Alexis Schwartz was named the overall rabbit showman winner Monday in the 2016 Fayette County Jr. Fair Rabbit Showmanship Classes.
The event took seven-and-a-half hours to complete. In all there were 11 showman classes, from novice through 12th grade and up.
As well as being named the overall rabbit showman winner, Schwartz placed first in the 12th grade and up class.
This makes her fourth year being named the overall rabbit showman winner.
“I’ve been doing this since third grade,” said Schwartz. “I study a lot.”
Her winning rabbit is a 5-year-old Dutch breed.
“I use the Dutch because they are a lot more calm and laid-back, tinier, and easier to handle,” said Schwartz.
She said her rabbit doesn’t have a name.
“I have a rabbitry of 200 at home and none of them have names,” said Schwartz.
When asked what her secret was to winning, she said, “Study a lot and know your rabbit. Everything about it. That’s the number one thing.”
Schwartz said the judging for the rabbit showmanship competition is primarily on your knowledge of the rabbit and how you handle your rabbit.
“There’s a book called Standard of Perfection that has all the breeds in it, that’s what I read,” said Schwartz.
Her Dutch rabbit has been the showman winner for each of the past three years.
“Ever since I was little that was the very first breed I had. They’re a good-natured rabbit,” said Schwartz.
Each breed has a certain pose they’re supposed to do for showmanship, said Schwartz. She said the eyes line up with the front feet and the back feet line up with the beginning of the hip.
“She’s trained, she knows what to do,” said Schwartz.
She spends a lot of time practicing with her rabbit.
“I practice setting her up. I have a little grooming area so I can set them up and cleanup and get ready for fair,” said Schwartz.
But she said rabbits don’t get baths.
“If they get water in the ears it throws them off and they can get really sick. They can get pneumonia. They clean themselves, kind of like cats,” said Schwartz.
Schwartz graduated from Miami Trace High School this year and is leaving in August to attend the University of Kentucky where she plans to study equine science.
Reach Ashley at the Record-Herald (740) 313-0355 or on Twitter @ashbunton