Watch Now: Mattoon Rabbit Show Attracts 300 Exhibitors From 21 States | Local

MATTOON — The Regional Rabbit Show Saturday at the Cross County Mall drew 300 exhibitors from 21 states with 3,500 rabbits of all shapes and sizes.

The lineup of animals at the Rabbit Renegades Power Surge Summer Show was exemplified by those brought in by Monty and Danielle York from Greens Fork, Indiana, and their 12-year-old daughter, Leah. They showed 12 Dutch dwarf rabbits, weighing up to 2½ pounds each, and two Flemish giants named Wanda and Big Poppa, weighing 22 pounds each.

“That’s how it happened. Now we have the smallest and largest breeds,” Danielle York said of her family’s choice of rabbits. She noted that laid-back Flemish Giants would follow them home like dogs, while Dutch Rabbits are a little skittish and skittish.






Leah York, 12, of Greens Fork, Indiana, pets one of her Flemish Giant Rabbits, Wanda, during the Rabbit Renegades Power Surge Summer Show Saturday at the Cross County Mall in Mattoon.


ROB STROUD, GAZETTE & TIMES-COURIER NEWSPAPER


Saturday’s show was sanctioned by the American Rabbit Breeders Association. One of the judges, Josh Humphries, of Harrison, Tennessee, estimated that at least 40 rabbit breeds were represented at the show. He said it ranged from relatively rare breeds, such as the American Sable and Silver Fox, to very popular breeds such as the Rex, which was represented there by 200 rabbits.

Andrea Evans of Lyons, Colorado brought long, fine-haired Angora rabbits to the show, including an English Angora named Hot Carl who was the “litter choice” sired by her father, Carl. She said Angoras are actually covered in wool, which is coveted for the yarn because it’s one of the warmest wools available.

“Usually the temperament of Angoras is calm because you’re constantly grooming and touching them,” Evans said.







English angora rabbit

Andrea Evans of Lyons, Colorado shows off her English Angora rabbit, Hot Carl, during the Rabbit Renegades Power Surge Summer Show Saturday at the Cross County Mall in Mattoon.


ROB STROUD, GAZETTE & TIMES-COURIER NEWSPAPER


During Saturday’s show, Evans and fellow Angora owners and other members of the close-knit rabbit farming community compared notes and figured out how they were all doing. Many children were present with their families and showed rabbits.

Show judge Ryan Harrah of Indianapolis said he grew up raising rabbits because his parents met through that lawsuit and his grandfather also raised rabbits. He breeds Mini Rex and Florida White rabbits, as well as a new Mini California breed.

“It’s very family oriented. That’s one of the things I love about this hobby,” Harrah said. He added that raising rabbits is also an affordable hobby, so it’s a great option for 4-Hs and other young people interested in raising animals.







judge bunny

American Rabbit Breeders Association judge Ryan Harrah of Indianapolis judges the rabbits at the Rabbit Renegades Power Surge summer show Saturday at the Cross County Mall in Mattoon.


ROB STROUD, GAZETTE & TIMES-COURIER NEWSPAPER


Saturday’s show was put on by the Rabbit Renegades club, which has held regional shows at the Mattoon Mall and throughout the Midwest for the past few years. Club chairman Bob Donnell of Mattoon said he was happy to bring overnight visitors to Mattoon with the shows, which are sponsored by the Rural King, KC Summers and Mattoon tourism fund grants.

Show judge Randy Shumaker of Tollhouse, Calif., said he appreciates the Rabbit Renegades were able to resume holding larger-scale shows and bringing breeders together following the disruptions caused by the pandemic. of COVID-19.

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Judge Josh Humphries of Harrison, Tennessee, said he was happy to have a spacious, air-conditioned space available again at the mall, in the former JC Penney space this year, to help make a bunny show possible. in July.

“The Rabbit Renegades have really made a big difference in the hobby,” said Dean Belcher of MLB Cage & Supplies in Greencastle, Indiana. He said MLB helps outfit Rabbit Renegades events, which tend to attract more exhibitors than other area shows.

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