Hannah Brink holds her rabbit, “Chilla,” who won Best in Show and Best Fancy Monday at the Eastern New Mexico State Fair. (Jill McLaughlin Photo)
Chilla likes to run around, grabbing everyone’s interest. But Monday, he sat with his legs properly tucked beneath his body and he kept his nose still.
Yet, he still got all the attention.
“I cried a little and I was happy,” said his owner, Hannah Brink, 11, of Diamond H 4-H club in Roswell. “This is the only thing I do and I love it.”
Chilla, a Mini Lop buck, was awarded Best Fancy and Best in Show at the Eastern New Mexico State Fair.
This year was Brink’s third year showing rabbits, but her first time taking home a prize, she said.
“We had some beautiful rabbits and great kids,” said Laura Ridge, barn superintendent. “Everything went smoothly.”
The rabbit competition included 45 competitors from across the state who entered 214 rabbits.
“He really loved the judge,” Ridge said of Chilla. “He was the best mini out of 25 best rabbits, out of 214.”
The judge this year was Raenelle Harris of Texas.
Brink said she enjoyed raising Chilla, named for his grey coloring that resembled a chinchilla. Chilla is now 2 years old, and she’s raised him since he was a baby. But, the work was tough.
“It was hard work,” Brink said. “We’d get up every morning to feed him before school and we had to work with him a lot.”
The show rabbits must be trained and become accustomed to being handled. They have to learn to tuck their heads and keep their feet beneath them, Brink said.
“I also had to brush his hair,” she said.
The work was worth it, though.
“It’s a lot of fun,” Brink said. “It’s fun having responsibilities. I want to be a teacher, but I like raising rabbits. It’s a lot of fun.”
Rebekah Smith, 14, of High Plains Tumbleweed 4-H Club, was awarded Grand Champion Meat Pen.
“Raising meat pens is interesting because you have to have three exact rabbits that weigh the same,” Smith said.
Smith, who has shown several breeds of rabbits for the past four years, said she had to ensure that each of the three rabbits were fed the same amount of feed and water at all times.
“I was actually really excited that my group won,” Smith said.
Smith also competes in home economics. She plans to raise rabbits as a hobby as she grows up, she said. Next year, she will show Tan rabbits.
“You get to learn how they mate and how different breeds are known,” Smith said, about why she enjoys raising rabbits.