National English Rabbit Club

~ The 24 Carat Club ~


YSS 2017 Show Report

B.Double           Gold Cup Winner 2010

Written by Sam Vogan

National English Rabbit Club held their YSS and adult support show on the 24th and 25th June this year, back at the Newark showground alongside the UK Dutch. Personally my first time at Newark and I was very impressed by the beautiful setting – trees lined the back of the camping areas, birds singing and the grass appeared freshly manicured - the top notch weather helping add to Newark’s charm.

I arrived around 10am on the Saturday morning, admittedly later than planned and the show hall was buzzing with both English and Dutch fanciers from all over Great Britain. With show sec Roy Wearmouth taking the entry money and Steve Germany with lists of pen numbers, I had very quickly penned and was able to mingle and catch up with a few of the faces I haven’t seen in a while. The kitchen was kept busy with people needing a morning caffeine fix and a bacon butty but with the Kirklands and a few other people in there, the queue quickly moved and in usual fashion, it was service with a smile.
I was truly delighted to see Ian Mcconnell and Ken Brownsord (as I’m sure most of us, if not all of us were) as I’d heard both possibly wouldn’t be in attendance. I got a little over excited and ended up giving Ken a big hug when he seemed to just appear out of nowhere in front of me with his usual beaming grin plastered on his mush.

Everywhere I looked, people were chatting amongst themselves, smiling and laughing. Judging hadn’t even started and there was a wonderful atmosphere in the hall – You could even say that there was a waft of optimism in the air as a few fanciers had already started looking in the pens and quietly discussing who they thought would be the class winners.

Judging started a little later than advertised. Judges Blair Gardiner (Bucks), Russell Fenn (Does) and Bob Bushell (adults) were set to work with their first colour of the day – The blues. Stewards quickly got the required rabbits from the pens and all three judges began going over the exhibits, giving them all a thorough examination.
From the 8 bucks, Blair decided that Kent Park Stud’s was his best and Russell put up Stevie Dixon’s doe for the blue cup challenge. There was a lot of discussion between Blair and Russell during the challenge, both going over each other’s winner thoroughly, finding what they liked and what they didn’t but they couldn’t come to a mutual agreement and the referee judge was called. In stepped Oliver Brasier who gave both rabbits a good going over before making his decision and declaring Stevie’s doe the winner. With the winning blue being settled into its new pen on winners row, both judges set about on the next classes – the greys.

Again, both Blair and Russell systematically worked their way through the exhibits, giving them a real good go over to make sure every positive and negative aspect of each rabbit had been considered. Russel had 12 doe’s, of which he chose Brian Taylor’s as best and Blair chose S&J Howson’s buck out of 9 his best.
Time for the grey colour cup challenge! The crowd gathered and Blair and Russell swapped rabbits, the concentration unfaltering between these two judges. Another inconclusive result as they again were unable to reach an agreement leaving Steve Germany once again calling for Oliver to ref. Another thorough inspection for the 2 greys and Oliver chose S&J Howson’s grey as the winner. A round of applause as the buck/doe was rehoused on winners row and the judges went back to their respective tables to carry on with their days work.

Out came the torts – Russell with a class of 9 doe’s and Blair having 4 bucks to get his hands on. Blair opted for Ian McConnell’s buck as his winner and was left waiting for Russell to select his doe (I suppose that’s the only real issue for judges when one has a small class and the other a large class – Still, gave Blair chance for 5 minutes to himself!). After what felt like a bit of a while (Maybe it just felt so long to me as I was nervously watching to see how my little doe would fair!) and some careful judging, Russell opted for Bellamoure Stud’s doe. So the buck and the doe hit the table for challenge. This challenge, much like the tort doe class felt to me to take a lifetime even though in reality, we all know it didn’t take the hours that it felt! Russell and Blair again deciding they wanted different rabbits to win the cup but Russell explained why he liked the doe and after another examination, Blair was in agreement – Surely a bit of a relief for Oliver. The doe took cup and was placed on winner’s row.

Unfortunately, I missed a fair bit of the choc judging as I was helping settle the tort in to her pen and shaking hands as people came to congratulate me however I can only imagine that again, both judges were thorough over their classes of 11 bucks and 8 does respectively. Russell selected Kettlewood & Sharp’s doe as his winner, Blair putting up Bushmill Stud’s as his buck class winner. Time for challenge! I managed to just about catch this from where I was (my height being a slight disadvantage and having to bob around like a lunatic to try and see a little more than the back of a head). Like the tort judging, Oliver was given a free pass and not needed to referee as Russell and Blair opted for Bushmill Stud’s buck for cup. A round of applause all round.

Last colour to hit the tables was the blacks – both bucks and does looked to have some stiff competition. I’d go as far as saying the blacks were the strongest this year.
Russell had 15 doe’s to split while Blair had 14 buck’s to work through. A little while after starting, they’d finally got their winners. Russell chose Stevie Dixon’s doe and Blair had settled on Bob Chappell’s buck. The crowd really gathered for this challenge. Both very nice exhibits, it could go either way. There were a lot of mutterings as we all watched “Whoever wins this challenge will surely take best in show” was something I heard quietly going around the room, and I was inclined to agree. I was well aware that my little tort doe didn’t stand a chance at the gold cup, especially with the blacks looking as good as they did!
Blair and Russell again struggled to decide between them so Oliver was called for to referee meaning 3 out of 5 cup winners were decided by the referee. In came Oliver, yet another thorough inspection for the 2 exhibits and some careful consideration on Oliver’s part. The English end of the room fell quiet, all of us waiting to see who had clinched it. “The doe wins the cup!”, a big round of applause and a couple of cheers as people congratulated Stevie.

The judges then had the job of best buck and best doe classes, again, people were eagle eyed and gathering – Myself included. I opted to watch the doe table, I had already chose my winner and I wanted to see if I was right (I hadn’t chosen my tort, it’s a nice thought though). Russell worked his way through a fair few doe’s with what appeared relative ease. I glanced over to the buck table and Blair was going over his bucks again to select his best buck. I decided to go around once more with one of John’s football cards while people were gathered – Makes it easier if they’re all in groups so I didn’t get to see the end of the best buck and best doe classes but I quickly found that Stevie’s black doe was best doe with S&J Howson’s grey best buck. Well that meant one thing now… BEST IN SHOW!

I found a spot where the vertically challenged
(aka Me) could easily watch the best in show
proceedings and glued myself to it – I didn’t fancy
bobbing around with a back pocket full of change for
John’s football cards. Again, Russell and Blair
swapped exhibits, giving them a real good go over
before posing them both on the table (the rabbits
that is, not each other!) for the final looks.
I couldn’t hear what was said between them but
hands were shook.
“National English young stock show best in show
2017 goes to the black doe”
The hall erupted in cheers, whoops and applause,
people rushing to Stevie Dixon to shake his hand and
congratulate him on his worthy winner!
Smiles all round and Stevie beaming in the mass
of people.

While the YSS was going on, Bob Bushell with his small team of stewards had worked his way through the adults – pacing each of his colour classes with the YSS judging, probably a very wise move as it meant he was able to watch the YSS cup challenges and the back end of the classes. I didn’t get to really watch any of the adult support show judging for selling the squares of the football cards and keeping an eye on YSS meant I was buzzing around the hall most of the day but like Russell and Blair, whenever I popped on over to them in hopes of extracting more cash, Bob was being thorough and ensuring he found what he believed to be the best of each class.
Best Black – Bellamoure Stud
Best Blue – Kitwood Stud
Best Grey – A. Lakin
Best Tort – Bellamoure Stud
Best Choc – R. Took
Bob awarded BIS to Bellamoure Stud’s tort doe and runner up to Ian Mcconnell’s tort – What a result for the torts!

With the best in shows decided, it was time to feed the rabbits and leave before the nights gathering and BBQ.
The night time saw fanciers from both NERC and UK Dutch gather at the back of the show hall, taking advantage of the bar and Oliver’s tasty BBQ. The drinks were flowing and everyone was in high spirits – Smiles, laughter and story sharing was the order of the night. The tables were filled, everybody eating and drinking – Getting a little worse for wear admittedly but it’d be a crime not to when you’ve got a bar plonked in front of you. Man of the day, Stevie Dixon coming round with the whiskey and helping us all on our way to double vision and a hangover in the morning, joking as he went. I cannot fault the atmosphere in the room that night, this is what National’s are all about; loads of us together and just enjoying each other’s company, what isn’t to like?
A few of the UK Dutch lads treated us to some good, honest and somewhat adult stand-up comedy – the room silent of chatter but filled with howling laughter, probably for the best that the young ears of the group had already left and gone to bed beforehand!

As the night went on into the early hours, I said my goodnights and headed for the tent – As someone who doesn’t usually drink at all, I’d put a fair bit away and needed a decent sleep. I was told the next morning that some had stayed as late as 2.30am. Did I not warn that the English fanciers can be party animals some times? Seems to me that the Dutch fanciers are just as bad too!

Sunday morning was sunny and bright. Shockingly, I didn’t feel hungover so it was a case of get ready and get up to the show hall to check the rabbits. My mum had already beaten me to it so I enjoyed a coffee or 3. As the judges were judging the duplicate classes and the first leg of Spotlight competition, I went to task with the last 3 football cards, extracting money from both clubs fanciers. We filled them pretty easily but seemed unable to sell the very last boxes. Thankfully, we were taken pity on by the Hirstle’s and the job was done. Over the course of the weekend, we managed to fill all 5 football cards raising £200 which was split 50/50 between NERC and UK Dutch. Thank you to everyone who helped us raise that much and didn’t run away and hide when they saw me coming. “Don’t blame me guys, blame John Kay for giving me so many of them!” seemed to be my joking line of the weekend as I shook the money cup. I believe that the raffle also raised a fair bit which is fabulous – Even if it did leave some of you cursing us as we happily emptied out the contents of your wallets.

Sadly, it seemed that I had missed all of the Sunday’s judging
due to the fundraising and counting cash but Alicia Howell’s took
junior best in show with Bellamoure Stud winning ladies. I hadn’t
long finished counting cash and having yet another coffee when it
was time to walk down for NERC AGM.

The rest of the afternoon was spent chatting and taking a
decent look in all the pens as we awaited the presentations and
the raffle draw. The kitchen being kept busy again. A thank you
must be said to everyone in the kitchen for keeping us hydrated
and fed all weekend, you can’t knock the service or food you
get at a National and then to John and Co for manning the bar.
They really do work hard for all of us to ensure we have a great time.

Presentation time was soon upon us. The display was beautiful once again and really caught your eye as you entered the hall. One by one, winners were announced followed by applause as everybody went up for the handshake and photos with our new lady president, Janet Howson – A line of people baring camera’s in front of the crowd made sure we were caught on our best side, worst side and any other side you can think of.

John then called for the raffle draw, the table filled with prizes which meant it took a little while to get through but it’s all good fun. Exhibitors were thanked for their attendance, round of applause to close the show and that was that. YSS 2017 was over. All that was left to do was prize money to be collected, pens emptied, the pens to be stripped down and everyone to go home.

A big thank you goes to everybody who helped put on such a terrific weekend for us all to enjoy. The organisers, the committee’s, the card writers and those in the kitchen and bar. A national show is always an absolute joy to attend and a testament to those who make it possible. Surely one I’ll remember fondly for a long time.

Choc BIS RHS with gold cup_edited-1
2018 Gold Cup Winner
bis with cup
Roger Prior Gold Cup Winner 2008

National English Rabbit Club

Mr Phil Shaw
(01325) 260409

BIS YSS Stevie dixon

BIS, Best Black & Best Blue
Stevie Dixon

Alicia Howells Juvenile

Alicia Howells - Best Jr

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