COLUMBIA — Mattie Marohl carefully positioned a fluffy, dark brown rabbit on top of a cage as she prepared her long-eared companion for the Missouri 4-H and Missouri FFA Association rabbit show Thursday evening.
Marohl, 17, started out with just one pet rabbit but eventually acquired more as she began to show them.
"How most people start out is they have a pet rabbit, and then they get curious," she said. "A lot of people just end up bringing their pets, which is good for them. It's great experience and they learn a lot."
Participants between the ages of 8 and 22 were able to bring their rabbits and have them assessed by the judges. Rabbits are examined and judged based upon their body type and condition, and entrants are evaluated for their showmanship, or how well they handle their rabbits during judging.
Kelly Wilsdorf, daughter of event superintendent Brenda Wilsdorf, said the rabbit show provides good livestock experience for many contestants.
"Each person has to pick a breed, buy and raise their rabbit and make sure that they meet the requirements," Wilsdorf said.
Kody Walters, 13, showed 19 rabbits at the fair, and is currently in his fifth year of 4-H membership. Kody showed Californian rabbits, a breed which is noted for the contrast between its white fur and the dark coloring of its eyes and feet.
"My rabbits have red eyes, black ears, black tails and black feet," Kody said.
Danny Nadler, 14, said that he began showing rabbits after his sister got one to keep as a pet.
"My sister got her first rabbit, and I watched her mess around with it so I decided that I wanted one too," Danny said. "Then we just decided that we wanted to start taking them to shows."
Danny also said that his favorite part of showing rabbits was getting to put his pets on display.
"I think the best part is being able to show them off," Danny said. "I really like showing off my rabbits."
Supervising editor is Jake Kreinberg.