Earlier Wednesday afternoon, one 4-H’er was busy checking on each of her five rabbits.
The sweltering heat had resulted in almost eight people being treated for temperature-related illnesses the previous day. The hot weather isn’t any better for rabbits, which at least are fortunate enough to be in one of the few air conditioned buildings on the fairgrounds.
Dustie Hashey, 12, of Morgantown, took each of her rabbits out of their cages one-by-one, holding them up to make sure they weren’t getting too hot.
Because a rabbit breathes through it’s nose, the key is to make sure it’s nose isn’t twitching too fast, a sign that it might be overheating, she said.
Her grandmother introduced Dustie to caring for rabbits a couple of years ago, and now she has five of her own.
This year, one of her black and orange colored harlequin rabbits — a breed denoted by its two alternating colors of fur — took first place for its breed. Last year, one of her Polish rabbits took home that honor.
The key to showing rabbits is making sure their coats are well washed and groomed, their teeth are clean and their noses are clipped. Judges also look to make sure the rabbit’s features line up with what is typical for that breed, Hashey said.