Tag Archives: Indianapolis ARBA Convention

88th ARBA Convention through my lenses

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.

Nice architecture all around

Beautiful Autumn trees

Looking at the buildings and surroundings, it does feel like I am in the movie while being here.

Fairgrounds!

A Barn at the Fairgrounds

Love the architecture!

The moment I step out of the car, it feels as though my soul has found its home.

It ain't complete without the PEACE sign!

The Pepsi Coliseum - where the BIS judging took place

The entrance to where thousands of rabbits gather

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.

Part of the Youth Section

The Floor plan

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.

The awards being displayed at the HLRSC supply booth

One of the many show tables

This is where the Open Holland Lop judging took place

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

Each section is clearly defined by a sign for each breed

I am drawn to the Chekered Giant breed because it looks magnificent. But don't be fooled by its appearance because I witnessed how one of these hung onto a judge's apron and trashed him with its back legs. This breed is normally judged by the way it moves so a "run way" was prepared for the judging

I love a Belgian Hare when it poses. Very elegant!

The humongous Flemish Giant!

I like the rich grey color of the Giant Chinchilla

If I ever keep one of these English Lops, I will name it Jar Jar Binks!

The huggable French Lop or also known as Frenchie

In between the French Lops and the Holland Lops, it is the Mini Lops size wise

The Silver Fox is a very beautiful breed with "ticking" on its fur. I believe the term "steel" can also used.

The English Spot breed reminded me of the Dalmation dog

I always thought that the New Zealand breed only comes in white color but there were many other varieties as well:

Broken Black New Zealand

The REW New Zealand

The Red New Zealand

The Californian with its distinctive markings

Stunning Silver Marten

This broken black Rex rabbit looks very majestic

Another beautiful Rex rabbit that captured my attention

The Palomino

Blanc De Hotot?

The American Sable

This Beveren is cute!

The Cinnamon rabbit reminds me of Cinnamon Rolls!

The American Chinchilla which is slightly smaller than the giant version

The absolutely gorgeous Champagne D'Argent!

Beautiful Lilac

Creme D'Argent

Harlequin

American

Rhinelander

A Satin rabbit. I really like its plush fur texture

A Mini Satin, smaller version of the regular Satin breed

A beautiful Mini Rex with a unique color

Florida White

Tan

One of my other favorite breeds - Dutch

Himalayan

The third Chinchilla breed, the Standard Chinchilla

I fell in love with the bright red color of the Thrianta

The Silver

Isn't this Havana gorgeous?

A beautiful REW Britannia Petite

An otter variation of the Britannia Petite

I saw many stunning Dwarf Hotot

The big eye of this Netherland Dwarf captured my attention. That is how the Netherland Dwarf should really be!

The posh Polish!

English Angora

I believe this is the Satin Angora

This little American Fuzzy Lop caught my attention. Just too cute to miss!

A friend's beautiful Jersey Wooly

Last but not least, my favorite breed, the Holland Lop section!

#2 Best Fur Holland Lop

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.

Beautiful Tan rabbits

I am in love with this English Lop

A beautiful Jersey Wooly owned by my dear friends of Three Little Ladies Rabbitry!

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.

The District 9 Director Dr. Jay judging one of the breeds

Mr. Allan Ormond working on one of the Holland Lop youth tables

Mr. Scott Rodriguez and Mr. Uno Kivi during the Youth Holland Lop Best of Breed judging

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.

Group and BIS judging in the Pepsi Coliseum

ARBA Vice President Mr. Erik Bengtson going through one of the Youth groups

Like every other breed, this is the Holland Lop breed Auction where a number of beautiful Holland Lops were sold

That's me again picking the lucky ticket for the Raffles. Thanks to the HLRSC for giving me the pleasure of picking the lucky winning ticket.

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.

A cute little Blue Point Holland Lop waiting in the Presentation coop

My last evening at Indy was spent at the wonderful HLRSC Banquet where awards were given out to all who has placed Top 10.

Beautiful awards on display!

The artist who did all these awards is Emily Hromi from Ohio.

More awards!

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.

Beautiful framing done and donated by Momma Cheri

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.

Till we meet again USA!

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Goodbye 88th ARBA Convention, Indianapolis

Today being the last day of Convention, I cannot help but to feel sad. Although this hobby evolves around RABBITS, it is surprising to me that I am not feeling sad because I will miss seeing all these beautiful rabbits but rather, I will miss all the wonderful people that I have met. The real deal is that, it is not about rabbits after all but the friendship that you build upon rabbits. Rabbits are the true winner in this wonderful situation because it broke down all barriers of differences – culture and geographical location altogether. Who would have thought, an average Joe call Timothy Chan will end up in a place where Top Rabbit breeders gather to compete?

What I can share with my fellow Malaysians right now is that, the rabbit hobby here in the USA is really a big part of its AGRICULTURAL industry. We have to understand that rabbits are bred for many reasons beside for pets. And whatever the purpose for each breed is, breeders must breed for the best based on the Standard of Perfection laid down by ARBA. Although most breeds are raised for agricultural and commercial purpose, the “fancy” breeds are also included as part of the entire rabbit breeding industry.

And so what did Timothy Chan do in the 88th ARBA Convention?

To be honest, I have a lot of fun. For the first 2 days it was pretty intense because of the competition vibe. I learned a lot mostly through observation. Yesterday and today was a little laid back.

First, we had the HLRSC meeting to sort out some stuff. The highlight of the meeting for me was when my dad’s painting received an honorary mention because there is a raffle being put up by next year’s HLRSC Nationals (Washington) committee. I feel so proud of my dad and I really hope that the painting will raise substantial amount of funds for the organizing committee.

HLRSC Meeting

Then we went back to the show room for Holland Lop auction. I did not bid on any rabbits because I was unable to bring any home (heart breaking).

SOLD!

And to my surprise, I was asked to draw the lucky ticket for the HLRSC Raffles where 3 (a trio of) beautiful Holland Lops has been donated as the prize. Such an honor to be able to pick the winner for the raffle.

Picking the Lucky Winner!

The lucky winner was a youth breeder!

After the raffles, I was lucky to be able to attend Mr. Allan Ormond’s class for the youth. He is a renown/respected judge and I call him Gandalf of the bunny world. I learned so much in his session and I shall remember all the amazing knowledge that he has shared today.

Mr. Ormond, showing us how to look for a good Holland Lop

Before we left the show room, I helped to feed and water rabbits which without, my trip will not have been complete.

I have hay, feed and an apron just like a show breeder here. 🙂

I just feel overwhelm knowing that I will be leaving this wonderful place and its wonderful people. It makes me want to make a trip here every year. There is so much love here and it just blows my mind away. I really cannot thank all my friend here enough. I shall not mention names because I am afraid I might miss someone out and someone will be mad at me.

My friends here in Indy (you know who you are), a HUGE THANK YOU to all of you for making my 1st Convention the BEST experience of my LIFE! I love all of you and I can never thank all of you enough. You have showed me that there are things in life that goes beyond the dollar sign and all of you have inspired me to be kind and “pay it forward” whenever possible. I will miss all of you very much and I will be thinking of all of you everyday of my life.

On that note, I would like to share a quote that came to mind early this morning while trying to get myself out of my melancholic feeling and here goes:

“When your BIG Dream is fulfilled, you become a BIGGER person. You then dream LARGER dreams, work towards getting them fulfilled and you keep on GROWING!”

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