1. The friendly, helpful and humorous parking attendants: “Come on, put it in reverse … HEY! (yelling at pedestrians) WATCH YO-SELF! WATCH! YO! SELF!”
2. Walking into the showroom for the very first time.
3. Five-minute check-in.
4. Dwarf Hotots and Holland Lops were right inside the door. (Thank you everyone who knew this was my first time.)
5. The coops were already prepared with fresh, fluffy bedding.
6. Brand new (free) tin cans fresh off the pallet were provided for feed/water.
7. (Free) feed stations with every brand of pellets imaginable. A personal shout-out and THANK YOU to BLUE SEAL for providing Show Hutch Deluxe!
8. Seeing so many bunnies with toys. Lots of toys.
9. Waving to old friends from across the showroom.
10. Feeling a tap on my shoulder and hearing a, “Hey! I just wanted to introduce myself. I recognize you from Facebook.”
11. Free parking.
12. Judging started on time.
13. Watching people react as their rabbits were announced as class winners.
14. Watching one of them lose their mind when their rabbit was announced for Best of Breed.
15. Youth breeders walking around the showroom like they owned it – no parents in sight. We’ve got this, mom!
16. Viewing arts and crafts exhibits.
17. Watching rabbit hopping.
18. The chicken tenders and fries basket. So bad, but so good.
19. A patient, helpful and hard-working show committee.
20. Everyone had a camera.
21. Everyone cleaned their coops and helped keep aisles clear.
22. Rummaging through baskets of colorful EZ crocks and buying all the pink ones.
23. Talking to representatives for the Oxygen formulas and KBTatts pen. I love listening to people explain the things they’re passionate about.
24. Thumbing through historical convention catalogs at the ARBA booth.
25. The thrill of bidding on an auction animal.
26. Watching a BEW Jersey Wooly auction for $700 – and knowing half the proceeds go to youth scholarships.
27. Careful handling by every judge.
28. Learning from youth breeders about their breed of choice.
29. Watching a buck I purchased climb his way into 3rd place among nearly 40 others in his class.
30. Meeting people face-to-face after “knowing” them for years online.
31. Watching Best in Show judging.
32. An appearance by Pennsylvania Secretary of Agriculture George Greig.
33. A visit from the folks at Good Morning America and the segment that aired this morning about rabbit hopping.
34. Browsing breed booths.
35. Everyone wearing breed-specific clothing … and having enough outfits for the entire week.
36. Lionheads made history by becoming the 48th ARBA recognized breed.
37. The showroom was open to the public.
38. Free parking.
39. Great security. My roommates and I had our bags checked multiple times during the week.
40. English Angoras peeking through their bangs at me.
41. Choosing a few special “convention bunnies” to bring home.
42. Learning more about both of the breeds I work with.
43. Learning more about breeds I don’t work with.
44. A rabbit-savvy veterinarian was on-call.
45. The showroom stayed warm, even when it was chilly outside.
46. Bringing non-rabbit friends to see the show.
47. There was a tri-color Texel cavy. Just saying! ❤
48. The showroom was within driving distance of some of the most historical areas of Pennsylvania.
49. Both of the Best in Show judges selected by exhibitors were from Pennsylvania.
50. There were enough seats for everyone (and more) to see BIS judging.
51. There were professional photographers to help exhibitors capture their most memorable moments.
52. All of my transporters picked up their rabbits on time.
53. The huge farmer’s market held Tuesday in the parking lot of the convention center.
54. The “Bunny Swap and Shop” held Saturday at Burger King beside the convention center.
55. People traveled from all over the world to attend.
56. The show was held in the same venue as the very first ARBA show I attended.
57. “McFlurry” the broken chocolate Holland Lop. Ya’ll know what I’m talking about.
58. The wall of black Polish. Every single one reminded me of our dearest pet bunny, Taffy.
59. Watching running breeds own the table.
60. The suspense when a judge placed a rabbit in the coops behind them.
61. The obnoxiously large classes of Holland Lops that extended half the length of the showroom.
62. Gentle, careful runners.
63. The custom cannon awards.
64. Ten-minute check-out.
65. Registration packets that included all the information needed.
66. Check-out packets that included comment cards, show reports, and legs.
67. “Shavings only” bins to make cleaning easier.
68. (Free) bags of shavings to freshen cages.
69. Chairs respectfully lined up against walls or on the end of coops, rather than in the middle of walkways.
70. People who listed the cost of sale animals on their coop tags. It helps to know.
71. The lady who helped me lift my cart over the crater in the parking lot.
72. The magnificent horses exercising outside the equine arena.
73. Everyone who slowed down or moved quickly to allow me to merge into their turning lane. Sorry, I don’t do cities often.
74. The security guy who told us “the showroom is locked … except the front door.” Luckily we weren’t there to confiscate bunnies, but you gave us a good laugh.
75. The relative distance between the showroom and Hershey’s Chocolate World. Coincidence?
76. Chairs. Because it was kind of a pain to tote folding chairs four-and-a-half miles uphill both ways to the showroom … I really appreciated that there were chairs and benches. A lot.
77. It was my first convention.
78. Youth coops were only two levels high. I know, maybe the adjustment seems like a no-brainer, but it really is nice that it came to someone’s mind.
79. Youth and Open in separate rooms … there was plenty of room to move around!
80. Being in the presence of thousands of people who love rabbits as much as I do.
81. The excited squeals as group winners were announced.
82. The camaraderie of each breed-specific community.
83. Name tags on lanyards.
84. Cheering for friends.
85. The grooming spray offered for sale on the honor system.
86. Bunnies with special treats in their cages.
87. The grooming area and watching the big, fluffy bunnies and their owners inside it.
88. Watching a youth breeder put her cavy’s hair in rollers.
89. It was in Pennsylvania. One hour from my house.
90. For five days, I didn’t have to explain to anyone why I raise rabbits.