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Wriggling noses, floppy ears, fluffy tails: Crowds hop on over to Coliseum for rabbit show

April 20, 2019

The bunny trail was a bit muddy Saturday, but it led straight to Fort Wayne’s Memorial Coliseum.

A cold, rainy day did not deter hundreds and hundreds of rabbits -- and just as many people -- from hopping along to the Fort Wayne venue for the MI-OH State Line Rabbit Breeders Association Easter Rabbit Show.

At the show, you could find tiny rabbits and 20-pound rabbits that could be mistaken for small dogs. There were rabbits the color of Godiva chocolate bunnies, gray rabbits, tan rabbits and tricolor rabbits sporting white, gray and beige fur.

There were long-haired rabbits with floppy ears and short-haired white rabbits with pink eyes and noses.

But the Easter Bunny was nowhere to be found.

He obviously had other things to do, joked Carolyn McKay-Pfeiffer of West Bloomfield, Michigan, who brought a junior male American Fuzzy Lop named Tidal Wave to be prodded by judges searching in vain for another kind of mythical creature.

“There’s no perfect rabbit,” said McKay-Pfeiffer.

But that doesn’t keep rabbit aficionados from trying. McKay-Pfieiffer got started in the hobby six years ago when her daughter, Madison, now 20, got involved in a 4-H project.

“She’s off at college now, and I like them a lot, and I like rabbit people,” McKay-Pfeiffer said. “They’re still her (Madison’s) rabbits, but I’m showing them anyway.”

Mary Poutter, one of McKay-Pfeiffer’s bunny buddies, said some rabbit owners came to the show because they’re looking for awards that will put their breeding at a premium.

The Ortonville, Michigan, woman was holding Vinnie, a huge German tricolor, in her arms -- a beautiful bunny indeed. “Oh, he’ll get a lot bigger,” she said. “He’s only five months old.”

Vinnie is an international award winner, Poutter said -- but she’s not in it for prizes. The rabbit won that award  because at that particular show “he was the only one of his breed,” she said.

She enjoys the rabbit as a pet. “He’s just a lover,” she said.

A few rows away, Synthia Brown, 19, of Newcastle, was waiting for a judge to enter her verdict on her English Adorra rabbit named Opal -- a large, long-haired breed. This time, the bunny got good grades for her super-fluffiness.

Sometimes it hurts when a judge is less complimentary of one of her animals, Brown said. But mostly, she tries not to take it personally.

“It gives me an opportunity to breed whatever it is out, and tells me which one is going to be good for breeding,” she said. “You’re always trying to improve.” 

David Moll of Wauseon, Ohio, coordinator of the show, said it is a first-time event for the club, attracting 49 different breeds. It’s believed there are now more than 150 different kinds of rabbits, show exhibitors said.

Moll declined to provide attendance figures, but he said the show was planning a Christmas-season edition at the Coliseum for Nov. 29 and 30.

The show continues 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. today, with the best-in-show awards taking place around 2:30 p.m. The show is open to the public and admission is free. 

rsalter@jg.net