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Crowd was all ears, awaiting rabbit showmanship results

A large crowd flowed in and out of the Dr. Mary Toothman Show Ring Wednesday morning to watch the market rabbit showmanship competition at the Lawrence County Fair.

The competition began at 8 a.m. and around 150 youth showed their rabbits to the judge, hoping to be named overall senior and junior showmen and advance on to the Showman of Showmen competition.

The honor of Overall Senior Showman went to Brittany Webb, a freshman at Coal Grove High School. This was her third year competing.

“I was excited,” Brittany said. “I didn’t expect it. Most of the other kids are older.”

Brittany said she got her rabbits in May and has been practicing with them all summer.

“I had to work with them to make them sit still on the table so they wouldn’t jump,” she said. “I just had to handle them a lot.”

Jillian Salyers, a freshman at Grace Christian School, achieved overall junior showman, and even though this is her second year winning the title, said she was excited about the results.

“I know that’s a mundane answer, but I’m excited,” Jillian said.

She also got her rabbits in May and has spent a lot of time working with them.

“I practiced sitting them on a haybail,” Jillian laughed. “They’re crazy. I have scratches all over my arms.”

This is Jillian’s fifth year being involved with the 4-H club. She said she took pigs the first three years and this is her second year taking rabbits. Jillian said she is looking forward to the Showman of Showmen competition for the opportunity to be involved with every single animal.

Jennifer Foster, from Wheelersburg, was the rabbit showmanship judge for the competition and spent six hours watching how the entrants handled their rabbits. This was her first time judging at the Lawrence County Fair.

“I looked for their ability to examine the rabbits and their ability to pick out meat qualities,” Foster said.

Foster said she also asked each youth general questions about rabbits.

When the contestants were handling their rabbits, Foster said she looked for three specific things. She judged on their ability to carry the rabbits correctly, to pose the rabbits properly and to be able to turn the rabbits over.