How To Ramrod at a Rabbit Show

Is A Ramrod Needed? – The very first question to ask is whether this particular breed at this particular show needs a ramrod.  A separate ramrod works best with large classes and/or large breeds.  It also works best when there are comment cards, so that the ramrod has his or her own source of information.

If a ramrod has to constantly interrupt the writer to give information in order to ramrod, it’s not really that much help.  Most writers can just as easily say to the exhibitors that there are two solid senior bucks as to say it to a ramrod.

But let’s say it’s a large show.  I remember one show in particular when Hollands had 52 solid senior bucks.  I was the ramrod in show A and there was a separate writer.

Keeping Rabbits On The Table – I used the comment cards to count the numbers in each class.  In this case, we had more in the class than would fit on the table.  I spent a lot of time counting the rabbits on the table and in the holding coops, plus the number of comment cards that had already been completed to calculate how many rabbits needed to come to the table.

(If the show is using control sheets with no comment cards, you may want to jot the class numbers down on a sheet of paper, so that you don’t have to interrupt the writer very often.)

Besides calling the class to the table, I kept track of which rabbits were new to the table.  Some judges use chips or coins and don’t need that help.  One judge I worked with was very flexible, so we decided to use a pencil to show the line between rabbits he’d already looked at once and the new ones I had called to the table.  Each situation will be different.

It is important that the ramrod tell the judge when the table is complete.


Closing A Class – There is some judgment in when to call a class if not all of the rabbits have been brought to the table.  Some show catalogs may print that each class will be called three times and then closed.  I often try to figure out who is missing and send someone after that exhibitor.  While I do believe that exhibitors should be paying attention, some have children to help or other breeds to attend to, and everyone has to dash to the restroom from time to time.

Let the judge know how many times you’ve called and anything you may have done to scare up the last exhibits, but let the judge make the call to close a table.


Caution – be sure to call each class even if you think that you have all of the rabbits on the table.  From time to time, a card is lost, so you may mistakenly think your class is complete.  By not calling even once, you don’t give the exhibitors the chance to come to the table, which would help you discover that there are actually too many rabbits on the table for the cards you have.


Too Many – Occasionally, you’ll have more rabbits on the table than cards.  Often, you’ll find the other cards in a different class or variety.  Sometimes, you may need to conduct a survey of the ear numbers and find out which out is the extra.  Sometimes you may have to send the owner to the show secretary to figure things out.  Sometimes, the card will be in open or youth by mistake.  Other times, the exhibitor will pop themselves on the forehead and exclaim, “This rabbit is a doe (or buck or junior)!” 

By working ahead of the judge, you should have the time to sort out the issue before the judge is ready to start placing that class.


Keep It Simple – It can be tempting to call all four (or 6) classes for a variety to the table if there is room.  Please let me caution against that.  I was writing at a show in South Carolina once.  The day was long and some folks looked over my shoulder and tried to help out.  I had called senior bucks and senior does.  They calculated there was room for the intermediates and juniors, too (we had an unusually long table that day).  We spent the next 25 minutes trying to separate out the seniors from the intermediates and the intermediates from the juniors.

To keep things rolling, call the seniors.  Once you have counted them and made should that the bucks are before the does, then you can skip a coop and call the intermediates.  After you’ve checked them, skip a coop and call the juniors. 


Send Them Back – We think of a ramrods job as mainly getting rabbits to the table.  But it is equally important to make sure that rabbits go back in a timely fashion, too.  Random rabbits on the table can be confusing to a judge and can really slow a show down. 

Once you see the size of the breed and look at the number of judging and holding coops, talk with the judge, if necessary about her or his preference in sending class winners back and putting them in holding spaces.  This choice may vary from breed to breed, so when you get a different situation, don’t hesitate to ask again.

Class Order – If you are lucky, your paperwork or comment cards have already been sorted in class order.  If not, don’t panic.  The order is listed in the Standard of Perfection.  If you don’t have your own with you, the judge is sure to have a copy. 

There are a few exceptions.  New varieties may not be listed in your book, for example. 

Groups are also listed.  You’ll want to pay attention to those, especially for Netherland Dwarfs.  The judge will often pause to pick group winners.  Make sure there are enough holding coups available for the judge to bring the variety winners back to the judging table.  Sometimes it doesn’t pay to get so far ahead that the judge doesn’t have room to work.

Odd And Ends – The judge may ask for help such as moving all of the rabbits for the next class down to her or his end of the table. 

If exhibition rabbits come to the table, ask the exhibitors if they have their working standards.  Often they will say they forgot them or have them “somewhere.”  By asking now, they can either scratch the rabbit or start looking for their standard.

Next article: control sheet

Next Article: Completing the control sheet