Showmen hop into winner’s circle

Published 12:11 pm Friday, July 17, 2015

ROME TOWNSHIP — The rabbit showmanship competition at the Lawrence County Fair saw lots of rabbits and eager 4-H rabbit showmen. The showmanship event evaluates contestants based upon how well they handle their rabbit and answer a variety of questions the judges ask about their rabbits.

Judges for this year’s event were Jacinta Tualbee and Travis West. Taulbee and West have extensive experience raising rabbits and judging rabbit competitions. West and Taulbee quizzed contestants on rabbit breeds, fur types and rabbit handling.

“Showmanship is all about the kid and how they perform with their animal,” said Rachael Fraley, extension educator for the OSU extension.

Fraley said contestants are judged on “how well (they) are able to answer questions about (their) rabbit. It really shows what the kids have learned, what 4-H is all about.”

The showman competition has both senior and junior divisions based on the contestant’s age. Before the competition, contestants are given study guides with information about rabbits and must be prepared to keep their rabbits calm while in the arena.

When 13-year-old Maggie Ashworth got ready to show her rabbit, she “was really nervous,” but after showing her rabbit said, “there was nothing to be nervous about.”

“I felt really relieved,” said Ashworth.

Ashworth said she felt prepared for the competition and really wanted to impress the judges after she didn’t do as well as she had hoped in the market rabbit competition. If Ashworth’s winning the junior rabbit showman trophy was any indication, Ashworth’s hard work paid off.

This year’s senior rabbit showman winner was Katie Webb. Webb has shown rabbits for six years, but up until this year’s event had yet to take home the grand champion title. Webb could hardly believe it when she heard herself being announced the winner.

“I was absolutely excited,” said Webb.