Sunday, January 12, 2014

Reserve Grand Champion Rabbits

Lexi won Reserve Grand Champion Rabbits this weekend at our county stock show!! Yep, it was a really big deal! In Junior Livestock world, kids compete all together based on the weight/breed of the animal, not age of the kid. So as a 3rd grader and first time participant, Lexi competed with high school seniors. And she took 2nd place!!  It was really, really cool!

But let me back up a little... you can click here if you missed the post about us getting the rabbits.

This last week leading up to show was a little nerve-wracking. The rabbits had to weigh between 3 and 5 pounds a piece. Over 5 pounds and you were disqualified... but you want to be as close to 5 pounds as possible. So we played the feed game the last week. How much to feed, how much filler, and all manner of questions that we didn't even know to ask much less to answer!  We were weighing twice a day at the end afraid we were over. But we weren't sure, all we had was a food scale, and it was borrowed at that!

So we go to weigh in on Thursday afternoon and the rabbits weigh 4.7 pounds! We ended up having plenty of room and could have just kept on feeding the rabbits full feed those last few days!

Then finally, it was time to get ready for the show! 
Doug and Lexi

Lexi and Mrs. Williams our incredible FFA teacher!

Lexi had a blast walking around the barns with her friends who were showing lambs and goats. She also enjoyed showing off her rabbits to anyone who stopped by!

One last wipe down and we were ready.

When it was finally show time, Lexi did a great job getting her rabbits from the carrier into the pen. Thankfully our FFA teacher was in the pen with her and able to help out.

And then the judging started and all we could do was sit back and watch. Lexi was a pro and kept her focus on the judge the entire time. While some of the other students started talking to each other and shifting back and forth, Lexi just remained focused!

In fact, look at this awesome picture a friend of ours took! I love how you can see how tiny she is compared to some of the other exhibitors!

As we watched in the stands, Doug and I were talking. Of course, we didn't know that she would win her class and get second place overall in the breed, but we knew that she had already won. She started this process scared and unsure of what to do around an animal and so shy around new people. And now here we were and she was confident with her animals and standing tall around a bunch of people she didn't know! 

And then of course, she won Reserve Grand Champion! That was incredible! 

One excited girl! 

My entire life I have heard families talk about FFA and the impact sponsors/teachers have on kids. Now I understand it. What a gift these teachers are to our kids!

She even stopped and put Lexi's buckle on her belt!

We went home an exhausted but very happy family! Friday morning, Lexi was back out at the stock show to support her friends who were showing. There is just something incredibly special about a group of kids helping each other to succeed without any thought to what they can get out of it. Over the weekend I saw countless times kids helping each other out just because! I even got to be a tiny part of the weekend as one of the judges for the 4-H arts and crafts entries!

Then Saturday afternoon, we were back for the supper and sale. Lexi helped to serve the dinner to the buyers and then it was time for the auction. 

Aren't we country! I had to go buy a pair of jeans to wear with my boots! I now understand why you wear boots and jeans... barns are messy! :) 

Lexi's pen of rabbits was the 12th auction of the night. Only the Grand and the Reserve rabbits were sold, so Lexi making the sale was big.

Here is Lexi with two friends who helped her show off the rabbits. 

And the auction in process. They were adorable!

The high bidder was a joint purchase between a local pharmacy, Tanglewood Pharmacy and a service club, the Stephenville Evening Lions Club.

They took official pictures with the buyers, so I'm hoping I can get a better picture!

And that was it for the night. We stayed through 90 of the 186 auctions and Doug's company, McLemore Financial Group bought auction #88 a lamb and then we left. No, we didn't bring the animal home, just our rabbits. At this stock show, the animals usually stay with the kids, it's really more of a scholarship auction.

Today, Doug and Lexi are taking the rabbits back to the breeder. We've already to committed to a pen for next year!

Who knows how we will do in the future. It is possible that she could never win again. But while the winning was wonderful, it is the experience that has been life changing for our family. Lexi hadn't found her niche yet, and this was obviously her thing! Her smile and excitement was contagious. 

Lexi is now talking lambs, goats, horses and more! Kylie is talking pigs! 

What have we gotten ourselves into! :)

And a sidenote: Lexi even got to be in the newspaper! Here is the photo that was taken and here is the link:

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