National Federation of
Flemish Giant 
Rabbit Breeders

     CLUB HISTORY

 

A Chronology of Historical Highlights of the NFFGRB
by Harold May, Allen Bush & Bob Bomia 

November 4, 1915:  Four Flemish Giant Breeders met in Denver, Colorado.  Thus was born the National Federation of Flemish Giant Rabbit Breeders. 

1916:  Bill Taylor, the first Secretary, and Lewis S. J. Griffin, the first President, met and composed the first Federation Standard on Light Grays, Steels and Blacks.  These were the only colors recognized at that time.  This replaced a Standard that was furnished in 1915 by the National Pet Stock Association. 

1916:  Constitution, By-Laws, Show Rules were adopted.  Five officially sanctioned Flemish shows were held in 1916. 

1916:  The first Flemish Federation Year Book was published.  This book contained the Constitution, By-Laws, Show Rules and the newly adopted Standards.  It also contained many fine articles, numerous ads, pictures and other related topics.  As well as a complete list of names and addresses of current members. 

1917:  The Federation became a branch association of the National Breeders and Fanciers Association of America.  Of note is the fact that many of the Federation officers were also officers in this National organization and were instrumental in its growth and leadership. 

1917:  Three officially sanctioned National Shows were held that year: Colorado Springs, Los Angeles and Kansas City. 

January 1918:  At the National Convention in Kansas City the following registration weights were adopted.  No Flemish is eligible to register under five months of age.  Weights: Bucks six months or under, 9 pounds or more.  Bucks over six months, 11 pounds or more.  Does six months or under, 10 pounds or more.  Does over six months, 12 pounds or more. 

1918:  President was Lewis S. J. Griffin, Colorado, and C. V. Lemon of Michigan became Secretary-Treasurer. 

December 1919:  The first official Flemish Federation Show and Convention was held in Colorado Springs, Colorado. 

1919:  Blues and Whites were accepted as varieties. 

1921:  The Ashtabula Ohio Flemish Rabbit Breeders Association became the first Flemish Specialty Club chartered by the Flemish Federation.  By the end of 1921, the Mississippi Valley Flemish Breeders and Boosters Association of St. Louis, Missouri, and the Indiana Flemish Breeders Association of Indianapolis, Indiana, also became Chartered Flemish Specialty Clubs of the Federation. 

February 1, 1921:  The Annual Federation Meeting was held in conjunction with the Convention of the National Breeders and Fanciers Association of America in Cincinnati, Ohio.  Membership of 499 was reported.  Of interest was the passing of resolution number six as follows – Resolved that no person be allowed to judge any official Federation Show except those who are bonafide Federation Members and Flemish Giant Breeders, who have proven their qualifications by receiving a license from the National Federation of Flemish Giant Rabbit Breeders.  Said license fee to be $5.00.  Further be it resolved that the applicants be distributed as far as possible over different sections of the Country.  Also that these judges make every effort to attend the Annual Convention of the Federation in order to attend the annual school for judging which will be held in connection with each Federation Convention to discuss standards and to impress upon each judge the same uniform interpretation of the standard as to type, color and fur.  All sanctioned Federation Shows must be judged by a licensed Federation Judge.  (Ed note: These rules preceded the future A.R.B.A. rules by a considerable period of time.) 

February 1, 1921:  At the same convention in Cincinnati, Ohio, resolution number 11 was passed.  Resolved that any association desiring to become a branch of the N.F.F.G.R.B. may receive a charter direct for a $5.00 fee.  Also, any Local Association which shall secure ten or more new members to the Federation shall receive a charter for one year free. 

1922:  Secretary C.V. Lemon resigned due to health reasons.  Lew Griffin became Secretary-Treasurer, in which capacity he continued to serve until 1945, a span of 23 years.  John Fehr was elected Chairman of the Board; he served until 1930. 

1924:  A new color, the Natural or Sandy Gray Flemish Giant was accepted and a Standard was provided by the Federation.  This was the sixth color or variety accepted by the Federation. 

1924:  The 1924 Convention was held in conjunction with the National Breeders and Fanciers Association at Lima, Ohio, November 25.  Passed resolution number 3, resolved that the N.F.F.G.R.B., affiliated and secure a charter with the National Breeders and Fanciers Association of America, Inc., and endorse and adopt the registration system, and suggest that all other Specialty Clubs do likewise.  (Ed note: At this time there were two separate organizations of National scope that were competing for total control of the Rabbit Industry.) 

1924:  A resolution was passed that our Standard be changed to read “Sandy Gray” instead of “Natural or Sandy Gray.”  In explanation, the Standard was not changed but simply the word “Natural” was dropped from the title. 

1924:  At the Lima, Ohio, Convention was born the American Rabbit and Cavy Breeders Association.  The N.F.F.G.R.B. voted to become a part of this organization.  This Convention marked the conciliation of the competing factions.  Most National Specialty Clubs immediately became part of this organization.  Thus was the beginning of the American Rabbit Breeders Association as we know it today. 

1929:  Proposed working Standard for Flemish Giant Rex.  This did not prove to be a step in the right direction and Flemish Rex were discontinued.  As was the attempt to breed “Silver-Tipped” Flemish in the 1919 to 1921 era. 

1931:  We find the name of John Coon of Indiana listed as a member.  John is still a member and active in Flemish Giants. 

1934:  We find the name of Robert Wilmot of Connecticut listed as a winner of Best of Breed at the A.R.B.A. Convention that year.   

1934:  The Flemish Giant Standard was reviewed and re-written.  This Standard, with very few minor changes, a slight change in format and the addition of Fawn Variety in 1938, was in effect until it was again reviewed and re-written in 1979, and adopted. 

1935:  We find the name of Don Reid listed as a member.  He has served as President and Secretary-Treasurer of the Federation, as well as serving as Vice President and President of the A.R.B.A. 

1941:  J.E. (Ted) Hotzinger was elected President of the Federation.  He was without a doubt the most prolific writer of his time on Flemish Giants.  Lew Griffin continues as Secretary-Treasurer. 

1941:  We discovered that Ellis Murray of California has been a member of the Federation as far back as 1926.  Ellis was elected to the Board in 1938. 

1941:  In the 1941 Guide Book, we find the name of Keith Forbush as a member.  He became a member of the Board in 1950.  Keith is still writing great articles for the newsletter and attends shows in the Midwest. 

1945:  Dr. Max R. Andrews of Indiana succeeded Lew Griffin as Secretary-Treasurer of the Federation.  Lew Griffin went on to take over the office of Secretary of the American Rabbit Breeders Association. 

1946:  R.T. Kenney and Ulice Popard of Ohio appear as members.  They are both retired after a long and successful career of showing. 

1946:  The biggest Flemish Giant Show ever held was at the 1946 Allentown, Penn., Convention.  When 576 entries were judged by Keith Forbush, Vern Ashton and Lawrence Ritter. 

1950:  The name of Harold May appears in the 1950 Guide Book.  Harold May was elected to the Board in 1978; also served as Vice President for two terms, and was elected President of the Federation in 1981.  He retired as President in 2000.  Harold will always be remembered as a true visionary and great leader of our club. 

1950:  We find that Vern Ashton of Ohio was a Federation member since 1921 and was elected to the Board in 1946, was now elected President to succeed Ted Holtzinger. 

1950:  A very interesting local Flemish Specialty Club was in existence.  The White Flemish Trophy Club of Fall River, Mass., consisted of 14 members devoted to breeding White Flemish exclusively. 

1953:  At the 1953 Convention in Amarillo, Texas., the Federation members voted to make all members in good standing for 25 years automatically a life member.  Ted Holtzinger of Pennsylvania became the first life member so honored. 

1955:  Ralph Lowell of Massachusetts was elected Secretary-Treasurer to succeed Dr. Max Andrew, who passed away. 

1956:  The first N.F.F.G.R.B. Newsletter was published.  The editor was Bert F. Tait of Riverside, California.  It contained ten pages of very well written material covering several subjects.  Of particular note, some very interesting observations were written by Keith Forbush, who still contributes to the present Newsletters. 

1957:  The Ohio Flemish Giant Club was founded in 1957 by Roger T. Kenney.  There were 12 original members.  The first All-Flemish Show was held in Lima, Ohio, on May 5, 1958, with 95 Flemish shown.  In the mid-1980s entry numbers reached almost 500 head. 

1958:  Don Reid was elected Secretary-Treasurer to succeed Ralph Lowell.  Vern Ashton continues to serve as the Federation President. 

1960:  Herb Anthony of Ohio was elected Secretary-Treasurer to succeed Don Reid.  He served from 1960 to 1975. 

1965:  The present California Flemish Club was brought to life by several people – Arta Cressey, Fred Cremer and others.  The annual show at Fred Cremer’s was an enjoyable occasion. 

1965:  The Federation commemorated its Fiftieth Anniversary in a very low key and quite inconspicuously.  A new Guide Book was published.  Of interest, quite a number of old-time breeders were still listed and active. 

1971:  Best Rabbit In Show was won by a Sandy Senior Buck shown by Jay and Ruth Evertt.  Research as far back as 1930 shows this as the first time this award was won by a Flemish Giant at a national convention. 

1975:  The Michigan Flemish Giant RBA was chartered.  Mike Severson, the charter President, was the prime leader.  We find that Bob Bolyard, also one of the founders, is still very active.  He has always been on the board in one capacity or another.  Shows have been held every year since the beginning. 

1975:  Herb Anthony, who was a strong and active Secretary/Treasurer for 15 years, passed away suddenly while attending the ARBA convention in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. 

1975:  Edna Andrews was appointed to the office of Secretary/Treasurer. 

1978:  The Texas Flemish Giant Club was organized by Bill & Laverne Sikes with 14 original members.  This club has been quite active. 

1979:  Roger Dent took over the office of Secretary/Treasurer.  Roger retired from the position in 2001.  Roger and Harold formed a true dynamic duo for the Flemish club.  They left the club in a strong financial position with a high regard for their efforts held by all members. 

1979:  The Eastern States Flemish Giant RBA was founded in 1979 by Sandra Wood of New Hampshire.  There were 14 charter members.  This club has grown to about 100 members and has become one of the premier area Specialty clubs in the country.  The fabulous “Cortland Classic” show in September draws almost 400 Flemish entries from coast to coast and enjoys national renown. 

1979:  The present Constitution and By-Laws were adopted. 

1979:  A picture album program was started.  We now have several volumes of interesting pictures. 

1980:  The present Standard of Perfection was written.  It is presently in effect with only a few minor changes. 

1980:  Vern Ashton passed away.  He had served as President of the Federation for 31 consecutive years, 1946-1977. 

1981:  Harold May was elected to the office of President after serving two terms as Vice President. 

1982:  An outstanding Steel Senior Doe owned by Harold May was Best of Breed at the Seattle convention. 

1983:  The Federation published a new Guide Book, which proved to be a “State of the Art” edition. 

1985:  A group of Flemish breeders in the state of Louisiana led by Don Chapman and others formed the Louisiana Flemish Giant RBA. 

1987:  A Sandy Junior Doe owned by Joey and Michelle Shults was Best of Breed and went on to be Best in Show at the Portland Convention.   

1990:  Minimum weights on Senior Flemish Giants were raised to 13 pounds for Bucks and 14 pounds for Does.  This was the first raise in weight in over 60 years. 

1990:  The Diamond Jubilee Celebration of 75 years of service by the Federation was celebrated on May 5th and 6th at Greenville, Ohio. 

1990:  The Federation produced an excellent Guide Book.  May the next 75 years be as fruitful and interesting as the past 75 years. 

1992:  Harold May wins Best of Breed, Best Opposite of Breed and Best Display at the National Convention in Columbus, Ohio.  Also included in this special show was Harold’s winning all six of the Black Flemish Giant classes. 

1994:  Bob & Kathy Bomia win the first of seven straight Best Displays at a National Convention. 

1995:  Harold May wins his final Best of Breed Flemish at a National Convention.  Harold enjoyed a show record which may never be duplicated in the history of our club. 

1997:  Bob & Kathy Bomia win Best of Breed with a rabbit named the “Bandit”.  This outstanding Sandy Senior Buck proves to be an outstanding show animal and his descendants continue to be winners at the show table today. 

2000:  This year provides an outstanding battle for Best Display at the National Convention.  The Bomias edge Dr. Dan Hall in one of the closest Best Display races ever at a National Convention.   

2000:  Harold May steps down as President of the NFFGRB.  Dale Gearhart takes over as president of our club. 

2001:  Bob Bomia is voted in as President of the NFFGRB.  Roger Dent announces his decision to retire as the club’s secretary.  A search for the next secretary begins. 

2001:  San Diego is the location for one of the biggest Flemish shows on the West Coast.  Well over 200 Flemish crossed the table in the Open and Youth shows. 

2002:  Bob Bomia leads the Flemish club in the period following Harold and Roger.  Allen Bush is named club secretary and Jeff Mullinax assumes the newly created position of the club’s Webmaster.  Jeff quickly molds the Flemish Website into the best one of any specialty club in the ARBA.  The site is www.nffgrb.com.  Harold and Roger will go down in history as one of the top duos in the ARBA.  The Flemish Giant community will always remember our two legends. 

2002:  The West Coast Flemish Giant Club is formed.  This club becomes an immediate success.  It is able to unite several of the states on the Pacific Time Zone.  

2002:  Fred Cremer passes away.  Fred was a true legend in the Flemish Community.  His show in April was one of the best Specialty Shows for Flemish Members. 

2002:  Jeff & Anne Mullinax drive from Santa Rosa, California to Peoria Illinois and win Best & Best Opposite of Breed at the A.R.B.A. convention.  (Ed Note:  This is the second year in a row that a breeder from the West Coast wins Best of Breed.  Allen and Tammy Bush were victorious with “Mr. Wonderful” a Fawn Junior Buck in 2001.  This fine animal graced the cover of the 1st new and improved newsletter published by Allen with help from several members in March of 2002.

2003:  Jeff & Anne Mullinax drive to Wichita, Kansas and win Best and Best Opposite of Breed for the second year in a row.  This repeat of BOB and BOSB has only happened one other time in the recorded history of the club.  Harold May stands as the only other breeder to accomplish this feat back in 1991 and 1992

2005:  Judie Welch is voted in as the new Secretary/Treasurer  in December, stepping in to replace the outgoing Allen Bush.

2006:  Harold May passes away after many years of supporting our Giant breed.  THE legend in Flemish, he sponsored the Cortland Classic Specialty for many years at Windwood, his farm.   His many wins at numerous ARBA Conventions prove the quality and success of his Flemish.  He will be sorely missed by all who knew him.

2008:  Karen Clouse is voted in as the new Secretary/Treasurer  in December, stepping in to replace Judie Welch.