Like a cat show, there are cash prizes. Like a dog show, there are sanctioned breeds.
But the Augusta Masters of Rabbits Show is in a class of its own.
“It’s not like a dog show. It’s casual dress. We’re down-home people,” said Marguerite Creekmore, a leader of Columbia County’s 4-H Rabbit Club who lives in Evans. “It’s entirely different and a lot of fun.”
More than 100 people are expected to show their purebred rabbits at Grovetown’s Liberty Park next month in the Masters of Rabbits Show, the first Augusta-area show in years.
“Nine or 10 years ago, this was the biggest show in the area,” Creekmore said. “They haven’t had it in seven or eight years. Now, we’re trying to revive it.”
This year’s show is a joint venture of the CSRA Rabbit Breeders Association and the 4-H Club.
“This is a unique adventure. We’re joining with a chartered club with our 4-H kids to promote rabbits for the future,” Creekmore said.
The Augusta show showcases more than a dozen breeds, from the petite Netherland Dwarf and Mini Lop to the massive Flemish Giant, in both “youth” and “open” categories.
“There are big breeders and kids. It’s exciting for the kids once they get into it,” said Mary White, a 4-H Rabbit Club leader, who lives in Martinez. “Everyone can participate.”
White didn’t start raising rabbits until one of her kids showed an interest.
“My youngest wanted to do it, so I got one,” she said. “It sounded like a lot of fun.” That was about eight years ago. Now, the Whites have more than a dozen rabbits.
It’s a familiar story.
“We started with just one rabbit. Then we had two. Now we have 10,” said Menley Creekmore, Marguerite’s 17-year-old daughter.
The 11th-grader at Evans High School is a teen leader in the 4-H Rabbit Club along with her sister, Cayley. The two raise Mini Lop and Dutch rabbits.
“It’s a lot of work, but it’s also a lot of fun,” Menley said. “We go on field trips. We go to shows.”
The 4-H Rabbit Club’s 34 members meet twice a month at Reed Creek Interpretive Center.
New rabbit owners learn about breeds, showmanship and how to take care of their animal. They learn about desirable characteristics for each breed, and what causes an individual rabbit to lose points in the eyes of a judge.
The older youth take it a step further.
“We teach them veterinary science,” Creekmore said. “The kids listen and learn a lot of skills that will carry with them.”
They learn out of necessity.
“There aren’t many vets around here who really treat rabbits,” White said. “You learn to be able to take better care of your rabbit. You perform health checks, just like judges.”
It takes maturity to raise rabbits, White said. “You have to pick up this rabbit every day,” she said. “It has to become a habit.”
Children will be able to interact with rabbits at next month’s show.
“We’re hoping to make it a community event. We want to have a petting area for little kids to come in and pet the rabbits,” Creekmore said. “We want to instill in these kids that rabbits are intuitive, just like dogs and cats. They make great pets. They can be your best friend.”