Friday afternoon we loaded up and headed out. This was our first convention and didn't know what to expect.
Saturday morning we got there early as J had royalty business to do. He applied for Duke. This process included a 6 page written application, 200 question test, oral interview, showmanship, breed ID, and judging contest. (Royalty is a hard challenge. It requires the kids to learn and study, and develop skills that will help them in the rabbit project..and in life for that matter.)
|J during his oral interview. They are REQUIRED to wear the coats. He had fun during his interview and he said it was his favorite part because "they asked some really neat questions."|
Later that evening, they announced the winners, and J was Runner Up DUKE!!
|J, 1st runner up Duke!! The Duke and Duchess are holding the awards and have purple ribbons, the 1st runner ups have the blues and the 2nd runner ups have the yellow ribbons.|
We enjoyed the banquet, and being with our friends. Friends who we don't ever have to explain to "why we raise rabbits." =) They had a dance after the dinner, but we were exhausted. And none of our breeds ended up being judged Saturday and were one the board for Sunday morning, so we hit the sack.
We had no expectations for the buns J took. He took some really young Jr's, just to get some comments and to help him figure out what he needs to hang on to, and what he can get rid of. They are BABIES, and I assumed would be underdeveloped.
J took his Havanas to the table. He competed with 19 other Havanas. J's were the smallest and youngest up there. BUT--he was awarded the BEST OF BREED award with AVA, and a BEST OPPOSITE SEX with a chocolate Havana buck, named JOSE. The judge had nice comments to say about both buns. J was BEYOND THRILLED!
This meant we had to stick around until 11, when they took all of the Best Of Breed bunnies and put them all up to award the Best In Show bunny. J and I had this really long conversation, both agreeing about how it was dumb to stick around, because she was so young, she would never ever in a million years even place.
They called them up, and we stood patiently while the 27 other rabbits were lines up in the coops. The judge goes through each rabbit, and if she goes back more than once to look at your rabbit, it means you have a chance at winning. Well, she came back to look at Ava. J whispers "MOM" out the corner of his mouth. "Act cool, J..." She goes back and looks at a few more, and then comes BACK AGAIN for Ava. "MOM...DO YOU SEE THIS?" "Yes....act cool." All of this was happening out the corner of our mouths, trying to act like we weren't excited while our hearts were beating out of our chests. She came back AGAIN for Ava, this time picking her up, flipping her over, checking her toes and her belly. By this time I am convinced she's found a DQ or something and is going to use her for a example to show everyone. She keeps looking around at the other bunnies, then her eyes would come back to Ava.
"2rd Runner up goes to the Florida White." she says.
J turns to me and says "WELP, I'm done. I think she must have been choosing between Ava and that one"
"1st Runner up goes to the Mini Lop"
And today...our Best In Show winner will be.....THE HAVANA!!!!!"
Everyone started screaming and yelling J's name. Kids J has looked up to for the past year lined up to come by to shake his hand and tell him Congrats. He got a BIG hug from Yvonne, the lady that has helped him with with his Havanas. We made our way over for the honorary picture with the judge you always take with a big win. My hands were shaking and my eyes were "leaking" just a little bit.
"Congratulations....this is a beautiful animal." she told him as she shook his hand.
|J, Ava,and Judge Melissa Magee from California. (Ava was acting like the child she is,and no longer wanted to pose pretty. She was more interested in checking out that trophy.)|
This Best In Show winner was born in our barn this summer. It's always wonderful to win, but there is something so bittersweet when you win with your OWN animal. One that you worried about and took care of before they even were born, watched come into the world and grow up.
The only way this day could have gotten any better, is if D could have been there. He had to leave a half an hour before the Best In Show, to catch a plane to head to North Carolina for a week for training. He can't believe he missed it. =(
The trip home was.....