Ten-year-old Cinder Weinreich wants more competition at next year’s Greenlee County Fair. The Virden, N.M. resident shows rabbits, but it’s not much fun when there aren’t many other rabbits to compare hers to.

Since three of Cinder’s siblings are also in 4-H or FFA and also show rabbits, Beverly Weinreich decided to take matters into her own hands. She’s started buying meat rabbits from various breeders and breeding them herself.

Not only that, but the family is holding an essay contest and the winners will have their pick of baby rabbits or kits to show next year.

The family moved to Virden from Deming, N.M. in November 2020 and quickly learned there weren’t a lot of people raising rabbits for the Greenlee County Showmanship Showdown and the Greenlee County Fair.

“As I talked to people it wasn’t that people weren’t interested as much as half of the community doesn’t seem to know there’s small stock,” Weinreich said. “Our show and our sales are early, early in the morning (at the fair) and everybody comes to the livestock late, late, late in the evening so most people don’t know it even exists.”

This year there were only four breeds of rabbits at the fair, Weinreich said.

Right now, the family has 28 rabbits, plus a handful of kits. Most of them are meat rabbits. They’ve got Dutch, Standard Rex and Mini Rexs, various kinds of New Zealand, a Velveteen Lop, Himalayans and Californian rabbits. They’ve got eight pairs so far. They also have one show rabbit, a gray Angora who was donated to them.

“The purpose of having mostly meat stock is so the kids get two chances to show,” Weinreich said. “If I don’t give them any meat stock, they only get to show at the showmanship because they’ve just a fancy. That’s great if you’re OK with that, but I think these kids want to show and they want to sell and most people aren’t going to buy a fancy.”

Weinreich gets many of her rabbits from Texarkana, Texas. Thanks to Viral Haemorrhagic Disease, a lot of closer breeders have either lost most of their rabbits or are unable to sell their stock for fear of spreading the highly infectious and lethal illness, she said.

Starting last month, Weinreich started distributing flyers at various schools and businesses announcing their essay contest. Kids who would like to win a rabbit must submit an essay explaining why they’d like to show rabbits and Ashley Menges from the Greenlee County/University of Arizona Cooperative Extension Office will judge the essays along with some volunteers. The kids must get a 4H or FFA leader to sign the essay along with their parents. They must also agree to show the rabbit at the Greenlee County Fair.

The deadline to turn in the essay is Dec. 1 and they can be turned in at the cooperative extension office.

Cinder, who showed Blaze and Butterscotch at the fair, helps her sister Lexi Walker, feed and water the rabbits. She also helps out with cleaning the pens.

She said rabbits are “pretty nice” and she loves to hold them and show them.

“It was pretty amazing because I got to show my rabbits,” she said of the Greenlee County Fair. “Butterscotch made it easy because she listens to me. If you want her to be good to you, you just have to train her.”

Her goal for next year?

“I want everyone to get ribbons,” she said.

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