Monday, January 21, 2019

Mid-Tex RBA Show this Past Weekend was a Great Chance for New Friends and New Rabbits

This past weekend my three older children and I have the privilege of attending the Mid-Tex RBA's triple show in Killeen, Texas.  I was an fun and interesting show that was well worth the time and the trip down to be a part of.

We started with every intention of leaving mid-morning on Friday, January 18th so that we would have plenty of time to drive down with feeling stressed or rushed to make it in time for the Friday evening show.  Well as almost anyone can tell you the best laid plans are only good until you start to carry them out and then they typically fall apart and you have to make new plans or wing it.  Well we ended up winging it.

We left the house about 10:30am, filled the van with gas and headed down the road.  about 30 minutes out we realized that one of us was missing our cellphone and it fell out of a pocket at a gas station or in the driveway at the house.  You guessed it we turned around and drove all the way back to find the cellphone in the driveway.  We were blessed that it didn't get run over over when I backed out of the driveway.

This meant is was really 11:30am when we finally hit the road and started our trip.  Now Google Maps says that Killeen, Texas is a five our and 20 minute drive from my house.  So I figured no problem.  We needed to be there by 6:30pm so we would be fine.  At least that is what I thought until we got past Ardmore and close to Gainsville, because somewhere in there Google Maps loses about forty minutes worth of time which meant our five hour and twenty minute drive ended up becoming a six hour plus drive because we hit traffic when we got to Fort Worth.  Fortunately we made it to the Expo Center where the show was being held about 6:00 and were able to get unloaded and all the entry forms and comment cards filled out and turned in before the show started at 7:00pm.

Those entry form comment cards are no joke.  You have to fill one form out for each rabbit you enter, for each show you enter them in.  It was a crazy number of cards.  One rabbit for 3 shows is three cards.  Multiple that by the four New Zealands I brought to show, the three Holland Lops my son brought, the two English Spots my daughter brought and the four Mini Rex my other daughter brought gives you 13 rabbits x 3 comment cards and I filled out 39 comment cards for the shows this past weekend.  Talk about getting writer's cramp.  I decided I had better teach my kids how to fill out their own cards for the next show because it felt insane.  And we were on the low end as far as how many rabbits we brought with us.

The Club mentioned at the end of the show that there were just over 3700 rabbits at the event.  Can you imagine filling out all those comment cards?  There was one lady there who brought 50 plus rabbits and they were nice rabbits but oh the insanity of filling out those cards.  I did see one lady who had typed up little mailing labels with all the required information and she stuck a label to the top sheet and the carbon copy instead of writing out all her entries.  I loved that idea and maybe once I get a bit more organized that is something I will make a template for.

While it might seem crazy to fill out all those cards to get them ready for a show, I do have to admit that I love them at the end of the show when they get filled out and I get a copy.  While the judge is evaluating each rabbit he talks about it, telling you what he likes and doesn't like and a comment writer listens and makes notes on the card to give back to the breeder.  They have been very helpful to me as I am learning about my rabbits strengths and weaknesses in deciding who to keep for breeding and who to retire.

Friday's show got done between midnight and 1:00am.  And five very tired rabbit enthusiasts headed to the hotel to pass out for a couple of hours of sleep.  It made me very glad the next morning that I had already done all our entries for the Saturday shows so we could sleep in a little longer and not get up until 6:30am to make it to the Expo Hall by 8:00am for the show to start.

My daughter Seriah really lucked out with her English Spot judge Friday evening.  Because English Spots are a breed that is more rare than some she ended up with the only two at the show, and the judge took the extra time even though it was late in the evening to walk her through his entire judging process and talk to her about what he was looking at and why and how each of her rabbits stacked up to the breed standard.  He even recommended what to look for in matching up a buck with her doe for breeding.  I honestly could not have asked for anything more.  He was fantastic.

Saturday was a lot of fun, but it was also full of a lot of hurry up and wait as well.  We ended up packing books to read and a couple of card games to play while we waited.  I even started a new crochet project that afternoon so new dishtowels for my kitchen will be coming soon.

The best part about Saturday though was definitely the afternoon show, when Seriah and I got an opportunity to help behind the scenes and we worked as writers for a couple of the judges for a little bit.  I think it was a fun opportunity to get to know the judges and to learn more about the breeds that we wrote for.  It also make me realize that it was something I want to do more often and I am seriously considering learning enough to become a registrar and a judge myself, because I think it would be fun.

Sometime in between playing cards, putting rabbits on the table to be judged, and helping take comments I also got to see the registrar and Swift and Sassy now have registration numbers and their applications have been sent off to the American Rabbit Breeder's Association.  I am excited about this because once the applications have been processed I can send in for Swift's Grand Champion certificate and this alone makes the trip down to the show in Killeen worth it.  I am hoping to take a couple of my other does to the next show we attend in February to go through the same process.

The shows on Saturday ended earlier than the one Friday night and this thankfully made it possible for us to head out about 8:45pm instead of Sunday morning.  It made for a long night's drive and I didn't have all the rabbits unloaded and tucked into their hutches with fresh food and water until after 3:00am, but the drive was uneventful and we didn't have any traffic to contend with so it was worth it.

As you can imagine show results for 3700 rabbits is going to take a while to process and enter, but I will post results from the show as soon as I receive them.  If you have never had an opportunity to attend a rabbit show I recommend you look up the next one happening in your area on the ARBA's show list and go.  Even if you only go for a couple of hours, you will meet great people and have an opportunity to see so many different breeds of rabbits.  It is definitely worth it in my opinion, but then maybe I am a little bit bias because I already love the hobby.

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