Farm show season and PaSRBA are just around the corner, and it’s time to be thinking about royal contests, breeding, and getting the show string into tip top shape. I hope for the royalty contest we can put more attention to cavies, and have a judging class of longhairs, as well as more of a variety in the Breed ID, as they should be proportionally represented. I have a few surprises that may be showing up in the classes so get ready! In addition, I would like to encourage the youth if time allows, to attend the judges conference the night before, which allows them to gain firsthand knowledge from long time judges and breeders. I have attended a few in the past, and always find them helpful down the road. There have been a few concerns as well with the royalty test in the morning, causing the youth to rush, in order to show their rabbits or pigs, which is something that maybe should be looked into, if your parents are there, I would see if they could put your animals on the table for you, as it is physically impossible to be in places at once, the judges should be more than understanding when in that situation, just do not stress and take your time. The past few months have FLOWN by and it seems that everyone has been so busy, and in need of a much needed winter break. The fall show season for me started with three big September shows. It all started with the West Branch Rabbit show, where Wayne Bechdel received his ARBA Distinguished Service Award, for his continued dedication to the ARBA over the past thirty years. He was one of the mentors of our past PaSRBA and ARBA king, Johnny. There was a good showing of Flemish Giants and English Spots also at this show, and very well organized! The next show was the Hamburg show, where the Bells, Madi, and I represented the hobby well. Madi was working under Ruth-Ann, wrangling Lionhead’s, when I looked over! It was a very nice show, and I would like to extend a congratulations to Joe Colucci on obtaining his cavy judging license, it was very nice to see a new judge, and get some different opinions! The last September show before Convention, was the South Jersey show, where Becky Lanahan showed my cavies for me (thanks again!), where I also had the opportunity to shadow under Johnny with judging rabbits in preparation for convention. If any youth wants to learn more about rabbits or cavies, I encourage them to do the same, and ask a judge in advance if you can shadow them, and hopefully write for them while doing so! Indy was definitely an adventure, and I went out with the Shaw’s. A few things I saw:
All the youth from the area and district came prepared and ready to showcase their knowledge! In the future a little more preparation with cavies would I think really help everyone (especially with the different varieties), but you all did a fantastic job!
Any youth that would like to work on a COD, I encourage you to do so, one is never too young to start on a project, and help the hobby and standard grow. I am currently working with the otter Americans, and can tell you for a fact that the experience is so valuable.
I would like to challenge adults and PaSRBA members, to give away quality rabbits to at least one youth this year and mentor them as they enter the breed or hobby. By doing this you are ensuring the future of the rabbit and cavy fancy. There is nothing better than ensuring that the line you have worked for YEARS on will be in good hands as we hop to the future.
CONGRAULATIONS to all the youth that won and participated in the youth contests and showed at convention, you guys are the future, and did an awesome job representing the organization on a national level, congrats again!
Please, if anyone is not feeling comfortable about judging a breed, the best thing you can do is talk to a breeder or judge at the show. The Royalty Court and myself are always willing before judging and Breed ID to help a youth learn more about what they are judging or with specific questions they may have. I did this at convention (with the Dutch) and after doing so, felt much more confident in my judging ability, and did well! If anyone needs help see me Friday at PaSRBA!
Last but not least, I wrote a letter to the ARBA board expressing some ideas that I had for the organization. The youth we have today, are the foundation and future leaders of the hobby, and as such your opinions and ideas are invaluable and are taken very seriously. I was concerned about the extremely low numbers of Silkie satins and Peruvian satins at convention, as only 1 or 2 have been shown at NATIONAL Convention over the past couple years in the youth division. To me it is disheartening to see any breed or variety in low numbers such as this, so encouraging youth to take up these breeds should be a priority of all rabbit and cavy organizations. Also, the idea of youth directors and Royalty expectations are also ideas I wrote about. If you have any ideas that you think could better the hobby, please contact the appropriate officers or directors, so that way we can continue to better the organizations that we are a part of.
Eastern PA Rabbit School was amazing this year, and thanks to everyone who put it together. It was full of great cavy and rabbit breeders, plus there was lots of knowledge that was exchanged. I had the opportunity to teach about cavy grooming, Royalty… and of course the nutrition class. Anyone that was in it, would surely be able to tell… I got very excited! Tons of people were there, and it was located in a great facility. Even though I got lost (that is why I always arrive early!) it was a great time, and I look forward to being a part of it again next year.
Western PA Rabbit School is coming up so keep a close eye on that. Also remember to renew all your memberships coming up, I always like to get it all done before Jan 1st. In addition, a reminder that there is SENIOR SHOWMANSHIP at PaSRBA this year, so you all have some time to dust off your skills and get ready ( you can use a cavy ;) )
The final shows that I attended was the Lebanon Show and Apple Country shows, where I got to see TONS of excitement for PaSRBA and the Royalty Contests! I look forward to seeing everyone there. Hope everyone has an amazing winter break, good luck at Farm show, and happy breeding for the spring shows and Nationals!