Montgomery County Fair: Rabbit competition winner wants to help next generation

Kylee Dickinson, age 17 from Miamisburg, shakes hand with judge Joey Martin after winning breeding rabbit showman of showman at the Montgomery County Fair, Monday July 11, 2022. MARSHALL GORBY\STAFF

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Kylee Dickinson, age 17 from Miamisburg, shakes hand with judge Joey Martin after winning breeding rabbit showman of showman at the Montgomery County Fair, Monday July 11, 2022. MARSHALL GORBY\STAFF

Teens lined up with their rabbits, each hoping they had the blue-ribbon bunny in the Junior Fair Breeding Rabbit Show at the 170th Montgomery County Fair.

Kylee Dickinson from Miamisburg won it all on Monday with her rabbit Caz, achieving the breeding rabbit showman of showman distinction. Dickinson, 17, has been a part of 4-H for seven years and has showed rabbits all of that time.

The competition came on the second day of the fair, which continues through Saturday. It was just a sampling of the full schedule of events happening this week to celebrate different kinds of animals and skills.

Emma Watt, winner of Senior Class B for breeding rabbits, explained more about what the judging process is like. She answered questions about rabbit facts like breeds, body types and more, with judge Joey Martin of Wilmington standing over her shoulder.

“For the most part, it’s just knowing your rabbit, and knowing how to do a health check,” Watt said while holding her lionhead rabbit named Kosmo.

Martin doesn’t just judge the rabbit, he judges how well each student has studied and learned their animal’s facts: everything from the rabbit’s scientific name — Leporidae — to their eye type.

“I have a ridiculous amount of flashcards — over 100 flashcards,” Dickinson said. “I do get nervous.”

Dickinson is in her second-to-last year of competing, and spoke of her experience with her 4-H group, Miami Producers. The group hosts 4-H clinics to mentor younger members in how to be a showman, what to know about their animals and more.

Dickinson said she “110%” made progress since her first year. She has won Breeding Market showman of showman three times and wants to continue the tradition of helping the next showman to grow.

“My goal is to win this year, so next year I can spend time passing it on to other kids,” Dickinson said.

She explained that she “wants it to feel more like a competition for them,” instead of constantly striving to learn through experience. Dickinson was also inspired by her brother, who showed chickens with success before graduating out of the program.

This community-oriented competition continued as her peers came up to congratulate her afterward, petting her rabbit and reflecting on the judge’s questions.

“We’ve all always been willing to help each other,” Dickinson said. “It really helps when you have competitors who drive you to do better.”

The competitors were close this year, as Martin announced each of the top four for showman of showman had one or two points between them. After Dickinson won breeding rabbit showman of showman, she will move on to compete against the market chickens, market rabbits and market turkeys for small animal showman of showman.

“Overall, it’s a really good time,” she said.

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