Convention Judging Coops, Old and New
The one that carved in my mind was in 1988 in Madison, WI. The judging coops did not have a cover, and it was an eye-opener for me, as I had never seen such judging coops in California. The exhibitors were given the job of putting their hands on top of the rabbits to prevent the rabbits from fighting or kissing each other. I recall hearing ouches and ahhhhs often when the rabbits nicked at people's hands.
Then there was and still is the "Ohio" style coops. They were brand new in the 1992 convention, I recall. These coops are owned by the Ohio State Club and rented out to various convention hosts. The coops have wooden floors that sloped down toward the side where the exhibitors would stay; there are two doors, one opens from the judge's side and another opens from the exhibitors' side.
When the judging first started, we were all very polite and timid, standing quite a distance from the coops. Judge Judy said, "Hay, guys, you need to stand closer to the coops; the floor slopes and back opens, rabbits are going to fall off the table." We moved closer to the coops. Within a few seconds, a rabbit fell off the table from the back and I caught it mid air. Others were joking, "Betty, you are so good at catching things, you should join a sports team." Well, if the sports team were about catching rabbits, I'd probably be very good at it. If it were about catching balls, I would not do well if my life depends on it.
In the second picture, Judge Judy is judging using the new style judging coops made by KW cages. This is the kind that we in California are familiar with. ARBA has bought enough to be used in conventions from now on. The coops are wire bottom, metal siding and can be folded into flat pieces; they are a wonderful design for cleanliness and durability.
You may ask why would the wooden "Ohio" style and "KW" style both being used during the judging. Well, here is the interesting fact.
In the Fort Worth convention last year, there were limited KW coops, so only a few breeds got the new coops. Needless to say, none of the wool breeds got the new coops. We struggled with the "Ohio" coops hoping that we'd get the new coops in Grand Rapids.
It took two days to judge the four breeds Angora. On Monday, all judging coops were in use; so the Angora judging had to be done on the assigned "Ohio" judging coops. On Tuesday, most of other breeds were done judging with lots of "KW" judging coops sitting idle. After two classes, Angora people decided to take the "KW" coops from the Jersey Wooly table and put them on the Angora table to continue judging the last two classes and the wool classes.
Our readers now have a chance to see the two styles of the judging coops in Grand Rapids.