Friday, November 21, 2008

Longest Day of the Year

I bet you think the longest day of the year is the first day of summer. Well for 2008 you are wrong! This year the longest day was Monday, October 27, first day of judging at the ARBA Convention in Louisville.

Fuzzy Lops were scheduled to start judging, both open and youth, at 8 am. So the show room was buzzing by 6 am when it opened. At least those of us with wool breeds were there early. I got up at 5 am because I had so many rabbits to groom before starting to judge. But it was a case of hurry up and wait, when we learned that no judging tables had been assigned to Fuzzies. We had to wait until 500+ Jersey Woolys were done. Yikes!

It wasn't long until we all felt like this guy--let us get on the show table! We came here to show rabbits! Around 2 pm we located an empty judging table with 12 coops and no holding coops for youth Fuzzies. Far from ideal but the kids, rabbits, parents, helpers and judge were all ready to go. Around 4 pm, judging tables were available to start judging of the open Fuzzy Lops.

Some gorgeous broken senior bucks have been placed in the holding coops. These guys ended up in the top 5 of the class. Lookin' good guys!

Melissa M (CA) and Scott W (CO) are comparing the class winners to select variety and then BOB and BOS. By this time it was past midnight. The judges are looking pretty happy considering the hour, aren't they?

The youth winners pose with their judge. Pictured: Jamie F and her solid junior doe (BOSB), Carol G (judge), and Jenny H with her broken senior buck (BOB).

Open winners pictured with smiles (are they happy to win or glad that the day is finally over?). Pictured: Dawn G with her broken senior doe (BOSB), Melissa M (judge), Scott W (judge), and Brian H with his broken senior buck (BOB).
Show day was long and tiring but it was still a fantastic experience. I have never seen such a hard working, even tempered group of exhibitors. Everyone pitched in and worked hard to keep the rabbits carried to the table and the show running smoothly. Thank you to everyone! Great get some rest!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Convention Day 2

OK, so I admit the title to this post lacks creativity. Well the second day (Sunday) that I was at Convention was a day for re-grouping. We reconnected with old friends. Below is Amy Arata and her son Jake, along with Marilyn Kohler. They are sitting in the AFLRC booth which was fabulous! Jennifer Burns planned and put it together, along with help collecting old photos from Ginger Mendat and Helen Moore. Wow! What a great job!

It was a day for selling rabbits and talking to Fuzzy Lop fans from all over the country and world. Yumiko from Japan bought the cute sable point buck and they both pose with me for a photo.

It was a day for getting the rabbits settled, getting all our entries fed, watered and groomed. Brian brought his second group of rabbits to Convention on Sunday and starting grooming as soon as they were all cooped. No one can claim he doesn't work hard on his rabbits. More coming tomorrow. If you have photos from Convention, please send them to me by email. I would love more pictures of week to share.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Off to the Races

This is the story of traveling from California to the ARBA Convention in Louisville, KY. I doubt that a major military invasion requires more planning than this trip. Months ago we started checking flights and airfares looking for the best deal. Tickets were purchased and crate space for rabbits was reserved and paid in March. That turned out to be a brilliant move because the price per crate increased from March to October when we flew from $150/crate to $275/crate each way!

Several of us left San Francisco on the same flight to Atlanta. In total we had the rabbits for at least 6 exhibitors on our flight. You can imagine how happy the Delta staff were to see us when we showed up at the airport ~3:30 - 4 am. Now you know why Jenny, Susie, and Katie look so sleepy in the photo below (plus there was some story about noisy traffic that kept them awake but I bet they were just excited!).

Our flight was scheduled to leave at 6 am (and it did by the way. Yeah Delta!), but we knew we needed to be at the airport extra early to be sure everything was done on time. When you fly with rabbits as excess baggage, there are extra forms to complete and lots of stickers to go on the crates. The agents at the Delta desk are nearly always pleasant, but still hassled. Some of them know what to do with the rabbits and some don't. Plus it is necessary to get those rabbits through security and they don't just hop through the scanner. There is just no way to predict exactly what will happen and how long it will take. When you fly with your rabbits to a show, everything works out in the end 99% of the time. But when you fly with your rabbits, something you didn't expect happens 99% of the time!
The punch line to this story is that we made it to Louisville on time with all the rabbits. Some of the rabbits were heat stressed when we arrived which hasn't happened before in my experience (that is the thing that fell in the 99% unexpected). We are talking to Delta about that. All of the rabbits recovered and there was no permanent effect (remember 99% of the time all ends well).
More on Convention tomorrow.....

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Congratulations America!

Please humor me. This post has nothing to do with American Fuzzy Lop rabbits. It has everything to do with the national election we held yesterday.

Whether your candidate won or not, whether you agreed with the propositions that passed or failed, you have to feel a huge swell of pride to be a citizen of the United States this morning. It has been a long time, too long really, since we have seen such enthusiasm and excitement about our country. We had a Presidential election that brought the younger generations out to vote. Old timers like me voted with passion also. "Diversity" wasn't just a catch phrase that was applied to our serious candidates; it was a fact. The campaign itself was long and hard fought, but we saw Senator McCain give a gracious speech admitting defeat and offering to support our new President's administration. (Make some notes about that speech in your good sportsmanship/loser notebook for future reference.)

I'm not so naive to imagine the problems facing America--terrorism, economic decline, environmental damage, international stability--have vanished simply because we elected a new President who is charismatic and intelligent. But I do buy into President-elect Obama's mantra of "Yes we can". The exciting thing is that so many other American also believe that we can make a difference. I grew up being told that this is a nation that holds out possibility for success to everyone, no matter what their race, social or economic status. Thanks so much fellow Americans for voting yesterday to support that premise.

Come back tomorrow for photos and reports on the ARBA Convention in Louisville.