History Awaits in the Keystone State

90th ARBA Convention ~ Harrisburg, PA ~ October 19-23, 2013

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Convention Committee


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Organizational Chart



General Chair ?Brian Bell, Branchburg, NJ




     Brian has successfully orchestrated the Pennsylvania State Rabbit Breeder’s Association (PaSRBA) Convention for over five years.  Under his leadership as General Chair, this convention has grown to become of the largest in the country.  In addition, he has been the Show Secretary and organizer of four Tan National Conventions and he currently serves as the Secretary/Treasurer of the Mid-Atlantic Tan Club.  He is the MARCS President.  Respected by all, Brian’s degrees in Animal Science and in Organizational Management, along with his career in the pharmaceutical industry, combine to give him the skills to lead the ARBA Convention.


General Secretary ?Dr. Jay Hreiz, Charlotte, NC




     Jay is currently the ARBA District 9 Director and the chair of the ARBA Rabbit & Cavy Health Committee.  He began his involvement in PaSRBA as a youth breeder and royalty participant.  Before relocating to North Carolina, Jay was extensively involved in the PaSRBA Convention and Board.   He is the MARCS Secretary.  As a veterinarian, professionalism is important to Jay as is a good relationship with clients.  This D-9 Director and Judge has reached out to the entire district in search of talented people willing to make an ARBA Convention a success in Pennsylvania.



Treasurer ?Charlene Everette, Suffolk, VA




     Charlene has been the MARCS Treasurer since 2010 in addition to her role as the Holland Lop Specialty Club Treasurer.  She has been a state representative in District 9 for many years and also served as chair of the ARBA Research and Development Committee.  She is an ARBA Registrar.  Attentive to detail, Charlene has guided the growth of the treasury through special fund-raising projects.


Open Superintendent/Floor Plan ?Ruth-Ann Bell, Branchburg, NJ




     Ruth-Ann became involved in the PaSRBA as a youth breeder and royalty participant, serving as the state Queen before obtaining her degree in Animal Science.  She works in a veterinary practice while raising six children.  Active as an ARBA Judge, she serves on the Judges?Continuing Education Committee.  Having served in various elected offices in Mid-Atlantic Tan Club and the PaSRBA, she is the New Jersey/States Outside of D-9 Director for the MARCS Board.   Serving the PaSRBA as General Superintendent of the Convention, she works with Brian, her husband, to coordinate judging in the four showrooms, selects the judges, and handles all aspects of their travel and accommodations.  Her organizational skills, patience, and vision are known to all who have spent time with her.



Assistant Superintendant - Henry Sabetti, Eastern Shore, MD



Henry currently serves as a Director with the American Britannia Petite Rabbit Specialty Club and the Delmarva Rabbit & Cavy Breeders Association and is on the Internet Services Committee of the ARBA. He is a past President of the Chesapeake Holland Lop Club, a Zone Director for the Holland Lop Rabbit Specialty Club and President of the Smoky Hill Rabbit Club in Kansas. In his professional life, Henry is a priest in the Episcopal Church and lives with his wife, rabbits, dogs and cats on Maryland's Eastern Shore.


Open Show Secretary ?Lori Jo Whitehaus, Hummelstown, PA




     Lori Jo (LJ) served as the PaSRBA President working to expand the convention, improve the quality of the youth program, and ensure that rabbit breeders have a respectful role in Pennsylvania’s premier agricultural exhibit:  The PA Farm Show.  She has been the chair of the Pennsylvania Farm Show’s Rabbit Department for many years.  Working closely with all levels of Farm Show Complex administration and the Hershey-Harrisburg Regional Visitors Bureau, she provides the local connection needed to make the ARBA Convention a success.  She also served as the open Show Secretary for the PaSRBA Convention.  A teacher in the Harrisburg School District, she is known for her organizational skills and strong people-skills.  She is the MARCS Vice President and Bid Committee Chair.



Youth Show Superintendent ?Brenda Smith, Kernersville, NC




     Brenda has served as the President of the North Carolina Rabbit Breeders Association for several years.  She has served as Show Secretary for several shows and has been influential in expanding the NCRBA Convention.  Dedicated to youth, she initiated the youth teams to the ARBA Convention from NCRBA.  Brenda started as a youth breeder and now works with her daughters as members of the Holland Lop Specialty Club.  There she organized the youth social and assisted with the youth show.  With a career in the hospital radiology department, she is attentive to detail.  She is the North Carolina Director for the MARCS Board.


Youth Show Secretary ?Tori Perry, Norristown, PA



     Tori serves on the PaSRBA Board as a Director-at-Large and has been the Open Show Secretary of the PaSRBA Convention for several years.  She also serves as Secretary for some of the MARCS shows.  A product of the PaSRBA youth program and royalty contests, she started attending National Conventions in 2002.  She volunteers as a 4-H leader and is the State 4-H Achievement Days Rabbit/Cavy Bowl Chair at Penn State University.  Like her mother, Lori Jo, she is deeply involved with the Farm Show Complex and has been employed there for several Farm Shows.  She has a degree in Animal Science and is currently employed at a veterinary practice.


Cavy Show Superintendent ?Peg Hailey, Pennsburg, PA


610-653-8734 - C

610-845-0685 - H


     Peg initiated the formation of the PaSRBA when she saw the need for a state convention, state-level 4-H activities for rabbit breeders, and a wider range of opportunities for youth in Pennsylvania.  From writing project books to designing skill-based competitions, Peg set a foundation in place that has grown and flourishes today.  A constant presence at the PaSRBA board and PA Farm Show, Peg also serves in leadership roles in the Lehigh Valley RCBA and the National Harlequin Rabbit Club.  She manages the Sweepstakes program for the PaSRBA.  She is a member of the American Cavy Breeders Association and has earned the title of Master Breeder.  She is the ACBA D-9 Director, serves on the Cavy Standards Subcommittee, and is a licensed Rabbit and Cavy Judge.  A registered nurse by profession, she founded her own farm animal educational business, Quiver Farm Projects, twenty years ago.  She is the Pennsylvania Director for the MARCS board.



Judge Liaison ?George Long, Zionsville, PA


610-509-2219 - C

610-967-2085 - H


     George was born into the rabbit world.  His father started showing rabbits in 1939 and was superintendent of the commercial breeds at the 1946 ARBA National Convention.  He has been president of both national and regional specialty clubs and during that time chaired 5 national specialty shows.  He has also served as president and /or director of local, state and regional all breed clubs.  George’s license number is 337 and he is one of 22 ARBA combination judges.  He has judged many ARBA Nationals and has officiated in shows in over 32 states.  Along with judging, he has been a part of standards committees for both rabbits and cavies and has served also on the ARBA Standards committee.


Convention Veterinarian - Dr. Wendy Feaga



     Wendy has been a small animal veterinarian in private practice since 1980, and is owner of Twin Oaks Animal Hospital in Ellicott City, MD. She began learning about rabbit care as a 4-H'er and has continued to practice rabbit medicine and surgery through her own 60 hole rabbitry as well as working with clients with both pet rabbits and show herds. She joined ARBA in 1969 and is a Life and Hall of Fame member in the AFNZRB (New Zealand Club). She is a licensed ARBA judge and serves as a show secretary for a local adult and youth club as well as for her county fair. This year marks her 40th year as a 4-H club leader. She is currently working to develop a red variety in the Havana breed. Her other life is doing media for her church where she projects words to praise songs and puts together sermon slides for the pastors.


Booth and Breed Chair Coordinator ?Bill Whaley, Old Fort, NC



     Bill served on the ARBA Board from 1999-2002.  He was an assistant with the convention held in Tampa in 1990.  He has served as secretary of the Florida RBA and other offices in local, state, and national clubs.  His past work with the board and a convention will be an asset to our program.


Catalog & Advertising ?Melissa Kelly, Coalport, PA




     Melissa is currently an ARBA Registrar and president of the North American Lionhead Rabbit Club and Keystone Lionhead Rabbit Club. Before taking on the presidency for the national club, she was District 9 director and promotions chair where she produced their current guidebook. Melissa has been producing the MARCS newsletter since its inception.  Professionally Melissa is a social studies teacher at the Glendale School District where she is also yearbook adviser. 



Website ?Joyce Holton, Landenberg, PA




     Joyce originated the MARCS website while also being the webmaster for the PaSRBA website for many years.  She is an officer in the American Dwarf Hotot Rabbit Club and MidAtlantic Dwarf Hotot Club.  She is prompt, efficient, and accurate.  While her work with taxes gets hectic in late spring, she continues to be effective as the webmaster of both clubs.


Equipment Logistics ?Gerry Vaerewyck, Tarentum, PA 

                                   Claire Howman, Smithville, OH




     Gerry, a professional engineer, owns a manufacturing facility where he oversees daily operations and all aspects of the company’s trucking, safety, material handling and logistics operations.  He is on the ARBA Youth Committee, the PaSRBA Youth Chair and has handled the equipment and convention set up for the PaSRBA Convention for many years.  Claire, OSRBA President, has done the same for the Ohio Convention and many ARBA Conventions.  This team will definitely handle the enormous task of setting up all equipment for the convention efficiently and effectively.



Tours & Attractions ?Christel Stewart, Harrisburg, PA


     Christel has a terrific sense of the many tourist attractions that are available in the greater Harrisburg and Hershey area.  She lives locally and will be working closely with the Sharon Atland of the Hershey Harrisburg Regional Visitors Bureau to select appropriate attractions for both youth and adults.



Youth Activities ?Dana Lape, Lebanon, PA

                              Angie Shaw, Harrisburg, PA

dcl3dfarm@peoplepc.com Dana

hrdwrk30@comcast.net Angie


     Dana and Angie have been involved with PaSRBA Youth and 4-H Youth for many years.  Both have children active in the ARBA youth contests and are well informed of activities that appeal to youth.  They each have limitless ideas for programs and are also attentive to detail.


Merchandise ?Deb Schmittel, Lia Schmittel, Middletown, PA




     Deb and Lia have been working with MARCS merchandise since the inception of the club and are ready for Convention merchandise.  Both PaSRBA members, Deb is also a 4-H Leader and Master Gardener while Lia is a Youth Royalty participant in both the PaSRBA and ARBA contests.  President of the Dauphin County 4-H rabbit club, she is very familiar with the Farm Show Complex where many 4-H events are held each year.  Lia is also planning to pursue a career in animal science.



Exhibitor Relations ?Valarie Mayle, Harrisburg, Pa




     Valarie currently serves as the Vice President of PaSRBA.  She has put her interpersonal skills to use by coordinating judge’s transportation and hospitality for the PaSRBA Convention as well as interacting with the public at Pennsylvania’s annual Farm Show where she  represents PASRBA and the rabbit industry. She started showing rabbits in the 1970’s as part of a father daughter show team.  This has now evolved into three generations as her daughter continues the tradition.  Local to the Harrisburg area, she provides knowledge valuable to help exhibitors have an enjoyable time at the 2013 ARBA convention.  Valarie has been a Social Studies teacher for twenty years at the Camp Hill School District. 


Convention Registrar Coordinator - Peter Velcheck


     Peter began raising rabbits, cavies and poultry when he was 12 years old, in the Somerset County, NJ 4-H Program. Over the years he has raised many breeds of rabbits while concentrating on the Californians as his main breed, until 2001 when he started raising Checkered Giants. He is currently raising Checkered Giants.

     Peter was a 4-H Leader in Somerset County , NJ . He is also a member of the Mid Jersey R&CBA, and the Broome County R&CBA, and The American Checkered Giant Club. He has also organized the scheduling of Registers at PaSRBA since 2009. Peter became an ARBA Register in 2007 and an ARBA licensed Judge in 2011 and is invloved in the NJ 4-H program with his son.


Accommodation Chairman - LuAnn Rupp-Gallagher, Lititz, Pa

     LuAnn grew up in Lancaster County and has been involved with rabbits for the past five years. She has been able to attend the last few conventions, and being a new-comer to the scene, has many fresh ideas on how to make the whole process of planning the perfect trip easy and affordable. Together with the professionals at the Hershey Harrisburg Regional Visitors Bureau she has hand-picked accommodations for every type of traveler. LuAnn is a 4-H Leader and she serves on the Advisory board for the Lancaster County 4-H extension office. She is actively involved with Girl Scouts in the Heart of PA. She has her Master’s degree in Healthcare Administration. Currently she is the Supervisor of an Ultrasound department and teaches various imaging courses. It was her daughters that introduced her to the rabbit world, and it has become her passion. Her daughter’s compete nationally and are currently members of the PaSRBA Royalty court. LuAnn’s main focus for the 2013 ARBA convention is to make your stay in our area enjoyable and memorable.


Asst. Superintendent, Piper Smith ? Saylorsburg, PA




     Piper became involved with PaSRBA as a youth breeder and royalty participant. She served as Queen in 2007 and continues to serve on the Youth Committee as well as being one of the assistant show superintendents at PaSRBA Convention each year.  She is an ARBA Rabbit Judge and is one of the District 9 Representatives for ARBA.  She also serves on the NCRBA’s youth committee.  Piper is currently wrapping up the work for her Master’s in History. 


Best In Show Event Coordinator, Johnny Haussener




     Rabbits have been a large part of Johnny's life since a very young age. Growing up, Johnny participated in state and national royalty competitions. In 2005 he was awarded the Pennsylvania state rabbit king, and 2007 was on the winning judging team at ARBA nationals. Since, Johnny has become a licensed judge and is the current president of Mason Dixon Rex RBA. He is ecstatic to help welcome the ARBA membership and convention to our great state of Pennsylvania!




 The MARCS Convention logo is the property of MARCS and may not be duplicated

or used without the express permission of MARCS.



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