Robert F Worden
Inducted Hall of Fame 2003
|Bob's last state convention in 2002,
where his black junior doe was named BIS.
Bob Worden, Dutch breeder from Indiana, passed away on January 12, 2003. Bob's enthusiasm for Dutch and winning grin will be greatly missed. For many of us, Dutch shows will never be the same. Bob Worden was a cornerstone for the Hoosier Dutch Rabbit Fanciers. He exhibited excellent rabbits, good sportsmanship, and exemplified breeder integrity. Bob was a good friend and a champion Dutch rabbit breeder. He helped young 4-H members when they wanted to raise Dutch. He would help older folks get started. He would often rather trade a rabbit than sell it.
Bob served on the Board of Directors for the Hoosier Dutch Rabbit Fanciers. He was a key factor in bringing the bid for the National Dutch Show to Indianapolis in 2002. Bob worked as a planner for the show, helped fund the building, and carried rabbits all day long. He worked as a table superintendent to help the show go smoothly. He was instrumental in the success of the largest Dutch Show of record.
Bob's herd experienced a setback in 1997 when one of his best bucks was stolen at the ARBA Convention, but Bob didn't give up. Bob won numerous awards, many Best in Shows and even best Four-class awards. His most recent wins included Best in Show at the 2002 Indiana State Rabbit Breeder's Convention and Best Opposite Sex Dutch at the 2002 ARBA Convention with a black junior doe. He attended about 20 shows a year to encourage and promote the breed. Bob was always willing to support the Dutch breed with both time and money.
Bob began raising rabbits when he was 10. He received a crossbred rabbit as a gift, and then began raising Checkered Giants, Californians, and Florida Whites. His first Dutch experience was 34 yers ago when he and his wife received a pair of Dutch named Dan and Donna. He raised all 6 varieties of Dutch, then cut down to three. He specialized in Black and Blues. Bob once said his most exciting wins before 2002 were BOS at NDS, BOS in 1995 at ARBA, and BOB at NDS in 1996.
He was a life member of the ADRC, the Hoosier Dutch Rabbit Fanciers, the Indiana State Rabbit Breeders, and the old Huntington Club. He retired from International Harvester. His wife Donna, daughter Jenny, and two stepsons survive Bob.
Bob's broad smile and reputation for great Dutch made him a favorite person to see at shows. His never-ending faith in a youth member made a huge difference in at least two people's lives. I will always appreciate the way Bob served as a mentor for my daughter. He taught her about breeding, sportsmanship, maintaining a good reputation, and how to develop a sense of what was fair on both sides of the show table. Bob was an encouraging man, a person of integrity and above all a good friend. Bob enriched our lives. He gave us the gift of love for rabbits. I will always be grateful for having been fortunate enough to know him.
Val Slack, Indiana
A Farewell to my Friend
I was deeply saddened to hear of the passing of my friend, Bob Worden. Bob was a talented breeder, an accomplished showman, and a good friend to many. I first met Bob in the late 80's when traveling with my father to the National Polish Show in Indiana. I was eager to get to the show site, but Dad wanted to stop on the way to visit Mr. Worden. Dad had the utmost respect for the quality of Dutch that Mr. Worden showed consistently at ARBA conventions and National Dutch Shows.
We ended up spending two hours at his place looking over all the Dutch he had. Each time he brought out another one (always better than the last one he showed us) he'd turn to me and ask, "Isn't this one better than a Polish?" Well, even thought they weren't Polish, I was impressed with the quality. Dad on the other hand was completely enamored. When Bob offered us a pair, Dad couldn't get out his wallet quick enough, but Bob wouldn't accept any offer Dad made. Instead he made us promise that we would raise lots of Dutch and owe him a Dutch down the road someday. We graciously accepted Bob's offer and took home that pair of Dutch.
That was my defining moment. That was when I decided I was going to slow down on the Polish and concentrate on Dutch. I had two goals in mind. That first was to raise a Dutch good enough that Bob would want to take it home. The second was to beat Bob. A few years down the road I was able to reach my first goal. Bob came to me and said "I was looking at Steel does and when I found one I liked, looked down on the coop card, it said Bengtson's on it". He then said he was so surprised that we had a Steel that good that he thought maybe it was someone else's rabbits put in our cage by accident, so he double checked the coop number and the ear number (chuckling the whole time he said it). Bob and I traveled over to the Steels to discuss her. Bob said that her head markings were near perfect and would make a nice match with his Black senior buck. I offered to take home his Black senior buck and breed the two together (chuckling while I said it). Bob said that wasn't exactly what he had in mind. I smiled and offered her to him. Bob said sure. I was very excited and quickly told everyone that would listen that Bob got a Dutch from the Bengtson's.
Unfortunately I will never be able to reach my second goal.
Good-bye my friend. Thank you for the encouragement, the laughs, and your friendship.
Erik A. Bengtson, ARBA Judge