Story and photos by Connor Burnard / MTSU Sidelines
On Saturday, the Music City Rabbit Breeders Association hosted a rabbit breeding show at MTSU’s Tennessee Livestock Center from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The event consisted of four rabbit shows: two open shows and two youth shows that showcased younger rabbits.
Pat Huston, a resident of Bell Buckle, Tennessee, and the treasurer of the Music City Rabbit Breeders Association, was both a participant in and organizer of the event. She said MTSU’s Tennessee Livestock Center was one of the most central animal-friendly venues large enough to hold the show of more than 1,000 rabbits. She said it draws crowds both for the love of rabbits and to see old friends.
“It’s showing rabbits, but it’s the socializing too,” Huston said. “We meet old friends. We see them maybe once or twice a year, and we get caught up on stuff.”
As judges examined rabbits, Huston described the process of the competition and how the scoring works, all of which is based on a standardized set of guidelines from the American Rabbit Breeders Association.
“There’s a standard of perfection that (the judges) have on the table with them,” Huston explained. “They judge them with that book. They go by type, color, markings, all of that. They check them out, and the one that gets the closest to (the book’s standards) gets ‘best of breed.’ Then they have to pick a second, and that would be the ‘best of opposite.’ When they get done with the big shows, they take all of the best of breeds, judge them and find the ‘best in show’ and ‘best reserve in show.’”
During the event, rabbit breeder Vi Crowder, a member of a club called the Holland Lop Rabbit Specialty Club that focuses on the particular Holland Lop breed of rabbit, was presented with an award by club member Todd Naragon. The award recognized Crowder’s induction into the club’s hall of fame.
“Thank you,” Crowder said. “I never dreamed of an honor like this. I’m so appreciative that I could come back today and just say, ‘Hello’ … Some of you are new. Keep going, and keep making friends.”
Naragon said that Crowder was influential in the beginning of his involvement in rabbit breeding and that he was proud to present her with the award for induction into the club’s hall of fame.
“She was one of our founding charter members of that club,” Naragon said. “It’s just an honor to give her a lifetime membership to the HLRSC.”
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