Youth experience success in rabbit, poultry shows

Judge Ray Hall of Vandalia analyzes the California New Zealand Cross rabbit of Halley Eickoff, 15, with the New Bloomfield Cruisers Friday during the Callaway County Youth Expo rabbit show. Eickoff won the Supreme Champion and Class 6 Grand Champion categories with the rabbit.

Judge Ray Hall of Vandalia analyzes the California New Zealand Cross rabbit of Halley Eickoff, 15, with the New Bloomfield Cruisers Friday during the Callaway County Youth Expo rabbit show. Eickoff won the Supreme Champion and Class 6 Grand Champion categories with the rabbit. Photo by Brittany Ruess.

AUXVASSE — Reflecting on the 2014 Callaway County Youth Expo rabbit show, Judge Ray Hall said the youth’s showmanship was the best he’s ever seen from top to bottom.

“The kids that have put rabbits on my table today have been wonderful,” Hall said. “I am just terribly impressed with the rabbit kids today.”

Hall said he looks for specific traits based on breed, but overall identifies body type, meat quality, points on ears, length of ears and color and markings as he judges the rabbits.

He was particularly impressed with Halley Eickoff’s seven-week-old California New Zealand rabbit. Eickoff, 15, is a member of the New Bloomfield Cruisers and Friday’s rabbit show was her first. She went home with the title of Supreme Champion and Class 6 Grand Champion among other winnings.

Eickoff credited the success to her friend Rachel Hasty, 14, also with the New Bloomfield Cruisers, who earned a showmanship title and Class 6 Reserve Champion. Eickoff said Hasty gave her tips on what it takes to have good showmanship.

“If you have a good teacher you’ll get it right,” Eickoff said.

Hasty is a seasoned 4-H competitor, guessing she’s participated in shows for about five years. In addition to rabbits, Hasty also shows horses, sheep, goats and poultry. The challenge and interaction with animals keeps her coming back every year.

“(I enjoy) how you can connect with (the animals) and how they trust you,” Hasty said.

When analyzing Allison Blasnett’s black senior buck, Hall said he could tell the animal is well loved.

Blasnett, 13, of Hatton was given her rabbit named Angus (because it’s black like an Angus cow) three years ago from a friend.

“I wanted something cuddly besides a dog or a cat,” Blasnett said.

Since then, Blasnett said she gives him a lot of carrots and even more love.

Interaction with humans was a priority for Blasnett as she prepared to show Angus at the expo on Friday. She also checked for ear mites, nasal discharge, watery eyes, stomach infection and any broken bones.

Rabbit showing was a family affair Friday for the Krumm Family of Holts Summit. Siblings Amber, April and Alec showed their Holland Lop buck Mopsey and Holland Lop sister rabbits Peter, Rexy and Pumpkin.

Amber Krumm, 17, said her family doesn’t live on a large plot of land and they are unable to raise large livestock and so they turned to rabbits.

“We bought one and fell in love and have had (rabbits) ever since,” Amber Krumm said.

The Krumms also participated in the poultry show. Competing against one another creates some fun siblings rivalry, Amber Krumm said, but it also allows the three to bounce ideas off of one another.

“If one from our family is successful then it’s fine,” Amber Krumm said.

She decided to raise a Polish chicken because of it’s unconventional look.

“You see a normal chicken and there’s nothing really special about it,” Krumm said. “When you see that one you take a double take.”

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