The overall grand champion of the 24 classes in the Fayette County Jr. Fair Rabbit Meat Pen Show was Kassidy Hoppes. Hoppes also placed first in class 20 Tuesday afternoon.
“My stomach was tied in knots. I actually thought that I was last because I was separated. Then I realized I was grand champion. I was really excited and very tempted to throw my hands up in the air and scream,” said Hoppes.
The show judge, Danny Long, has raised rabbits for over 50 years and for 10 years has judged market animals at state fairs throughout the Midwest.
The first place winners for each of the 24 classes met to determine the grand and reserve champions. Long narrowed it down to a dozen participants.
In a very meticulous manner, he moved from rabbit to rabbit, studying their body shape and being observant of the rabbit’s individual musculature.
He asked one participant to be called back to the show in the final minutes to get another look at her rabbits.
As parents watched with excitement, one said, “It’s like he’s playing musical rabbits, it’s making me nervous.”
“This gives me a lot of stress here today for an old man, I’ll tell you that. This is a very tough competition,” said Long.
He said he was looking at meat type, for rabbits that are solid all the way through.
When he announced Hoppes was the grand champion, he said, “This is what you look for in a pen of two.”
Long said all of the participants in the rabbit meat pen show did a great job.
Nadine Fogt, Ohio State University 4-H Youth Development Extension Educator, said that with the 24 classes, this is the biggest meat pen show she has seen in 19 years.
“It’s an educational project. They have to raise meat-type rabbits uniform in size and weight,” said Fogt. “The judge looks for which animals are best for meat production.”
Hoppes was the reserve grand champion last year for the Jr. Fair Rabbit Meat Pen Show.
Her rabbits were about 4-months-old. She said next year she will probably move on to showing hogs.
When asked if she had any advice for those who will show rabbits, she said, “Make sure you take care of your rabbits daily and work with them a lot.”
Look for more coverage of the rabbit show in Thursday’s edition of the Record-Herald.
Reach Ashley at the Record-Herald (740) 313-0355 or on Twitter @ashbunton