This year was our first ARBA convention. We had many ideas given to us by other breeders that we were very glad we did. There were also a few things where we kind of went, “Oh, I wish we would have done that, and even a couple of “oops, well that worked out good.”
I learned through my business travels, and even vacations that the closer you are to the event, the less stress, the less travel, and the more enjoyable the event. Yes, you generally will pay a little more for the convention hotel. For our four nights we probably paid a total of $80 more than had we stayed at another hotel. However, we didn’t have to load up into the car, try to find a parking space, nor did we have to walk and worry about inclement weather.
Its sad that our society is like this, but the reality is that when you put a couple of thousand people in a building, there will likely be some dishonest people. Some breeders would be willing to use your rabbits for stud, and others would be brash enough to even try to steal a rabbit. Its possible that with the age of the cages used at shows, that a rabbit could even escape on its own. So we zip tied all of our cages.
Your cages must be able to be opened during judging. So on that day your must remove your zip ties, or locks. I like the idea of a lock since anyone can walk up and cut off a zip tie. The problem is that if you do not make it in time on the day of breed judging, no one is going to be able to remove the lock. We had someone in jersey’s not make it to the showroom on time, and we just cut their zip ties so that their rabbits could be shown.
The rabbits in the showroom will be sort by judging groups and varieties. So your rabbits will not all be caged near each other. We just used a fluorescent pink card, similar to our business card. We then used laminating luggage tags, to secure them to the cages. We did see some very creative cage markers, such as Maple Leaf Rabbitry, which had a small picket fence with a maple leaf attached!
Ok, so many of the convention organizers may not like this idea. We actually did this by accident. We had a rabbit that went into a horrible molt just before convention. We decided to scratch that rabbit. So that left us with an empty cage. We used that cage to store many of our extra supplies. It was a great help. We plan to enter an extra rabbit next year so that we can do the same. Now it will cost us an extra $11-$12 but its worth it to us!
Food inside a convention center will be high. It doesn’t matter where you go. Bring your own snacks, lunch meats, and bread and save yourself a lot of money. Make sure your hotel room has a refrigerator, and if not see if the hotel staff can get you one.
We have both a lap top and a Dell Axim (PDA) that we use when we travel. We can keep up on the blog and all of our emails. Many people will leave their computers at home because the hotel does not offer free internet access. Hotspots have become very popular in certain areas of hotels as well as in restaurants, and they are usually free. We had three spots within our hotel where we could access the internet at no cost.
The host club will mail you a list of your registered rabbits. You will need this list when you check in to the show. What we forgot is that we would also need that to check out. We then had to make the mad dash back to the van to find the list. So remember you need that list to check out!
Plan to take the time, and spend the money, to attend at least one of the many banquets that will happen during the convention. The ARBA will have its regular banquet as well as a youth banquet. Plus many of the specialty clubs will have a banquet. They are a lot of fun, the food is usually decent, and the opportunity to sit with fellow breeders is rewarding.
We had a great time at our first ARBA Convention and I’m sure you will
Three Little Ladies Rabbitry