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Comeback trail: Rash, North Bullitt convention winners

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By The Staff

HEBRON ESTATES – Tabitha Rash and her family have become synonymous with raising and showing rabbits in the area.

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All three daughters of Butch and Yvonda Rash have been active in the sport.

In 2008, Louisville would be home to the national convention of the American Rabbit Breeders Association, an event that attracts entrants from all over the world.

Tabitha was looking forward to entering.

Unfortunately, along came a train derailment in January 2007, and it wiped out her crop of rabbits.

Thanks to some friends in the rabbit business, all was not lost as Tabitha’s entries placed among the tops in the world.

And the convention was also a major winner for North Bullitt High School, who will collect about $35,000 for its part in making the convention a success.

In the youth competition, two of her entries placed in the top six, including a fourth-place finish.

In all, Tabitha had six entrants. But, after the train derailment, she didn’t know if she would have any.

“I wasn’t expecting to place,” said Tabitha. “I was so excited when I finished fourth.”

To have breeders give her such high-quality rabbits to restart her operation is amazing, said her mother.

“She worked so hard to get re-established,” she said. “It is incredible to then place in a national competition.”

Tabitha has actually participated in a national competition at the age of 5 but really didn’t remember the experience.

This year was a fun one, especially meeting so many people from all over the world.

Both of her winning rabbits were about 10 months old. She also placed in the top 20 of the royalty competition, which included interviews.

The 17-year-old, who is a member of the Fall City Rabbit Club, wasn’t sure if she would continue to compete next year as she enters college.

However, she would like to pass along her knowledge to others.

In the national competition, Andy Mahan competed in the open event and placed 16th out of 93 entries.

For the North Bullitt athletic program, hundreds of students and adults volunteered to build over 30,000 rabbit cages for the event, held at the Kentucky Exposition Center.

Yvonda Rash said the Kentucky State Rabbit Breeders Association, which was hosting the national convention, was looking for some group to build and dismantle the cages in a quick turnaround. Security was also needed.

In talking with Paul Kulmer and then North Bullitt basketball coach Lee Barger, Rash said the school was given an opportunity to do the work.

“I think everyone was a little nervous in the beginning,” said Rash. “But the kids did an awesome job.”

Kulmer said he knew that Barger’s organizational skills would make the project possible.

For their work, the school was awarded a check for over $30,000 with another $5,000 due.

The money will go toward insulating and putting heat and air into the weight room and indoor batting cages.

“I was so glad the school had an opportunity to do it,” said Rash. “And they did an excellent job.”