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An Old Bethpage Fluff Piece

Evel Knievel twitched his nose, wiggled his tattooed ear and winked at the Palamino bunny. Too Hot to Trot flipped over and was judged according to the American Rabbit Breeders Standard of Perfection.

The haybarn in the Old Bethpage Village Restoration recently played host to 40 exhibitors with their assortment of bunnies ranging from Dutch Satins, Angoras, English Lop, and the Lionshead at the annual Spring Long Island Rabbit Show put on by the Long Island Rabbit Breeders Association. After viewing these animals, one quickly realizes that not all rabbits are white with pink noses.

Adele Tomassi from Great Neck was with her French Angora rabbits named CoCo Puff and Torta.

“I’m not showing this time,” said Tomassi. “I am here for demonstration and care and maintence of a rabbit like this.”

Tomassi told the family about how the rabbits interact with her other pets.

“They play tag with the cat, they chase each other,” she said. “The cat’s seven years old and he just loves them.”

Many of the exhibitors came from different states on the eastern seaboard, including James Brown and wife Aileen who brought 15 rabbits with them from Pennsylvania. The former Long Islanders live on a farm with 30 different rabbits and Brown’s golden Palmino Too Hot To Trot took first place in the show, while Aileen won first place for her French and Satin Angoras.

“My husband and I love coming to this show every year because it is held in a beautiful facility,” Aileen said of the barn at Old Bethpage Village Restoration. “I like old fashioned ways of life, and this hay barn with its wooden beams, beautiful windows, and the wooden floor, there is no other rabbit shows held in a place like this. We feel like it’s a fancy rabbit show.”

The rabbits all sport tattoos on their ears, which are used for identification. They are judged according to a book which classifies each rabbit and the standards. The judges hold the rabbits and flip them upside down inspecting hindquarters, midsection, shoulders, head and ears, feet and legs, fur, and color. Points are then added up and deductions are made for faults. One of the more amusing faults was non matching toenails. One 18 pound Palamino who was flipped on his back was so calm he fell asleep on the table and eventually won first place. People had a great time visiting with the rabbits, whether they won or not. After all, what’s not to love about a bunny, especially at Easter time.

President of the Long Island Rabbit Breeders Association, Mike Kinane, said this particular show has been held at the barn in Old Bethpage for close to 20 years.

“We have people from all come here, but most are from New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts,” said Kinane, who was there showing off his own Satin rabbits. “I have been showing rabbits for 25 years. Rabbits are an easy pet to take care of and it doesn’t cost as much as showing dogs. It’s a fun, rewarding hobby. They make great indoor pets and can be introduced to other animals.”