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Kyle Gilmore shows grand champion rabbit

ROME TOWNSHIP – Some were wriggling with nervousness.

Wednesday, July 11, 2001

ROME TOWNSHIP – Some were wriggling with nervousness. Others were still as they waited for the judges to reach their decision.

The same behaviors were seen in their rabbits, too.

At the rabbit show of the 2001 Lawrence County Fair, 67 4-H and FFA members each brought their pairs of market rabbits for judging Tuesday afternoon.

They came in all colors and sizes, each with a rapidly twitching nose.

When the decision of the judges was finally announced, grand champion winner Kyle Gilmore of the Starlite 4-H club’s face glowed with surprise and excitement.

"I don’t think I ever even made it into the top 10 before," Gilmore said afterward.

The rabbits are judged on the amount of meat they have and the quality of their physique, County 4-H Agent Laura Murphy said. Later, the owners were judged on their training of the rabbits in the showmanship contest.

The 10 classes were examined by judges Debra Brown and Patricia Green, co-owners of Green’s Rabbittry in New Philadelphia. The places in each class were announced, and applause for followed each name.

The best from each class were gathered for the determination of the grand champion.

Gilmore, 15, said he has been showing rabbits for six years – since he was first eligible to show them.

"I just like them," he said. "They’re fun to work with."

Preparing the two California rabbits for the fair began, Gilmore said, when he bought them at the end of May. Food, water and training were provided to make the rabbits meet the judges’ expectations.

"You try to tame them," he said.

Gilmore said he has improved in the years he has shown rabbits, learning more about how they like to be treated.

He seemed a little wistful about selling the three-month-old rabbits but said he hopes to do well in the sale Friday.

He will be a sophomore at Symmes Valley High School this fall.