I'm a member of a forum anything rabbit, and recently a member posted saying they we're not too excited for a show due to lack of excitement at the show.
I feel for this person because I truly understand where they are coming from. Therefore I'd like to write a post on not only finding that excitement, but for overcoming your shy side and even some "breed promotion".
I'd like to first example myself about 6 years ago. I had been a very shy child. I was always the one right next to mommy's side and hiding behind her, and the fear I'd have to be around other people/children I did not know. And oh my, SHARING with others was the worst!
When I received my first rabbit, my mom had only heard about 4-H. When I got my second, she had signed me up, and getting my third and pedigreed "show rabbit" I was thrown into my first show a couple weeks later.
I attended meetings and talked to other youth who insisted themselves upon me. In no time my cocoon bloomed into a butterfly of compassion.
Here are a few things you can do:
1) ASK QUESTIONS- Don't be afraid to explore and learn more! I've always been told a smart person will ask questions. Ask if you could pet an owners rabbit and ask questions about it, its fur, head, color, or where it came from. You can even ask more "personal" questions what that person likes about that particular breed and why or if they have another they prefer.
2) PROMOTE- Your self, your herd, your breed. Setting up a grooming table(which can be as simple as a carpet square or towel on top of your show carriers) and setting your bunny on top to "romp" will gain attractors. Remember everybody is different and have different eyes to different looks. Encourage people who stop to feel free to "touch" (cause we all know once we touch it, we want it ;) and ask questions. Be courteous, open, and honest. When person says, "It's not my kind of rabbit." Understand and agree in their point of view as we all have different taste. Unwanted pressure to get "your breed" even if it lacks exhibitors isn't very fun to be put upon. If you think so and would like to "push", do it in a kind way and ask if they honestly are interested and if so you are willing to help, and if they would like a business card. Have a white board with your rabbitry name and your breed name set up.
3) LEARN MORE- You cannot learn enough about your own breed! TALK to judges, TALK to exhibitors. If you don't understand, then you don't understand. After judging consider talking to the Judge right after regarding your questions. Remember asking questions DURING placing can be against ARBA rules. Wait until the judge is done talking, and get them THAT moment if it is concerning a serious problem i.e. malocclusion, split penis, mismatch toenails, broken bones, eye spots, weight, anything DQ. Most times, the judge is willing to take a moment to tell you about it, sometimes even show you, and don't be afraid to ask if you do so politely to see the problem and ask questions, if you have more than one wait until judging is over as this could frustrate the judge or other exhibitors. Don't be afraid to ask after judging if you could get a run down on your rabbit(s) that is more hands on on whats good, bad, and what you could improve on, and going about so. FIND OUT what pinched hindquarters are. FIND OUT what long shoulders mean. FIND OUT how you can improve density to fur. Thank the judge for their time and knowledge, and always for judging.
4) EXHIBITORS- In following talking to judges, don't be afraid to ask fellow exhibitors if you can feel their winning rabbits, and even ask if the judge can tell you why of course, if it is agreed by the owner. Comparisons are great when building bases. Ask exhibitors if they are willing to show you a little bit on judging your breed, and always thank them for their time and knowledge. If they turn you down, don't take it personally, there are few who are reserved/competitive. If you are having trouble finding exhibitors try researching them online and seeing if they are attending shows you may be and try to meet up at a show one day.
5) GET INVOLVED- Though most of this is about getting involved, there's always more! Youth don't be afraid to look into 4-H and FFA and adults too! There are several clubs who would die to have a leader for a rabbit group. I'd only recommend it to the extremely dedicated who are willing to help youth get started the RIGHT way, as for doing team research with no miscommunicating with the parents. Find answers to questions and encourage more, our youth are our future, and not only are we speaking the rabbit world but on teaching life skills, team work and communication, responsibility and so much more.
If I think of more I will post more. Feel free to comment on this post with your own suggestions! 4-H has made me such a social person and has taught me how to communicate with others and understand myself and people so much better. It has made me love to take lead, teach, and encourage. I too love giving speeches and presentations because of being "involved".
Sorry for any misspellings or bad grammar, it's a tad late(12:30midnight) and I'm on my laptop! LOL.
I'll be attending the Turlock show tomorrow. This will be the third show in a row all this year attending and not showing, unless I beg the secretary if she'll accept an entry... lol.
One last thing, R.I.P. Erb's Boulder who will forever be held in my heart. I'll try and get my post up soon that is dedicated to him.
Until next time,
Wooly World Rabbitry