By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Kids, animals just go together
Times photo: Anthony Wahl Nick Mabeus, 15, of Monroe, picks up his rabbit after it took off down the judging table while waiting for the rabbit judging Thursday afternoon at the Green County Fair in Monroe.
MONROE - For most teenagers, rabbits aren't a lifelong passion. But since the age of 6, Alyssa Bailey has shown rabbits at the Green County Fair.

For Bailey, 15, all the work of learning how to take care of the animals has paid off.

Her New Zealand rabbit won champion honors for that bread Wednesday in the junior rabbit judging.

With five entries of her own in the rabbit show, the maximum allowed in the competition, Bailey says she remembers how she first became interested in the furry creatures.

"My mom had shown them when she was younger and then she started it with me when I was younger," said Bailey, of Brodhead. "It started with one. Then it went up to about 70. It kept growing and growing."

Now, however, she's down to only about 30 animals, which still offer plenty of work for the teen.

"You are always breeding for the best," Bailey said.

Key features that she looks for in her New Zealand rabbits are mainly the ears, but also the crowns and size of their heads

"You basically want their bodies to look like a ball," Bailey said.

Bailey is not the only family member who shows animals at the fair. Bailey's sister also shows rabbits. And there is some competition between the girls.

"Yes, between the single fryers (rabbits) every year," Bailey said. "There always is (competition) but we are generally pretty good about it."

Bailey's been a member of Decatur 4-H for eight years and a member of Brodhead FFA for about four years.

"There is a lot of good opportunity in 4-H and FFA with the leadership conferences and being able to travel with the exchanges," Bailey said. "You meet a lot of different people."