First, check in. For 4-H shows, check-in lasts about an hour. For ARBA you can check in whenever, but they are busy, so you will want to arrive earlier rather than later. If you are late and you miss your show, you miss your show.
After we’ve checked in, we look for the other angora breeders. We are almost always together. When you find the others, you always politely ask where you should set up, unless there is some obvious space for you. It’s nice to have a table to set your cages on so that you don’t have to bend over so much.
After you’ve located a spot and set up your table, give all your rabbits water and food. Next, find the table where your rabbits will be judged and determine where your rabbits are in the line-up. Then set up your chair and grooming table. French angora people usually set up their tables outside because of the blowers and blowing wool. As soon as you can, start blowing and grooming. French angoras are normally last, but occasionally the judges switch up the order. This happened at the Gridley show. We hadn’t started grooming soon enough, and not all the rabbits were ready when we were called up. This cost Duchess a leg. Don’t make the same mistake we did.
After you have blown your rabbits, you can hope it is close to show time. Use the slicker comb to spruce them up just before taking them to the table. If there are comment cards already placed on the table, match your rabbit to its card and put your rabbit in its designated space and then turn the card over. When all your rabbits are at the table, move to the opposite side and let the judging begin.
Following the judging, give your rabbit a treat while you look at what the vendors have to sell. You can find cages, water bottles and crocks, treats, hay, feed, cage repair items, brushes, books, nesting boxes, grooming tables, gifts and more. Breeders will also sell used items, cheaper than retail. While your rabbit is still on break, also walk around and look at the rabbits for sale. For yourself, you can usually find sodas and sandwiches at the snack bar.
Whether or not you are participating in the show, you will find some breeders that you can talk to. We have learned so much from going to shows. We learn from breeders about grooming and feed. We learn from judges about the disqualifications for French angora. For example, we thought Blue would be DQ’d for her torn ear. However, we also thought the judges might not even notice it. One judge didn’t even notice it; none of them DQ’d her. I learned about rabbit health from showmanship and about rabbit breeds from preparing for royalty contests.