I once knew a girl whose screenname was “Always2ndBest.” Do you ever feel like that? Like every day that ends in Y, right?
In rabbits, Tiffany and I call it the Rocky Syndrome. Those bunnies — usually bucks– that you can rely on placing in the top five in a large class, but never grand. They rarely, if ever, come home with a win. They’re always second-best.
Ever had one of those?
Rocky was a broken black Polish buck. I bred him, but Tiffany showed him his whole career. I would need to get the exact stats from her, but when Rocky finally retired he had one or two legs and at least 20 2nd or 3rd place finishes, in large classes.
His younger brother Conquistador had the same complex. When I stopped showing CQ he had chalked up prestigious finishes such as second place at the ARBA convention AND Polish Nationals, but only had one leg to his name.
Why does this happen? I think it happens to rabbits that are of very good quality, but just not quite great. There’s nothing that jumps out about them that’s wrong, but they don’t have the flare of a BIS winner either. And I don’t mean that they have one fault holding them back. Sometimes you can get a rabbit that looks just stunning…if you ignore all the scattered white hairs. Or has some standout fault but is otherwise fantastic. That kind of rabbit might win sometimes, and might not even be in the top five: it depends on how much that prominent fault bothers the judge.
Rocky and CQ weren’t like that. They were all around good Polish rabbits: short, round, deep, with good coats and a sort of “in the middle” head shape that could appease both the judges who like dwarfy heads and the ones that want longer, more refined heads. But their patterns were plain, and they just didn’t have that edge.
So I’m curious to hear what you think: would you rather have a buck with the Rocky Syndrome, that doesn’t have any major issues and can rack up sweepstakes points (confess, you do care about sweeps points…), or would you rather have a rabbit that is flashy and almost amazing — but has a single glaring fault.
My answer: Whichever makes better babies.