In 1998, after a day of judging and showing rabbits and cavies at a beachside show in Cardiff, California, Kevin Whaley, Randy Shumaker, and Chris Zemny sat down for dinner in San Diego. As a lot of after-show dinners go amongst ARBA friends, reflections of the past, long friendships in the ARBA, where they’d traveled together, and conventions became part of the conversation. The three especially talked about the power and history California has in the rabbit and cavy industry, including past ARBA Conventions in their home state. At that time, Chris was serving as the District 2 ARBA Director, but none of them had ever been directly involved in hosting an ARBA Convention. The three were a bit younger then, and certainly wide-eyed with envy of those local breeders who had the courage and work ethic to take on such an ambition. Wouldn’t you know that by the end of dinner, Kevin, Randy and Chris were determined to coordinate and host an ARBA Convention. In 2001, California Rabbit & Cavy Shows, Inc. hosted the “Rabbit Odyssey”, the ARBA’s 78th ARBA Convention.
With the pride of bearing the torch of such a momentous event, the young CRCS team strived to innovate and offer a convention unlike any in the past. It was in 2001 that the host team introduced an ARBA Convention’s first online entry system, an animated website, and a results book available at check-out morning. In 2009, they were back at it in San Diego with the 86th ARBA Convention, “The Endless Summer”, premiering the first Rabbitcon and a Best In Show ceremony with a full video back wall. CRCS did it again in 2016 with the 93rd ARBA Convention, and paid homage to the greatest rabbit breeder in history with “The Fibber Cup Invitational”. It was there that ARBA banquet guests enjoyed a romantic evening under the stars on the paddock of the Del Mar Racetrack.
California Rabbit & Cavy Shows, Inc. would later go on to design and coordinate the annual West Coast Classic in Reno, Nevada, a show destination that, for over ten years, is one of the largest rabbit and cavy shows in the country. In fact, we have West Coast Classic to thank for inspiring our big 2019 ambitions. The spacious Reno-Sparks Convention Center, extravagant resort hotels and casinos, rich western history, and majestic backdrop of the Sierra-Nevada Mountains inspired us to bring the ARBA Convention to the Silver State for the very first time!
After three very memorable ARBA Conventions in San Diego, CRCS is excited to welcome you and the entire ARBA to the “Biggest Little City In the World”, Reno, Nevada, for the 96th ARBA Convention! The same spirit, innovation, and streamlined show management which became the magic behind California Rabbit & Cavy Shows, Inc., the San Diego Conventions, and annual West Coast Classics serve as pillars to this year’s Convention.
Please take some time while in Reno to check out the city, elaborate hotels, natural wonders of the Sierras and Lake Tahoe, and American history which brought people West more than a century ago. In the spirit of the visionaries who explored and founded the western states, including those who dreamed and created one of the strongest rabbit and cavy regions in the world, we say, “Go West Young Buck!”
California Rabbit & Cavy Shows, Inc. and the 96th ARBA Convention Team