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Busy brothers keep rabbit judges hopping at Berkeley County Youth Fair

August 05, 2013|By RICHARD F. BELISLE | richardb@herald-mail.com
  • Tylor Billmyer, 14, right, and his brother, Aiden, 10, brought rabbits to the Berkeley County Youth Fair Monday from the four breeds they raise at their familys DNJ Farm outside Martinsburg, W.Va.
Tylor Billmyer, 14, right, and his brother, Aiden, 10, brought rabbits to the Berkeley County Youth Fair Monday from the four breeds they raise at their family¿s DNJ Farm outside Martinsburg, W.Va.

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — Jessica Seckman was juggling four breeds of rabbits and two sons Monday afternoon, trying to keep them on schedule for the rabbit judging competition at the Berkeley County Youth Fair.

Tylor Billmyer, 14, and his brother, Aiden, 10, brought rabbits from the four breeds they raise at their family’s DNJ Farm outside Martinsburg.

Tylor was having trouble getting Clover, his big grey Flemish giant doe, to settle down before taking her turn at the judging table.

His younger brother had no such troubles maneuvering through the aisles of the crowded rabbit area with Black Opps, a tiny black Netherland dwarf rabbit, tucked into the front pocket of his apron.

Black Opps’ hutchmate, Cookies and Cream, a black and white spotted doe, shared the judging table with him.

Aiden said becoming a farmer when he gets older is not in his plans. “I’m attached to rabbits so I’m going to breed Netherland dwarfs.”

He said he started the show circuit with rabbits and moved up to goats this year with a Tennessee fainting goat he raised at home.

Tylor took Clover to the American Rabbit Breeders Association competition earlier this summer and came home with a best-in-show ribbon.

“That was a very big thing for Tylor,” his mother said.

The family has 17 rabbits, including Clover, the Flemish Giant, a meat breed, the Netherland dwarfs and Jersey woolies and lionheads, the boys’ mother said. She said the family raises rabbits to sell for breeding and for show, “and to keep my kids out of trouble.”

“I showed rabbits for 4-H when I was small,” Seckman said. 

Rabbit judges look for things like good body type, color and grooming,” she said. Exhibitors learn about raising rabbits and what to look for when choosing one for the judging table, she said. “They have to learn a lot about showmanship.”

There’s a lot of camaraderie among fair families, she said.

“We get to know each other and we get real close. We help each other and we cheer each other on. This is very friendly competition,” she said.

The fair resumes today at 8 a.m. with the sheep judging competition and horse showmanship. The poultry judging gets under way at 11 a.m. The truck/tractor pull starts at 7 p.m.

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