer Show News

18 07 2010

May 15 – North Central Missouri RBA.  My first post-NDS show, and for many reasons, it wasn’t a fun one.  My dad had fairly major back surgery the Friday I left.  I did get to visit him the hospital and see that he was doing well, but it was still worrisome.  This show is held outdoors in a pole barn, and when I judged there several years ago the sun was shining, there was a light breeze, and it made for a very pleasant day.  This year it was 50 degrees with blowing rain.  A few exhibitors had pre-entered but didn’t show up, and we judges kept our noses to the grindstone as paperwork blew everywhere.  Thank goodness there were control sheets and not comment cards!  I rode with 2 other Kansas judges and took a few rabbits.  I won BOB in both shows with Start Me Up, and 2nd runner up in the B show.  Unfortunately there were only two exhibitors, so I didn’t get legs.  We headed home as soon as the show was over, and Karen wanted to stop at a casino.  Vic gave her 20 minutes.  I’m not much of a gambler, so put in $20 in a silly-looking Dean Martin penny slot machine.  I got up to $35 then decided to play back down to $20, cash out and call it free entertainment.  (I know, I know…but I like to get something for my money.  My favorite part of Vegas is the shopping!)  I was down to a little over $21 when some combination of something sent me to a bonus round, then I won something there, and ended up at $67, at which time I cashed out! 

May 22-23 – Central Massachussetts RBN and Specialties.  Josh and I, plus his friend Jason (who does not raise rabbits but knows enough about them that he should) all came out early to do some sightseeing and go to a Red Sox game at Fenway Park.  I’d never been to a major league game before and was especially excited to go to such a historic venue.  It means more to me to sit in a hundred-year-old seat than a cushy new park, and I wasn’t disappointed!  The next day we took the train to downtown Boston and saw the Old North Church and Paul Revere’s house.  Being a Kansan, I’m sort of fascinated by mass transit and very proud of my skill in reading subway maps.  And like most public transportation, it was a prime place for Josh and I to play a game of “If they had rabbits, what breed would they raise?”  Saturday were the specialty shows and a judge’s conference, and at the Sunday all-breed show I was greeted by 100+ Flemish to judge!  I don’t get giant breeds very often, especially in these numbers, as people seem to think I’ll break something if I try to lift one.  But I had fun, the quality of rabbits was very high and the camaraderie between the breeders made it a lot of fun!

At Fenway, seated right across from the Green Monstah


May 29-30 –  Indianhead RBA, Eau Claire WI.  Yes, I drove all the way up to Wisconsin just to show!  It was a quadruple show (two Saturday, two Sunday) and I hadn’t seen my friend Sara for a long time, so decided why not?  She was the only one who knew I was coming, and the Dutch breeders were surprised to see me there!  There were over 60 on Saturday (which is about twice the normal entry in KS, sadly!) and I was proud to win BOB in both shows with Start Me Up.  I took BOS in show 2 with Wynne and BOV Tort with Surprise.  Sara and I had discovered that judge Joel’s 40th birthday was Sunday, so we picked up some supplies to decorate his table.  Sunday’s shows also went well for me, I had BOS in show 3 with Stroke of Midnight and in show 4 Start Me Up again took BOB with Wynne adding another BOS.  And Sara very kindly let me breed a squirrel doe to one of her white bucks!

Joel with daughter Alyssa at his judging table, complete with caution tape and black balloons!

June 5-6 – All over the East Coast.  I was booked to judge the Connecticut State show on Sunday, but since it’s horribly expensive for me to fly from Wichita into Hartford, I flew instead into Boston and rode with Sue and Donna to a show in Herkimer, NY.  It’s a small town with some fun local places to eat.  This year we tried a restaurant that was built in a house, and it was fantastic!  Their signature appetizer is greens (which I normally despise) but they were dressed up with ham, garlic, and enough Parmesan that they tasted great!  I didn’t judge, just saw friends and helped them show.  Derek was there with his stunning English Lops, and won BOB in the B show with a doe who had already taken two BIS.  When BIS was called, she went up to the table and won again!  Then BIS for the B show was called.  The winner from show A had left, so no one noticed the wrong rabbit was on the table.  He graciously informed the show committee that he’d made a mistake, but not after his doe had caught everyone’s attention!  After the show, we scrambled to make it to Connecticut for dinner.  This is one of my favorite shows of the year, the food is fantastic!  All the judges are taken to an amazing dinner the night before the show, and it was fun to spend time in a non-furry setting with rabbit friends!

June 14 – Sunflower RBA.  This is my club’s show, and was held in conjunction with the KSRBA Scholarship show.  I was judging the Scholarship show so my mom and friends had to show for me.  We had a good Dutch turnout, Chelsea came up from Texas and Rick came down from Kansas City, so numbers were better than usual.  My show string were barely holding onto their coats so I was somewhat surprised by how well they did.   In the Sunflower show I took BOB with Start Me Up, BOV and BOSV Blue with Wynne and Stroke of Midnight, and BOV Tort with Surprise.  Rick had BOS with a cute black JD.  In the Scholarship show, Bob won BOB with a slick Steel buck.  I had BOS with Wynne and BOSV Blue with Stroke of Midnight.  I got to meet and talk with Cheryl Eng-Link, chair of the ARBA Standards Committee, about my Squirrel MR.  She gave me some very good feedback and suggestions for them.

June 18-19 – Stephens Co. RBA.  By now, most of my coats were looking fairly pathetic.  Wynne was bred so stayed home, and the bucks were either molty (Start Me Up), brown (Stroke of Midnight), or pee-stained (Surprise).  So the weekend was more about having fun with friends than winning!  Chelsea was there and we had a great time as always.  Her Tort buck was looking very nice and took two BOB and she took BOS in one show with a home-bred blue doe.  Mine held on for being out of coat, Start Me Up took BOV in two shows and BOSV in the third, and Stroke of Midnight took a BOV.  I was excited to get a tort doe again, Shine a Light whom I had sold one back in 2007 to some youth breeders in Texas.  Josh bought her last year and this year, snuck her on the plane and brought her back to me.  She still has great flesh and fur, and is bred to Surprise.

That was the end of the spring/summer show season.   Looking back on this post I’m thinking, Did I really do all this in just over a month?!?  It has been nice to have a break and some sleep-in time!   The past few weekends I’ve spent cleaning/storing rabbit stuff and doing normal people things.  The last-chance-for-Convention litters are almost all here (13 between the end of June and end of July!) and I’m pleased by what I’m seeing so far.  My first showable Steels are bouncing around their cages, my first Tort litter is on the way, and after having spent a couple years of not being able to get a blue doe to save my life, blues are now everywhere!  One black/blue pair produced 8…all blues!  In case you’re wondering, the odds of this are 1:256!  And yes, the black is the doe.  So now to keep them cool and start making plans for the fall!