Mineral Wells Index
— By LIBBY CLUETT
SANTO – Caring for rabbits is not all fluff. As Palo Pinto County youth prepare for the county livestock show – taking place next Wednesday through Friday, Jan. 9-11 – those with the furriest of livestock show animals have a chance this weekend to ready their rabbits at a prospect show.
On Saturday, youth and rabbit aficionados will gather in Santo for the fifth annual Hoppy New Year Rabbit Show. Showing takes place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and awards and prizes take place 2-3 p.m.. In addition, the show will feature a rabbit seminar, free of charge, at 8:30 a.m.
Show organizer Rachel Molder said the show gives area youth a chance to prepare before the county show and Fort Worth Livestock Show. She said that children typically have their rabbits for 30 days. Unlike those raising steers, swine and goats, the prospect show – which allows students to have a practice show – must come close to the county show.
“This started out five years ago as a prospect show for Palo Pinto County youth, but we always had it open to everyone,” said Molder. “There are not many shows to do before county, since kids only have rabbits for about 30 days. This gave them an idea of what to expect, like a practice run, before going to county.”
The Hoppy New Year Show includes “single fryers” and “pens of three” divisions, which she said is similar to the county show. The show also has six specialty competition events. These are showmanship, costume, rabbit quiz, breed ID, hands-on judging and educational poster.
In addition the rabbit prospect show has a breeding rabbit division, the show can accommodate up to 51 breeds. In this division Molder said, “We'll have anywhere from 15 to 25 breeds, from 2-pound to 20-plus pound rabbits.”
In the show's first year, she said they had about 40 children showing and prizes included three belt buckles and about $200 to $300 in prize money. This year she said she expects 75 youth this year and has nine belt buckles and about $800 worth of prizes.
In addition to Palo Pinto County and area youth, she said the show will see kids coming from Lubbock, the Houston area, east of Dallas and as far north as Sanger, all preparing for their respective county shows as well as upcoming livestock shows in Fort Worth, Houston and San Angelo.
“The first year, we had friends who showed rabbits at the national level and they spread the word,” said Molder of the interest in the Santo show.
Saturday's Hoppy New Year Show takes place at the Santo ISD Agriculture Barn, next to the football field on Petty Road in Santo.
Attendance to the show or workshop is free. Molder added, “Any money we make [from Saturday's show], the Hoppy Show [uses to buy] the rabbits from the kids at the premium sale at [the Palo Pinto] County show.”
Molder said that rabbits offer any child a way to participate in a county livestock show.
“Rabbits are a very inexpensive project,” she said. “You can do it for under $200. A rabbit doesn't take much space, and is great for kids who live in town. And they are very quiet.”
“Rabbits are different from other projects,” she added. “Generally they only have them for 30 days, so the kid has to be dedicated to feed, water and handle [the animal]. You don't have much time to mess around.”