Tag Archives: ARBA Convention
The 89th ARBA Convention at Wichita, Kansas has just concluded. Technology has made it possible for us living near and far to get almost instant updates on all that was happening which made it more bearable not being there in person.
I am sure the feeling of being present on location is very much different from looking at photos and watching videos. Certain things like the intensity, energy and massiveness of such an event can only be felt on the ground.
Though I have made a promise to myself to try and attend the ARBA Convention yearly with the sole intention of visiting my beloved bunny friends, God had a different plan for me this year. I was blessed with the opportunity to briefly visit 3 different states in the USA and one of which is one of the 7 wonders of the world. Until today, I am still awestruck by how massive it is and its energy is beyond the imagination. Photos are unable to describe how majestic this place is.
It really feels like I was at the top of the world and the feeling is impossible to describe, simply out of this world. And that was one of the things I was preoccupied with when most rabbit breeders were busy preparing for Convention.
Nice as it may seems, there were hard work involved in everything and in everything there is a price. That brings me to the next part of the intention of this post.
I have known the wonderful family over at the Three Little Ladies Rabbitry since the initial days of my rabbit raising journey. Though younger, the girls have been raising rabbits (seriously) for much longer than me and their collective years of experience surpasses me by many miles.
After such a long time, their hard work finally paid off at this year’s Convention when one of their Jersey Woolly rabbits was crowned Best Of Breed in Open. Their win inspires me as it is a good testimony of how hard work and perseverance can bring about sweet victory. I can always remember that tiny little girl holding one of her rabbits in that news article and I am sure that little girl has grown to be much taller than I am.
Congratulations to the Usakowski family especially Taylor & Jessica!
I would like to mention that this will be a pretty long (may not be the best as I cope with Jet Lag) post as I recollect my memories and experience at the 88th ARBA Convention held in Indianapolis, Indiana USA. As most of you have seen in my previous postings, I really had a blast and it was a dream come true for me.
I started out my journey to Indianapolis in the afternoon of 27th October 2011 at 2.30 pm. I arrived at Taipei International Airport for a transit and soon I was on the plane heading to Los Angeles, USA. There was a little delay in between Taipei and Los Angeles and that caused me to miss my direct flight into Indianapolis. I got a little panicky for missing that flight but was fortunate to get a replacement flight. I was stranded at LAX airport from 10 pm until 5.30 am when I boarded the plane to Detroit. It was the longest flight and at this point I was getting really tired from staying up at the airport. I then took an hour flight from Detroit to Indianapolis. I was scheduled to arrive at Indianapolis at 5.30 am on Friday 28th October and because I missed the flight, I finally arrived at Indy at 3.30 pm.
Momma Cheri and Aunt Karen came to pick me up from Indianapolis airport and boy was I excited to see them. My tiredness vanished and I finally found myself being very energetic. Asked if I wanted to freshen up at the hotel, I quickly said no and we were on our way to the show room.
When I arrive at Indy, I was greeted by the most beautiful Autumn or more fondly known as Fall by the locals. The journey to the show room took a little while and I cannot help but to notice all the beautiful buildings. The trees were covered with yellowish leaves which was a clear indicator that it was the Fall season. The temperature was just nice for me as I enjoyed the cool breeze.
Looking at the buildings and surroundings, it does feel like I am in the movie while being here.
The moment I step out of the car, it feels as though my soul has found its home.
Since judging only begins on Sunday morning, the show room was a little empty because most breeders will only arrive on Saturday. The South Pavilion entrance leads us into the youth show room and the open show room was further into the building.
And since the show coops were pretty empty, I did not go round taking photos of rabbits but instead hang out with my friends most of the time. I was so happy to finally be able to meet everyone in person.
First thing Saturday morning, I took my camera and went around both the Open and Youth Show Room to capture photos of all the rabbit breeds.
I started off from the Chekered Giant and Belgian Hare sections
I always thought that the New Zealand breed only comes in white color but there were many other varieties as well:
At this point I was pretty much exhausted going through every aisle of rabbits in the Open Section so I decided to snap the Youth Show Room in sections instead of focusing on just one rabbit at a time.
The amazing thing about Convention is that, you will never find a breed without breeders. That’s what makes the Convention so special because you get to see many breeds under one roof. How I wish we have all these breeds in Malaysia.
On show day (Sunday), I could feel the intensity of the competition as all exhibitors/breeders crossed their fingers hoping to place well with their rabbits. I really enjoyed watching all the judges go through the rabbits and cutting the numbers down to top 10s. After the top 10s has been identified, the atmosphere gets more tensed and after the Best of Breeds are picked, there was a huge sigh of relief from all around.
After all the Best Of Breeds has been identified, everyone adjourned to the Pepsi Coliseum for the group and Best In Show judging. In the Open, a White New Zealand was awarded Best In Show while in Youth, a Holland Lop once again was picked as Best In Show.
At every ARBA convention, the breed presentation is held to pass new colors to existing breeds or passing the new breeds. Unfortunately for the Lionhead, its presentation did not pass this time around.
My last evening at Indy was spent at the wonderful HLRSC Banquet where awards were given out to all who has placed Top 10.
The artist who did all these awards is Emily Hromi from Ohio.
And this year I have the pleasure not only to attend the banquet but also to donate a Holland Lop painting for the Auction. The highest bid was USD 750 and it was an unforgettable moment for me when the winner of the bid presented the painting to a fellow breeder – the breeder of the rabbit in the painting.
And then the day I dread arrived as quickly as how my journey started. It was an emotional farewell for me and I carry with me all the wonderful moments I shared with so many amazing people. I am still in awe by the fact that I was at this place where all the best in the USA gathers. Just imagine the big names in the hobby that I have heard of before this, I am able to put a face to all of them. And the best part is, we get to finally meet each other in person!
As I mentioned in my earlier post, I did not know what to expect with this trip and I definitely did not expect to be bawling like a baby. I did not expect such amazing hospitality. I was not only accepted as just a friend but as a part of a big bunny family. I will cherish all these wonderful people that I have met in my heart as each and everyone has earned a part of my heart. I certainly did not expect to miss everyone so badly but I really did. It was indeed a week where I need not explain to anyone why I love rabbits.
I have also learned so much during the entire week and I hope that I will be able to share what I have learned back home. I do have some plans that I would like to present and dreams to be fulfilled back home. I hope to get the MROA up and running so that we can have those visions achieved. Besides from the technical lessons on how to raise quality rabbits, most of what I have learned are life lessons and humility is definitely the one most important lesson that I have learned. You really have to respect a winner that goes, “We did very well, thank you!”. That’s sheer humility and that is what you will get from the Best Of Breed winner!
Last but not least, I must also thank the people that are most easily taken for granted – my family. My gratitude goes to my wife who has been maintaining our household single handed. She is my pillar of strength and her support means the world to me. I would also like to thank my parents and especially my dad for helping me with bunny chores. Yes, that man that paints those beautiful portraits actually helps me with cleaning my rabbit cages while I am away.
Around this time last year, I met a special person online. It was also the time of the 2010 ARBA Convention where a Holland Lop won BIS in the Open Show. The special person planted the idea that I should make a special visit to ARBA Convention. And as some of you might know and did follow my quest, I also attempted in the DiGi Youth – Free Your Ideas contest to win some funds but it was unsuccessful.
Little did I know, this little idea soon took a gigantic twist when my special friend started a Facebook group in hope to raise funds to make this idea and dream a reality. Some took the Facebook group as hard begging on my part but the immense support proved that I was LUVED! It feels like my dream has already come true being at the receiving end of such generosity and immense support. Some donated financially while others provided their moral support. I truly appreciate the support no matter what form, shape and sizes they come in.
The funds soon started pouring in from rabbit friends all around the USA. Soon more fund raising ideas were suggested and one in particular was to put a Holland Lop painting by my dad as an auction item. The auction went really well and in total, USD 1108 were raised for my air ticket to Indianapolis! Although, the amount did not cover the entire cost of my flight ticket, it was a mighty BIG help. And the shortage motivated me to work my butt off to save up more money for my DREAM TRIP. And that is the reason why you might have noticed that I have been inactive as far as blog updates is concerned.
For next few days, I will try to update my blog with photos from the 2011 ARBA Convention in Indianapolis. To date, over 23,000 rabbits has been entered in what is known as the MOTHER of all Rabbit Shows of the year.
I ask for your prayers for a safe trip and all of you fellow Malaysian bunny friends will be in my thoughts. I hope my trip will help me increase my knowledge in this hobby so that I can share with all of you.
I do not know what to expect for now but all I know is that, the average Joe in me will have a life long dream fulfilled in just a couple of days away. This is very exciting indeed and I cannot wait to meet all my friends in person. I also look forward to meeting new friends in this journey.
As I make my pilgrimage to the land of Milk & Honey, a place where I do not need to explain why I love rabbits, I would like to again share this video that I have put together in dedication to all my supportive friends in the hobby. Watching the video again, I cannot help but to feel moved and emotional. WHAT A JOURNEY IT HAS BEEN!!!
Thank you all very much for all the immense support! God bless you!