There are four events in rabbit jumping: straight run, bumpy track, high jump and long jump. In straight run and bumpy track, the goal is to complete the run fastest, with as few penalties as possible. The rabbit wears a harness, with its owner walking next to it during the performance. In high jump and long jump, world records stand at 105 centimeters and 300 centimeters accordingly.
The past week-end, a Finnish national championship in rabbit jumping was held in the town of Halikko in southern Finland. Participants are divided into four different leagues, from rookie to elite, the Finnish daily Hufvudstadsbladet reported.
"You can, for example, put two or three hurdles one after the other and let the bunny familiarize himself with them in peace. The rabbits are often quite eager animals, and sometimes they hop over obstacles right away. Others, however, tend to lure their rabbits with tasty morsels," Henna Vihersaari said.
According to Vihersaari, rabbit jumping is still a fledgling branch in Finland. The Finnish Rabbit Jumpers Association, which was founded in 2004, has about 80 members, which is not at all bad for a niche sport. At present, its activities are mainly concentrated in southern Finland; however, some enthusiasts exist even in Ostrobothnia and the Åland archipelago.
Bunny hopping originated in Sweden in the 1970s, and the Swedish Finnish Rabbit Jumpers Association numbers some 700 members. A similar organization was established in the early 2000s in Norway. In the 2010s, bunny hopping mushroomed in popularity, and was introduced to the US, Australia and New Zealand.
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