by Laurie Stroupe
I once heard a story from a rabbit exhibitor that disturbed me. The exhibitor said that they had suggested to a friend to show a small senior rabbit as a junior. The exhibitor was pleased that the advice had the desired effect and the rabbit was chosen BOB. I can’t remember exactly, but it seems that maybe the rabbit also won BIS because whatever the prize was that day, it was highly desirable, and the friend won it.
There is no delicate way of putting it. Showing a rabbit out of class on purpose is cheating. There was a junior rabbit there that came in second that should have taken the class. And, if there were five rabbits and three exhibitors, that rabbit was cheated out of a leg as well as the privilege to compete for specials. Maybe the owner of the second place rabbit (the true first place junior) wanted to win the prize, too.
I know a relatively new breeder who showed a rabbit out of class, too. This time, it was an accident and the rabbit was shown as a senior when it should have been shown as a junior. That rabbit came in second. I have more sympathy for a rabbit shown accidentally, but the rabbit should have still been disqualified when the error was discovered. The four rabbits below the junior should have all moved up one step.
It is important to keep track of the ages of your animals. Some computer programs will do that for you, noting if a junior will turn senior before the date of the show. I like to keep lists with the senior date on them. That way I am always aware of which rabbits turn senior when.
It is important for your reputation and your ability to enjoy your hobby that you keep tabs on the ages and never give in to the temptation to show out of class. I have a very small doe that just turned senior. I’m sure she would compete very well as a junior (she just won a BOS), but at 2.08, she’ll never compete well as a senior – ever. But there is absolutely no way I would risk my reputation on it. If you do it even once and get caught, your reputation is ruined for good.
I’ve heard another story in which a person was called down at the show table for showing out of class. It’s an embarrassing story to hear. I can’t imagine how it was for the people there that day, let alone the one caught in the act. I do believe that person’s hobby ended on that day.
Whenever I see the exhibitor who suggested showing out of class, I often wonder about the mature-looking juniors being shown. Now it is possible that that exhibitor has had a change of heart and would never do that. But just supporting a friend to show a rabbit out of class is enough to put the doubt in my mind. It’s just not worth it.