Saturday, October 20, 2007

Unbelievably Friendly - 2007 ARBA Convention

My trip to Michigan had its up and down points, but most certainly I am very glad I went.
Thursday morning, I packed my bags into my dads truck and we left for Tigard, Oregon around noon. The trip up there was smooth and we found the Frantz's place easily. We chatted for a few and then I went to go help McKenna with her rabbits. She had some rabbits to tattoo and minor cleaning to do before she left home. After everything was all done we went out to a chinese resturant and had a good dinner.
At 2 AM we were up, we got dressed and loaded the rabbits. We had left the house by 3:30 and on our 15 minute journey to the Portland International Airport. Doug helped us unload the kennel and the baggage. We made our way to check in, checked and secured the kennel with the TSA's, went through security and had just enough time to board our plane at 6 AM. Flew into Salt Lake and watched the rabbits being loaded into our next plane. There we met a few other breeders from CA going into Detroit. Once we got into Detroit, we got all of our bags and the kennels came out just fine. All the animals looked good. We made our way through this airport to finally find a shuttle service at the opposite end! We went through 9 elevator levels atleast twice, but finally found the right one. We went across the street and of course the shuttle service we needed was the very last one! The man loaded our kennels and baggage and took us to the car rental. We rented a grand caravan and loaded two kennels 4 people and about 10 bags into it.... Tight fit but we made it. We then had a two hour drive over to Grand Rapids. We caught rush hour traffic. And then proceeded through road construction. We finally rolled into DeVos place around 10 PM. We unloaded McKenna's and Muriel's rabbits into their coops with risers, feed/water cups and cage markers. No problems there. We go into the Amway Grand Plaza, and McKenna and I made our way up to our room while Janice and Muriel parked the van. We ordered room service and hit the bed around 1 AM.
Saturday we were up around 8 AM. We trudged our way to the show room and fed and watered the rabbits. I walked up and down the Mini Lop isle and only found 5 of my coops. So I got my check in packet and there were only 5 animals on the sheet, 4 of my animals were missing on the sheet and they didn't have coops! What a nightmare. I cannot describe the feeling that was in my stomach at that point as I knew I was in for a mess. Luckily, I brought my conformation page with all 9 animals up there. We went up to the registration desk, showed a lady and she called the superintendant "Jane" down there. She ran off with both of my papers, which I was utterly worried about. While standing there nearly 3 hours, we met a man "Willis" who was more eager to help us solve our problems. He was probably running on negative 48 hours of sleep, but by Saturday evening he had found us 4 temporary coops with the Rex to place my animals for the night. [Kathie had arrived around 6 PM that night and I grabbed all 10 of my animals out of the trailer and McKenna and I unloaded them, fed and watered them] All were alive and made the trip rather well. Going cross country in carriers does put some stress on the rabbits.
Sunday morning we had to be up bright and early.I had watched opening announcemnts because I was supposed to meet Roger there. Willis had come up to me to tell me he had found Janice's number, and he was still active in trying to get my issue solved. Gary Michaud had all of us Youth cram in one corner by the Grand River and made the announcements of all the royalty stuff. Roger H. assured me that the GLRSC would figure my entry out and not to worry while judging and breed ID. Started off with Indvidual judging. We must have waited in line over 3 hours. Roger came through the line of queens to find me to re-assure me my animals were getting fixed as he had just got done talking to Jane. For invidual juding I did Silver Martens, New Zealand, Harlequin and Havanas. We then gathered our Team Judging members and got ready to go at 1:30. I personally had to do Britania Petites and Champagne D'Argents, but my other team members did French Angoras and Himilayans! When we got done with that we made our way over to Individual Breed ID. It was a dark cold area on the loading docks, but I made it through that. When we were done with that it was nearly 3 PM. Ken Henry had picked up Boomer. I had found Klara and went to feed and water her. We went back up to the hotel room to breathe for an hour or so. Willis called and told us to meet him or Ed, they had found coops for me, with cage numbers AND a complete entry sheet!!! 6 oclock deadline was nearing so I browsed the isles to make sure coop numbers, ear numbers, classes and everything was correct. I signed it and took a huge breath realizing my entry was complete! YAY! I moved my animals into their new coops. They were over by the ARBA youth booth, so they were only around a few other animals. There were 23,000+ aniamals and the building was just right for it. :)The cages never seemed to end! Ate dinner and rolled into bed, Monday would be a long day.
Woke up at 6 AM. Fed/watered rabbits and made our way up to the 3rd level to go take our 200 Q written test. I found it to be rather easy and had it finished within the hour. There I learned that there were FOURTY Queens competiting for the royalty title. I made my way down to the show room to see that the SSB class was only probably halfway through. Stitch and Quintessence had placed and there was a note that there were 4 animals in different coop areas, so atleast they knew they were there! Then they did the SSD's. Kevin Hooper put Kokomo in a placing coop, and when it boiled down to placing she got 19th! They did SJB's so I went and rested/checked on how McKenna's rabbits were doing. I then came back to watch SJD's. I could tell he liked RW5, and he immediately put her in a placing coop. She ended up placing 17th! He loved everything about her except that her head was a little narrow for her age, but I already knew he would say that. She is a very nice doe otherwise. BSB's, Boomer had left with Ken so I didn't need to watch. I am not sure what I did in this time, but I ran around the show room. I missed the BSD's but I learned later that Blue Bijou ended up placing 18th! I missed the BSD's because I was watching McKenna's AFL's. We went back up to the hotel. I figured I could miss the BJB class because Buster Blue wasn't going to do much. Boy I was wrong. We ended up coming back down to feed/water before going to dinner. I looked down the long row of Mini Rex to spot Kevin Hooper still doing Mini Lops! And who did I see?! BUSTER! So I ran up there to see that there were 15 animals left! He placed a few more and Buster placed 11th!!!! WOW! We strolled down to the ARBA youth booth. They posted results at 4 PM. I QUALIFIED FOR AN INTERVIEW! I was so stoked. Orig. there were 40 queens and only 20 got interviews! (basically if you didn't get an interview you were already out of the running). So McKenna and I practiced and practiced for interviews. Probably none of the questions we asked each other got asked, but it was good to hear what each other of us had to say.
Woke up Tuesday early because the judging wasn't done yet. My interview was at 11:20, and McKenna's was at 12:20. I know I could have done better....... but I gave it my best shot. I returned to watch McKenna's buck take BOS to Collin Burn's BIS convention winning doe!!! {which was determined later}. I then went with McKenna for her interview. I am pretty sure after that McKenna and I ran around taking photos of all the bunnies. I had a goal to take 500 photos, but I only achieved 175, and most all of them were rabbits!!!!
Wednesday McKenna, Janice, Muriel and Carol all had their fuzzy brunch. So I was on my own to do whatever I pleased. I watched the standards committee presentation. I can't remember all of them, but Broken Havanas passed (Congrats Brad), Sable Mini Rex passed (Congrats Jeremy), Broken NZ passed, Himi and Chinchilla MS passed, Red, Opal, and Copper MS passed (Congrats Randy!). It was actually somewhat interesting to watch : ) I did get pics of some of the presentation animals before, but not during... I don't think I had my camera on me at the time. I met up with people I had to sell/deliver animals to. Got all those details straightented out. We came back to the hotel room around 4, got dressed for the banquet. Went down to Benthams to eat dinner. We then made our way to the ballroom around 6:30. Roger was supposed to show up, but he didn't. Which was quite depressing as OREGON WON 2ND PLACE TEAM JUDING IN NATION OF 18 STATES/TEAMS!!!!!!!!!! That was worth the whole trip for us! Afterwards Jen, Alex, McKenna and I got our photographs taken. Will post those pics as soon as I get them from Janice or Charlcie. From there we spent the rest of the night packing. We had to be up at 5 AM, to get into the show room at 6 AM, to load our rabbits and be at the aiport at 2 (with a 3+ hour over to Detroit!!!). Got down there, I met Kathie and got my carriers, loaded the rabbits, got my check out packet and had my rabbits checked out and zip tied by Dan and put back in Kathies trailer within an hour. I then helped McKenna and Muriel with their rabbits. We loaded the rabbits into the van, went back and got our luggage and started our journey over to Detroit. Allen Mesick was supposed to drive us over to the airport and fill up our van, but things came up so Muriel drove. We filled up in Portland, Michigan (which is NOTHING like Portland, Oregon) and we did get pics of that. Since we can't pump our own gas here it was a first time experience for all of us :). When we arrived at the car rental a nice young man drove us to the airport, we uloaded, got the rabbits checked in (Ambrosinos and Kassi Sieber were right behind us). They patted all of our rabbits down and we then waited about an hour for our plane to arrive. Better to be early than late. :) Got on our long plane ride into Salt Lake City. We then had a 3 hour layover, but it was nice to look at the snow capped mountains and be able to breathe some cool mountain air. We then got on the plane to Portland. It was dark now. We were almost to Portland and we hit 150 m/hr head winds, which caused a lot of turbulance and it woke me up. The weather was just horrible and the landing wasn't 5 stars but hey, we were on the ground :) The rabbits made it safe and sound, Doug was waiting for us and Tom was waiting for Muriel, and we loaded all the stuff and drove back to Tigard. I took a nice hot shower and climbed into little Jeffrey's bed and I was OUT! I probably didn't wake up till 8 AM. Ate breakfast and helped McKenna feed and water the bunnies until my dad got there around 1. Got home late. Unloaded some of my stuff, took another shower and headed to bed. Thus here I am. I am still pooped.
Overall I want to thank........ first off my dad for doing all the driving. There was no where to safely place my car for a week while I am thousands of miles away. Doug, Janice, McKenna - Doug for driving us to/from the airport and Janice and McKenna for being my tag/room buddies at Convention. Muriel and Carol for being polite having the room next to us!!!! Jane Burts for being extremly understanding when my rabbits had no coops, Willis and Ed for getting my rabbits straightented out! Thanks guys! Roger for stepping in when you needed to! And for getting me a banquet ticket! Everyone was unbelievably friendly and outgoing. I met a lot of nice people and I can't wait to do it again!
[I will post pics as soon as I get them uploaded :)] --- And this is an extremly shortened version of my convention. I left out a lot of stuff.... SO much to report!

No comments: