This last week was our county fair; generally it falls the week after the Fourth of July. All the 4-H’ers and the FFA’ers in the county come together to exhibit their animals and projects.
Once you get to the livestock division the kids not only show and compete with their animals but in each division (Hogs, Beef, Sheep, Dairy Cattle & Goats), the kids compete against each other to be the best showman. Once they win the showman ship class (junior, intermediate & seniors) they all come together on Saturday at noon to compete in the Round Robin class. In Round Robin they show all 5 species of animals and compete to be the best of the best showman.
I actually got the pleasure this year to be the Round Robin judge. Now, I’ve been on the other end of the spectrum, but being the judge was kind of fun, but extremely nerve racking too!
Prior to the event Larry was out watering the ring down so it wasn’t quite so dusty. One of the showman’s father’s was out in the ring walking the pig around.
Not gonna lie, I was a bit nervous. On the ride in to town I really thought I might throw up. TMI? Sorry!
Once all the showman checked in, they received their numbers and away we went. The first species up were the hogs. The way this particular Round Robin was I had the Senior, Intermediate and Junior winners of each species out at the same time.
In Showman ship events you are judging the showman, not the animal. Every animal has a flaw, just like every human. So I asked each showman 2 questions about each species. The first question is, what breed are you showing? A good showman knows, even if they are a bit off and say cross bred when it is a pure bred or visa verse, usually, they’ll be very close. The second question I asked, what is something you’d change about this animal? My thought was maybe I could get the kids to converse with the other kids just before entering the ring. Plus help them talk to me. I’m not going to lie, some of them looked at me like I was a big scary person, especially the juniors. By the end they relaxed and talked to me better.
1 tip, if you’re showing livestock such as this, don’t wear a hat. Horses you have to, livestock you don’t. I was impressed with this boy, he was only in the ring about a minute and realized so he threw his hat off to the side and left it there.
I got a piece of paper and a pen and tried to judge them from 1-10, 10 being the highest so that I would remember by the end.
You could find your Diary cattle showman because they show in all white. I’m not sure why, but if you look at a cheese factory, they all wear white. If someone knows why, please share :).
It was definitely fun to watch kids showing species of livestock they’ve never shown before.
It was a warm day and knowing the kids and the animals were hot I tried to help move the kids through so the animals could go back to their pens and relax.
At the end they introduced all the kids and what species they represented. Then I got introduced. They asked if I wanted to say a few words. Truthfully I’m not the best public speaker and I went to school to be a teacher. I’m sure I was talking 90 to nothing, but I tried to give the kids a few pointers just to help them out if they ever wound up in a Round Robin competition ever again.
So here are a few tips if you or anyone you know ever winds up in a competition.
- Once you know you’re in the competition, go hunt down a fellow showman of every species and get some pointers. Generally they are happy to help.
- Don’t wear a hat.
- When you let the hog out of the pen, close the gate behind you.
- You get a brush for a hog, if the hog roots, brush off it’s nose. Pay close attn to your hog.
- Beef Cattle – You get a curry comb. If a judge ruffles the hair on your cow, comb it back.
- The stick for beef cattle is to keep them calm and for helping to set their feet. Relax.
- Dairy cattle – Walk backwards when leading them. Don’t touch their feet with your hands.
- Also you can use your feet to move their front feet, but their back feet, set by trying gently pulling on their halter.
- If the Dairy cow has an udder, set the back foot back to show off the udder to the side the judge is standing on. If it is a heifer (not lactating), set their feet square under them.
- Sheep – In the state of MO, keep front feet on the ground.
- Also if the judge is standing in front of the animals, step off to the side and show the front end to the judge. Stand on the side of the animal furthest from the judge.
- To set their hind legs, if you have to use your hands, reach over their back if you can.
- Goats – Determine if you have a dairy goat or a meat goat – they are shown differently.
- Dairy goats, same way with their udder, if they are lactating, show off the udder.
- Meat goats – set them more up square, but similar to a market lamb. Hard to explain without showing.
- And when setting their hind legs, you reach under their belly.
Ok sorry, I know this is just info, probably useless at that, but maybe someone somewhere will benefit from this.
By the end of the event I had relaxed and had a blast. Sometimes it is good to step outside your comfort zone. And it was so hard to believe I haven’t been able to show in these events in 8 years. 8 years!
So, how was your weekend??