Best friends Bailee Vogle, 8, and Haley Browning, 9, of Marshall love showing rabbits, the girls brought 54 rabbits to show this week at the Missouri State Fair.
The youth rabbit competitions at the fair this year brought in 535 participants, but showing rabbits is more than competition for the friends.
On Wednesday, Vogel’s Mini Rex rabbit Cinnamon received Best of Breed, and Browning’s Florida White, named HD was given First Runner Up in the Open and Youth Rabbit Show.
Vogel said she starts interacting with her rabbits when they are young.
“Cuddling with them, playing with them and working with them,” she said. “We brush them, sometimes we bring them in the house and play with them and watch TV with them.”
Vogel is the daughter of Brett and Julie Vogel. She added that her interest in rabbits came from her grandmother Kim Vogel who owns V & V Rabbitry in Marshall.
Browning, the daughter of Justin and Dorrian Browning, said her rabbit HD was named by her bother Hunter, 8.
“She’s very calm, she’s my brother’s best friend,” Browning said of HD.
To get her rabbit ready for competition Browning said she brushed HD and “cleaned her up.”
“We trimmed her toenails,” she added.
Both girls have been showing rabbits since they were five.
“Since I was five, my grandma, and my mom and dad had me out at the farm playing with the bunnies, and I got attached to them” Vogel said. “When I came to the fair with grandma, I just saw her put them up, I thought ‘I want to do that.’”
Browning said she became interested in showing rabbits because of her uncle Derek Eddy, of Spencer, Wisconsin.
“He showed rabbits and he inspired me when I was five,” she said. “So, I decided ‘I’m going to do it.’”
She added that she had a rabbit but it escaped. That particular rabbit was never found, but that didn’t discourage her from showing again. Since the families are close, Browning shows rabbits through V & V Rabbitry.
“We’re kind of like family because my grandma and my grandpa knew their family since they were in college,” she added.
Both girls agreed they would continue to show rabbits, and both have a collection of ribbons hanging up at home. Browning said she was unsure how many ribbons she’s collected, but Vogel said she believed she had 20.
Today the girls will be participating in the 4-H/FFA Youth Breed Rabbit Show.
“On Friday it will be the Open and Youth fun show,” Vogel said. “It’s kind of like competition but it’s funner.”
This was the first year for Cinnamon, a one-year-old, and HD, seven to eight months old, to compete at the MSF. Both girls plan to bring their rabbits back next year for competition.
Faith Bemiss can be reached at 530-0289 or @flbemiss.