An introduction to B.R.C. Rabbit Shows
by Elaine Simmonds. Singleton stud.

Taking your rabbit to a show for the first time can be quite daunting, when in fact it should be an enjoyable experience. The best thing to do is to find out a bit about the shows first, know what to expect.

Here we will try to explain the basics of a rabbit show. Basically a show is graded on a star system, the lowest being a one star show, the highest being a five star show. It is wise to start with a low standard show to begin with. The
One star show is the lowest star rated show under BRC rules. Most local club shows are Two star shows, these are your bread and butter shows, the one and two star shows is where the beginner should look to go first. These shows are usually friendly events, our local show is the run by the East Lancashire Rabbit Club, it is run in a village hall and usually attracts between 150 - 200 exhibits. Exhibitors mingle and chat with each other whilst the stewards and judges get on with their work., Refreshment are available from a canteen where club members serve food and drinks throughout the day, there is usually a raffle too, proceeds form which help the clubs to run. Three star shows are championship rated shows and therefore a little bit more competitive and naturally attract more exhibits, the judges are more experienced too. A three star show could be an agricultural show for instance that is hosting a BRC show in association with a local rabbit club. Our local three star show is the Garstang Agricultural show. Four star shows are usually held regionally, most regions hold four star shows such as the Scottish Rabbit Club Championship show or the Lincolnshire Championship show. Finally for the very experienced exhibitors there are the five star shows, there are only two five star shows held in this country each year, they are the Bradford show usually held in Doncaster, but was in Harrogate 2005 and the London show which is held in Reading. Five star shows are an experience and are worth a visit even if you are not exhibiting, Bradford is considered to be the Crufts of the rabbits shows, generally held in big venues they attract a lot of traders and you can spend a day browsing the stalls.

The Show

Once you arrive at the show, you will need to make your way to the secretary’s desk, here the secretary will book you in and give you tickets with the pen numbers that your rabbits will be penned in during the show. Before putting your rabbits into the pen it is prudent to quickly check the pen, making sure that it is in good order, clean and that the door shuts securely. Finally make sure that there is a good layer of shavings in the pen before putting your rabbits in, experience has shown us that you should take some spare shaving with you to the show as there is usually not enough. You can now put your rabbits into the pen, once you have fitted their water bottle and added some hay, you are ready to go. Another tip is to record you rabbits ring numbers before you travel to the show, this will stop you having to mess about getting the number from the ring once you are at the show, you will need the ring number for the booking in form.

You will notice that the exhibits are split into four sections these are Fur, Fancy, Lop & Rex. Your rabbit will be in one of these sections, the sections all contain a certain amount of different breeds such as in the Fur section you could have breeds like the British Giant, Havana, Beveran, New Zealand. In the Fancy section you might see Angora, Lion heads, Rhinelander and Himalayan. The Lop section includes English, French, German and mini lops. Finally the Rex section will include Castor, Otter, Sable and Dalmatian rex.

Your rabbits will firstly be up against others in his or her class. When the judges are ready to judge the class they will send the stewards to bring the rabbits from their pens to the judging table. The judges will spend a bit of time looking at each rabbit, they will be moved onto different positions on the table, the winner is usually positioned at the top of the table. Once the judge has decided the winner the details of the rabbit are then recorded, the rabbit will get a first certificate and may also get a Challenge Certificate (CC) this certificate will have the number of stars equivalent to the show rating (see pictures below). If there are more than one class in the breed (i.e. White Continental and colored Continental Giants) the winner of both classes will go head to head to find best of breed (BoB), the judges will get both of the exhibits out onto the table for another look before deciding the winner of the BoB. The winner will usually be issued with a purple BoB Certificate. After the breeds in the section have been judged the judge will call back a few of the winning rabbits to challenge for the section. The judge will pick the section winner and this will be the best Fur or best Rex Etc. It is quite possible that the winner will be awarded a diploma. The four section winners will go head to head at the end of the show when the judges will decide the
"Best in Show"
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Emma Nuttall and Diane Davis, NCGRC Club members stewarding,

Typical 2* Village Hall Show in progress.