A rainy, gray Wednesday morning didn't slow down the Breeding Rabbit competition at the 56th Annual Navarro County Youth Expo. Turnout was lower than recent years and the judging went quickly and smoothly.
“We had about 100 entries,” Co-chairperson Daryl Shelton said. “A lot of kids lost bunnies because of the cold. The entry deadline was Dec. 13 and although the kids are allowed to substitute another animal in the same class, the cold weather we had at the beginning of March made this a rough year.”
Of the 100 entries only about 80 were shown in the final competition.
“Rabbits adjust with the temperature,” Co-chairperson Rosemarie Goff said. “Their fur fluctuates with the temperature. It is also harder for them to raise babies in the cold.”
Alex Harbuck, winner of the 2013 Breeding Rabbit Grand Champion title, added another buckle and banner to her collection Wednesday.
Harbuck, of Blooming Grove FFA, has shown for the past seven years and won with her Californian Senior Doe.
“You have to work with the animals to get them to cooperate,” Harbuck said of her success. “We also had all our animals in a barn so it was easier to control the temperature when the weather changed.”
Reserve Champion honors went to Jacob Boyer of Blooming Grove FFA with his white New Zealand doe.
“You have to try your hardest to stay committed,” Boyer said. “We had to build on to our barn to keep the animals warm.”
Jonathon Williams of Rice 4-H won Senior Showmanship Grand Champion and Peyton Duncan of Blooming Grove/Barry 4-H took Junior Grand Showmanship honors.
Judging the Breeding Rabbit competition was Tony Bell of Alvarado.
“The New Zealand and Californians were pretty competitive this year,” Bell said. “The cold weather can cause the Califorians' coats to smut. The weather can also impact the does breeding behavior.”