Morning News â€” Leslie Mielke
Dylan Amrein, age 7, showed his rabbit in the Clover Buds division at the Bingham County 4-H Fair Monday morning. The judge is Matt Rosenberg from Lewisville.
Rabbits were the first animals to be judged at the Bingham County 4-H Fair Monday morning.
Rabbit judging is a quiet as, well, a rabbit.
"It's a quiet contest," said judge Matt Rosenberg. "In showmanship, I have a list of questions I ask the exhibitors."
The questions can range from common diseases in rabbits to specifics about the 49 breeds of rabbits recognized by the American Rabbit Breeders Association (ARBA).
The judge also watches how the exhibitor handles his/her rabbit in the competition. Is the rabbit calm? Does the rabbit sit quietly? Is the exhibitor watching the judge?
"During the showmanship portion of the competition, I am judging how the exhibitor handles the rabbit," Rosenberg said. "Every eye should be on the judge the entire competition.
"As a judge, I'm looking for straight legs, the general good health of the animal, what the fur looks like," he said. "When the competitors turn the rabbit over, I'm looking for any broken toenails or abscesses or crooked legs.
As Rosenberg awarded the reserve champion and grand champion, he said, "Keep learning. It really shows who has studied and taken the time to learn about his/her rabbit.
"There's a lot to learn," he said. "Knowledge is power."
Abby Hurst was the reserve champion in the intermediate division.
Katie Kirby from Firth was the grand champion of the same division. Her rabbit was a Mini-Rex named Pumpkin.
"When I was little, I was charged by a cow," Kirby said. "I was terrified by big animals so I decided to try rabbits for one year."
Ten years later, Katie is still showing rabbits.
"4-H has totally brought me out of my shell," Kirby said. "I have gained leadership skills and people skills.
"I not afraid of getting up in front of people," Kirby said. "I watch the kids in Clover Buds and watch as they gain confidence to talk in front of people. They are doing amazing things."