Rabbit Breeder Convention Pours Millions Of Dollars Into Local Economy

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Monday, October 29, 2012

There's a huge convention going on at Century II right now that's drawn thousands of people from all over the country and beyond to Wichita.

It's the National American Rabbit Breeders Association Convention and our local economy is reaping the benefits.

Allan Ormond grew up on a ranch in Utah. When he married Becky and moved to the suburbs, he says it was time to find a different animal to raise.

“Cause you can't keep a cow in your backyard in your subdivision so I got rabbits,” Ormond said.

30 years later, the Ormonds say their hobby has gotten a little out of control.

“Just this year alone, since January, I have flown over 60,000 miles for rabbits and I’m not done because I have to go to Japan,” Ormond said.

Apparently, traveling far and wide is just part of the business. There are more than 3,000 rabbit breeders at the convention from all over the country.

All of the travelers needed a place to stay for the five day event.

“Everything downtown is full. I don't think you can get a room downtown and there's several outlying, I know we have people as far out as Ridge Road and as far out as Webb Rd,” convention chairman, Tom Little said.

When it's time to break for meals, the crowds pour into downtown Wichita.

“Yes, we've been out to eat a lot,” Becky Ormond said.

“We've had a couple large parties of bunny convention representatives. The influx of people we love to see that here at Larkspur it's just fantastic,” Shannon Hawkins, manager at Larkspur Bistro and Bar, said.

Event organizers say by the time the convention is over, it will have brought about two million dollars to the local economy.

The convention ends early Wednesday morning.

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