To find a rabbit show, check the American Rabbit Breeders Association (ARBA) website.
Check the show catalog to see if your Angora breed classes at the show have been sanctioned by the National Angora Rabbit Breeders Club (NARBC). An all breed show includes all Angora rabbits even if they are not NARBC sanctioned, but if sanctioned, then you may receive “sweepstakes points” from NARBC if you qualify. Sweepstakes does not award any money, contrary to what the name might imply. However, NARBC acknowledges Angora exhibitors for their work and effort.
Check the show catalog to see if your Angora breed is one of the breeds that will be shown first, or after another breed. Rabbit shows are inherently disorganized, and you should not take the published order as something absolute. However, because “Angora” starts with “A,” lots of shows will have them judged first, which means you will have little time to groom your rabbit before it is called to the table. Therefore, get most of your grooming done the day before.
Working electrical outlets are precious! Get to the show as soon as the show building doors open, and locate a working electrical outlet. If weather and the layout of the facility permits, set your grooming table and blower up outdoors. Otherwise, set up camp near the electrical outlet. Bring a very long extension cord in case you can’t set up near the outlet. Bring a power strip along so that you can share the outlet with others who might need it.
The photo below shows a typical Angora groomer’s set-up at a rabbit show. My multiple-outlet power strip is plugged into the wall outlet. I like to bring a small folding table to set my blower on, so that I don’t have to bend down and take my hands or eyes off the rabbit to turn on the blower. I can place my grooming tools and a box of tissues or a roll of paper towels on the little table. If possible, set your blower and grooming table up away from the food serving area. Try to set up where the noise from your blower will not interfere with judges dictating comments to writers. Bring a bag for your wool combings.
Make sure your rabbit carrier has a bottle holder spring on it, and bring a water bottle filled with water from home. If it is a one day show, your rabbit will not need food while at the show; you can feed him after you get home. Most rabbit shows span of period from about 7AM to 3PM.
Rabbit shows are relaxed, informal affairs. They do not have the highly charged tension of dog and horse shows. Bring a comfortable portable chair, because there may be lots of time to wait for your class to be called. If your rabbit gets Best of Breed, you may need to wait a few more hours for the Best in Show judging.
If your rabbit is disqualified for any reason, take it like a mature adult. It is not the end of the world. In the past, I have seen English Angoras disqualified for things such as no wool on the front paws, and French Angoras disqualified for having wool on the paws. It happens.
If your rabbit does not win, take it like a mature adult (even if you are a child — parents, prepare your child for how to handle losing or winning graciously). Do not say anything snarky, such as “Well, MY rabbit had the best body!” Just be pleasant, continue to give your rabbit excellent care, and try again next time.
Your support of an entry is appreciated by the other exhibitors, even if you do not currently have a highly competitive rabbit in full show coat. It is perfectly okay to enter your rabbits at a show in order to support the entry and to enjoy the companionship of the other fanciers that day. Many times, Margaret says that she has gone to her rabbitry and announced to her rabbits, “If you have wool, you are going to the show!”
If you win, be low key and considerate of the other exhibitors. If you leap about and scream with joy, you are showing a lack of appreciation to the other exhibitors whohelped to make “legs” for your rabbit.
Be pleasant, be considerate, and keep taking excellent care of your rabbit, and keep going to the shows. Your efforts will eventually be rewarded, and you will make many wonderful friends along the way.
To earn a Grand Championship, your rabbit must win three “legs.” A leg is always a win in a class or group that has a minimum of 5 rabbits shown by at least 3 exhibitors. Your rabbit must be ARBA registered and you must be an ARBA member. Your rabbit’s “leg” is sent to you by the show secretary within a few weeks after the show, if the rabbit has earned one.
Best of Variety: If there are at least 5 rabbits in the variety and least 3 exhibitors, then the Best of Variety (BOV) rabbit receives a “leg.”
Best Opposite Sex of Variety: If there are at least 5 rabbits in the sex of that variety and least 3 exhibitors, then the Best Opposite Sex of Variety (BOSV) rabbit receives a “leg.”
Best of Breed: If there are at least 5 rabbits in the breed and least 3 exhibitors, then the Best of Breed (BOB) rabbit receives a “leg.” Some breeds (such as Netherland Dwarfs, but not any of the Angoras) are also shown in groups and the same scheme applies to a group.
Best Opposite Sex of Breed: If there are at least 5 rabbits in the breed and least 3 exhibitors, then the Best Opposite Sex of Breed (BOSB) rabbit receives a “leg.”
All of the Best of Breed rabbits are eligible to compete for Best in Show.
Best In Show: If there are at least 5 rabbits in the show and least 3 exhibitors, then the Best In Show (BIS) rabbit receives a “leg.”
Reserve Best In Show: If there are at least 5 rabbits in the show, in addition to the Best In Show rabbit, and least 3 exhibitors, then the Reserve Best In Show (RBIS or RIS) rabbit receives a “leg.”