Amazing Kids! Magazine

Competing at the Top

By Caleb Taulbee, age 13, Ohio

 

My preparation for competing, you might say started the day I was born. The first year of my life was just the hopes and dreams of my dad and grandparents of what was to become of my life within the rabbit raising world. As soon as I could toddle around, I was soon in the family rabbitry, opening cages, riding on the cart which holds the feed buckets helping to feed, and of course playing with the rabbits. My first introduction to the rabbit shows was just within the state of Ohio. I would travel with my grandparents to attend the shows. I wasn’t yet old enough to start showing but would help them groom their rabbits and was introduced to all their friends and the older youth who would later help me at the shows.

I was soon helping to clean the rabbitry by way of my little shovel and baby wheelbarrow. I also didn’t know I was being taught along the way as to the proper terminology of rabbits and the judging as I would watch as the litters were being culled out. I wanted so much to be able to show my own rabbits at the shows. I have also been told that I once wouldn’t talk to anyone for a day. My grandparent had left for California to attend the national convention and I had thought in my mind that I would be going with them. But then the day came when I was finally able to start showing my own rabbits. By learning to just sit down when the rabbits would start to get away from me, I learned not to drop them. The older kids who were my friends soon took me under their wing. They would help me put my rabbits on the tables to be judged. As only youth can put rabbits on the table in the youth shows.

By age five, I was attending national breed shows around the country showing my rabbits. This was also the start of competition at the state level in the youth contest division. I was soon representing Ohio as Rabbit Lord. That fall was also my first time attending an American Rabbit Breeders Association National Convention. The convention was in Providence, Rhode Island. While there, I was able to take in the sites of the ocean and visit the site of Plymouth Rock. I was soon in love with being able show my rabbits, meet new friends, and travel the country.

The knowledge that I have learned and the breeding of my rabbits have been a very long road. This road takes place everyday of my life. I have my rabbits to take care of each day no matter what the weather or how tired I am. They must be fed and watered, nest boxes put in, doe’s breed, litters culled, cleaning done, and learning to handle the upset of losing rabbits. I also have to learn about the different breeds and their faults and disqualification. As well as judging and placing the rabbits on their breed standard according to the American Rabbit Breeders Association Standard of Perfection. I am also involved in rabbit clubs and volunteer my time in all aspects of putting on shows and helping others to learn within the rabbit world.

The road to competing at the top has been a very hard one. This road is one that has many others with the same dreams and desires too. I have put in months of study and practice for the written tests, breed ID, and judging that are only part of the different contests held statewide and nationally. Over the last seven years, I have been from the Atlantic to the Pacific and parts in between of our fair country competing.  My rabbits have won many very big contests along the way including two National Best of Breed Convention Contests. What an honor it was for me to have my rabbits participate in the Best in Show Judging at the American Rabbit Breeders Association National Convention. I have competed in all the youth contests nationally. I have the honor of having been the National Lord twice and the National Prince twice. I currently hold the title of the ARBA Prince. I have been on the Ohio junior judging and breed ID team for four years. As a member of this team, we have placed first in the nation for the last two years on breed ID.  I also have won my district achievement and management contests for the past two years and first runner up nationally. There are many other awards that I have won but have not listed.

In conclusion, competing at the top and trying to stay at the top takes years of hard work. My journey to stay on top continues each day!

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