Teen steps up for rabbit show | VailDaily.com

Teen steps up for rabbit show

Scott N. Miller
Preston Utley/putley@vaildaily.com Holly Reed, 17 judges a rabbit in the 4-H Rabbit show on Friday. Reed was brought in last minute to to replace the scheduled judge due to a medical emergency.

“Stepping up” isn’t one of the four H’s in 4-H, but it’s an important part of the program.Holly Reed of Kremmling volunteered to step up at Friday’s 4-H rabbit show at the Eagle County Fair. Reed, 17, who will be a senior at West Grand High School next year, was put into the judge’s role after long-time judge Meritt Esmiol suffered a heart attack Thursday. Esmiol was hospitalized, but is expected to recover.While Reed has about 10 years of rabbit-raising experience, this was her first time judging a competition. During the market rabbit segment of the show, she painstakingly handled each rabbit several times, examining the animals’ overall condition, then determining how each would work as an entree. As opposed to breeding rabbits, the market rabbits are bred and raised as food animals, and judged by how they’ll eventually look on a serving platter.Some animals were a little light, others were well-developed in the shoulders but not the mid-section. Reed eventually deemed Tony Carthy’s rabbit as “just right.”

“It’s way harder judging than being in a show,” Reed said. “You don’t have to talk if you’re showing. When you’re a judge, you have to use a microphone so all the parents can hear what you’re saying.” But Reed stepped up. That’s what 4-H’ers do, said county 4-H coordinator Jenny Wood, who was involved in the club through her childhood and teenage years. Judging is part of the leadership 4-H’ers are expected to develop, Wood said. Learning about different breeds of animals is part of raising livestock for 4-H. Club members are tested during shows.In fact, learning to judge shows is part of the 4-H experience for those who have spent years in their clubs. “Mesa County uses a lot of senior 4-H’ers for their showmanship exhibitions,” Wood said.”I would have to learn a little more,” contestant Jessica Stiles, 17, said her own judging skills, “but if I did, I could do this,”

While Reed displayed her share of nerves, she took her time and did her best.”I knew whoever Meritt sent would be good because he’s so good, with the animals and the kids,” 4-H mom Rena Horn said.Reed took her time, and, despite a little fear of the microphone, she did fine.Best in showTony Carthy’s grand champion market rabbit won because of:

• Overall weight• A meaty midsection• Broad shoulders• Well-developed hind quarter

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