A bunch of bunnies gave it their all and kept judges hopping Tuesday at the Roosevelt County Fair Rabbit Show.
The special interest rabbit competition makes it possible for children to show animals when they might not be able to raise cattle, pigs, or other large animals.
“I’ve been showing rabbits since I was 5,” said Michael Nicholes, 16, of Portales. “We’ve gone through several different breeds. First we had Florida whites, New Zealands and Californias. We got rid of the Florida whites to make room for our different colors of New Zealands.”
They started out with 15 rabbits. His family finally built a rabbit barn.
Being rabbits, the population soon swelled to 200, give or a take a few.
Nicholes won first place with his Californian senior buck. A senior doe won Best in Breed.
He also placed fifth in meat pen, where rabbits are sold for consumption.
Most competing rabbit owners belong to the American Rabbit Breeders Association, an organization dedicated to the promotion, development and improvement of domestic rabbits and cavies, or guinea pigs.
Each rabbit is judged on strict guidelines. The slightest imperfection, such as a blaze of color on a rabbit’s face, or even the loss of a nail, can result in a disqualification.
The rabbit show has been part of the fair for more than 35 years.
Meat pen Grand Champions can sell for up to $1,400 or as low as $800.
Madison Belcher, 9, of Portales, won Reserve Champion and Colter Lamb, 9, of Portales, won Grand Champion in the meat pen.
Andrew Underbrink, 10, of Portales took California Best in Show for his senior doe Sundae, along with a few ribbons for first, second and third-place finishes. Andrew said he’s been showing rabbits for two years.
“It’s fun. You make a lot new friends if you can,” Andrew said.
Some might call it rabbit fever.
“Well,” said Andrew’s father, Scott Underbrink, “when you have so many people who love animals, someone is going to have some kind of show to see who has the best one.”
Daily tickets: Adults $ 4.00, Child (5-17) $ 2.00
Season pass: Adults $15, Child (5-17) $8, Animal Exhibitors $3
Season pass will not be honored on Sunday
Today, Special Needs Day
• 8 a.m. - 10 p.m., Doors open on Home Arts and Youth Buildings
• 9 a.m., Visual Appraisal Production Steers (Pavilion)
• 10:30 a.m., Bill Cathey Rope Tricks (Slab)
• Noon, Entry deadline for Open Youth Horse Show (Fair Office)
• 1 p.m., Roosevelt County Bred Goat Show (Show Arena)
Booster Market Goat Show (Show Arena)
Market Goat First Year Feeders (Show Arena)
Market Goat Show (Show Arena)
Market Goat Showmanship (Jr. 9-13) and (Sr. 14-19)
• 1:30 p.m., Splash and Friends Puppetry
• 5 -10 p.m., Doors open on Merchants Building
• 5 p.m., Roosevelt County Bred Lamb Show (Show Arena)
Booster Market Lamb Show (Show Arena)
Market Lamb First Year Feeders (Show Arena)
Market Lamb Show (Show Arena)
Market Lamb Showmanship (Jr. 9-13) and (Sr. 14-19)
• 5:30 p.m., Special Needs Horse and Pet Exhibit (Pavilion)
• 5 p.m. - Midnight, Carnival
• 6 p.m., Entries open for the Team Roping
• 7-9 p.m., Square Dancers (Slab)
• 9 p.m.-Midnight, Grupo Cielo (Slab)