Rabbit projects abound in Sherman FFA

By Todd Kleiboer
Miguel Gomez, left, and Ziayra Rendon, right, and their Tan rabbits walked away with awards at the Denison Winter Classic Dec. 18. Gomez won Best of Breed and 2nd Reserve in Show, and Rendon won Best Opposite Sex in Breed.

With the spring semester starting up, Sherman FFA students and their rabbits are hopping to it as dates approach for shows big and small.

“Most of our students can house the rabbits at home, whereas the larger projects – sheep, goats, cattle – they would have to keep those at our ag barn,” FFA Program Lead and Advisor Kristi Sroka said. “It’s not always feasible for some to go out to our ag barn twice a day.”

While also not taking as much space as a lamb, goat or steer, rabbits are usually cheaper in terms of maintenance and supplies, and they serve as good starting projects for students new to animal showing.

“Their parents want to make sure the students can keep up their end of the bargain and take good care of an animal before they go and invest more resources, time and energy,” Sroka said. “I really think they learn just as much with these little rabbits as they do with the larger projects.”

Elvin Martinez-Baltazar and his Champagne d’Argent rabbit won Best of Breed at the Denison Winter Classic.

Some students start early in showing rabbits by joining Junior FFA, and Sroka said some “graduate” to showing larger animals by the time they reach high school. However, most rabbits are still shown by high school students.

“A lot of our students will carry the project through for four years and really expand on it as they go and show multiple rabbits,” Sroka said. “And some even enter into breeding programs and start breeding their own rabbits.”

Sherman showers usually do well in shows, especially in the local shows. For example, at the Denison Winter Classic on Dec. 18, Miguel Gomez and his Tan rabbit took home 2nd Reserve in Show, which is equivalent to third overall, and seven other students earned recognition as well.

They are: Ziayra Rendon – Best Opposite of Breed Tan; Caroline Jones – Best of Breed Dwarf Hotot, Best of Variety Polish, Best Opposite of Variety Polish, First Place Holland Lop; Elvin Martinez-Baltazar – Best of Breed Champagne d’Argent; Haley Gentry – Best Opposite of Breed Flemish Giant; Amarelie Quesada – Best Opposite of Breed Rex; Madison Moore – Best Opposite of Breed Velveteen Lop, Best of Group Mini Rex; and Chloe Bridges – Best of Group Mini Rex.

“Our kids do incredibly well,” Sroka said. “They always come out on top at our county show [in late February], and they also show at larger state-level shows. We have lots of Class winners and Variety winners there as well. They’re able to be pretty competitive with that small animal.”

Haley Gentry and her Flemish Giant rabbit won Best of Opposite Sex in Breed at the Denison Winter Classic.