OTTUMWA — The humidity could not stop kids and judges hopping at the 4-H expo on Thursday.

For the third year in a row, 4-H expo kids got to show off their rabbits. Rabbit judge, Mike Avesing judged based on well the rabbit was cared for, on the rabbit’s teeth and overall appearance.

Rabbit Superintendents Albert Newman and Lisa Akers worked alongside the children, telling them where to place their rabbits and advise in other ways as needed. Akers said both also put on clinics for how to care for rabbits.

The superintendents also make sure the rabbits get tattooed on their left ears, as it is necessary for identifying rabbits at county and state fairs. Tattooing is compared to tagging cows. A lettering or number system is used to identify the rabbit’s breed, name and sex. “People will call us superintendents to find someone with a tattoo kit so the rabbit can get tattoos,” she said, “we’re the ones who make sure the rabbits are also tattooed.”

The fun and excitement were there, but something was different about this year’s rabbit show.

“Last year the cages were nicer because you could see the rabbits.” 4-H parent, Julie Barwick said. “It was also hotter this year.”

“This year we have a lot more rabbits,” Akers said, “I see a drop in the mini Rex’s (rabbit breed), all the kids do a great job and they love it.”

The kids had a blast showing off their rabbits and parents couldn’t stop beaming at their children’s awards. Daren Livingston a young 4-H member was happy with his progress at his first rabbit show. “I was so excited to get my first medal at my first rabbit show,” he said.

It was also 4-H member’s, Alexandra Perry’s first show. “I was very happy,” she said, “I definitely want to do this show again next year.”

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