Clash of Champions at Fairgrounds

BEDFORD – More than 900 rabbits from 10 states and their owners participated in the Clash of the Champions Friday and Saturday at the Lawrence County Fairgrounds.

Lawrence County 4-H Rabbit Club along with Rabbit Renegades hosted the event.

There were 11 specialty shows and four all-breed youth and open shows.

More than 28 breeds recognized by the American Rabbit Breeders Association were represented with 3,900 entries.

Judging the rabbits were:

  • David Hauser, of Churubusco, Indiana
  • Bruce Ormsby, of Mooresville, Indiana
  • Louis Potter, of Parther, California
  • Randy Shumaker, of Phelan, California
  • Ryan Harrah, of Greenwood, Indiana
  • Dr. Chris Hayhow DVM PHD DACVM, of Williamsburg, Ohio
  • Gordon Williams, of Ligonier, Indiana
  • Lance Gendron, of Seminole, Florida
  • Josh Humphries, Bluff City, Tennessee
  • Danny Long, of Mentor, Ohio
  • Tom Green, of Marion, Kentucky
  • Rusty Westhoff, of Thompson Station, Tennessee
  • Tiffany Wayne, of Ellendale, Minnesota
  • Pam Jones, of Hillsdale, Michigan

Bruce Ormsby, of Mooresville, Indiana, began judging rabbits in 1966. He has traveled the United States doing it and has perfected the skill.

Judge Bruce Ormsby, looking over AJ O’Neal’s Hoto rabbit with Lawrence County 4-H committee members Benny and Treva Wade standing beside O’Neal giving encouraging support.

“It has been exciting and interesting,” he said. “It is something I love to do. I have been doing this a long long time.”

It was impressive watching him judge and by the end of the two-day show, this reporter learned a lot about weight, ear length, coats, and other standards set by the American Rabbit Breeds Association of each breed. Each of these judges know all the standards of all 50 breeds recognized by the American Rabbit Breeders Association or ARBA.

Ormsby along with most of the other judges could tell by just holding the rabbit if it was over or underweight and if the rabbit’s ears were too long or too short within a quarter of an inch by looking at them. It was impressive.

Judge Randy Shumaker, of Phelan, California, traveled to Bedford to judge this weekend. In this photo he is judging a Netherland Dwarf.

One thing that everyone looks forward to when they are showing rabbits is winning something. And, if you’re showing rabbits, why not aim for the stars – as in, Best in Show? So, how do you get a Best in Show win? There are a lot of ‘wins’ that your rabbit has to win first.

Essentially, they have to win the following, in this order:

  • Best in Sex – Best Doe or Buck
  • BOV (Best of Variety) or BOSV (Best Opposite Sex of Variety)
  • Best of Breed (BOB) – Best Standard of the Breed (Best Opposite Sex of Breed) 
  • Best in Show (BOS) – Your rabbit will go up against every other Best of Breed to win the title of Best of Show
Dr. Chris Hayhow, who is also President of ARBA, is judging a black Polish. He is reading the personal tattoo which must be put in the rabbit’s left ear. The right ear is reserved for a registration tattoo placed there by an ARBA registrar.

Katja Walls, 17, of Gibson, Illinois, showed at the event and was also there as a licensed ARBA registrar. In order to receive an ARBA registrar’s license, an individual must be a continuous member of the ARBA for at least three years, as well as have secured the written endorsement of 20 ARBA members in good standing prior to submitting an application to the ARBA office.

Upon being approved to apply for an ARBA registrar’s license, the applicant has two years in which to pass a written and oral examination delivered by an official examining judge appointed by the ARBA and must work under three judges at three shows, assist one registrar with registering animals, and secure the endorsement of that registar and at least two of the judges under whom he or she has worked.

Katja Walls is a licensed ARBA registrar, which is the first step in becoming a judge. She looking at a red New Zeland to make sure it is free of any disqualifications.

The Lawrence County 4-Hers faired well Friday and Saturday.

Club President Natasha Caswell showed her Thrianta. Her buck (male) placed second in two shows. Her doe (female) took the title of Best Doe both times.

Vice President AJ O’Neal and his Hoto took Best of Breed in all four of his shows. One Youth and three open shows (where he competed against adults and youth).

AJ O’Neal and Judge Tom Green judging his Hoto.
AJ O’Neal showing his Hoto

Heaven Cooper, treasure for the club, showed an American Chinchilla. Her doe took Best of Breed in all four youth shows.

Heaven Cooper and her American Chinchilla

Holly Hall, secretary of the 4-H Club, showed a black otter Mini Rex placed third. Two of her Netherland Dwarfs took third place and her Flemish Giant took Best of Variety.

Holly Hall

Isabelle Barker showed in the youth shows. Her Jersey Wooly rabbits placed both first and second and earned Best of Variety and Best Opposite

Her Polish doe placed third. Her Jersey Wooly took four third place wins, a second place, a Best of Variety and One Best Opposite.

Isabelle Barker and one of her Jersey Wooly rabbits

Tonya Chastain of the Lawrence County Tourism presented the Lawrence County 4H Rabbit Club with a $500 grant to help put on the show.

Special thanks to the show sponsors MLB Cage & Supplies, F&M Mercantile, Madelyn Nelson an independent Paparazzi consultant, Rural King, Auto Zone, and LaPoblana Taco Truck.