Peyton Brackenbury moves with confidence as she takes hold of her rabbit's ears and flips Snickers to his back.
The 11-year-old West Richland girl can push his paws to release his catlike claws and the buck remains unfazed.
Snickers is Brackenbury’s first rabbit. He’s used to the attention, because she uses him for fitting and showing at the Benton Franklin Fair & Rodeo in Kennewick.
Snickers isn’t for sale in today’s Rabbit and Feathers Auction, but 130 other rabbits and 157 chickens, ducks, turkey, pigeons and geese will be.
The auction starts at noon in the outdoor arena near the sheep barn. Rabbits will be second, starting about 1:30 p.m.
Peyton plans to sell two other rabbits -- Tim and Mia -- and two chickens, as well as a lamb in the market stock sale. The proceeds will help pay her way later this year to the national convention of the American Rabbit Breeders Association in Fort Worth, Texas. Snickers might accompany her, but she hasn’t quite decided who her crew will be.
Like the larger animals, the small animals are mostly sold for meat. Of course it is up to the buyer, who may prefer a pet.
Rabbit isn’t a common meat, so quite a few people end up buying the rabbits and giving them back.
Kelsi Ramos, 18, of Kennewick, said it’s difficult to only raise one rabbit. She got into rabbits after deciding horses were just a bit too big and expensive. That was six years ago. Now she breeds Mini Satin rabbits, and has a total of 18 — including Owen, a Harlequin buck who is basically her pet.
“He’s pretty chill,” she said.
Two of Kelsi’s rabbits, Ina and Ro, will be part of the market sale. Ina was rated fourth of all the market rabbits. If it is given back to her after the auction, she’ll return Ina to the breeder to help breed more rabbits, she said.
Two other rabbits up for bid will be Si and Ami, Satin Blues raised by Aaron Mahaffey, 13, of Pasco. He hopes the rabbits and his sheep will help him raise some money to care for his animals -- he also has six guinea pigs -- and to save for college.
If he gets the rabbits back after the auction, he plans to breed them for the rabbits he will raise for next year’s fair. It’s his first year showing rabbits.
Showing rabbits means a lot of care to make sure they are healthy. They also need to be groomed and handled regularly. Nails have to be clipped, Peyton said.
Rabbit teeth never stop growing, so she gives her rabbits paper rolls for them to chew on, which helps grind down their teeth.
Handling rabbits is not without risk. Kelsi, who also is headed to the national convention, still has a scar on her arm where her first rabbit nipped her when she held it wrong. But now she’s experienced, easily picking up Owen, who tucks his head under her arm like it’s a security blanket.
Peyton plans to breed her two Hotot rabbits, named Hot and Tot, which she has only had for about two months after buying them in Canada.
Tot is all white except for what looks like eyeliner around his eyes. She jokes that Hot, who is from a different litter, forgot to put on her makeup.
Not everyone showing animals is willing to part with them. Laura Corwin, 9, of West Richland, showed chickens for her first time this year. Her sister Leia, 6, brought a turkey.
Their mom, Jennifer Corwin, said they’ve had chickens for about 10 years. But this is the first year Laura was old enough to show at the fair.
Laura showed chicken Chicka. “She’s small and pretty,” Laura said. Together, they earned first place.
- Kristi Pihl: 509-582-1512; firstname.lastname@example.org
Today’s fair events 10 a.m. — Kid Zone opens.Noon — Davis Carnival rides open.7 p.m. — Horse Heaven Round-up starts in the rodeo arena.7:30 p.m. — Grand Funk Railroad on the main stage. Free with admission to the fair, reserved seats additional $10. Fair hours: 9 a.m. to 11 p.m.General admission: $13 ages 13 and older, $5 seniors and kids 12 and younger. Parking is $8.More fair coverage: www.tri-cityherald.com/benton-franklin-fair