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Offline TJ

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Re: Fitters, steer jocks and kids OH MY!
« Reply #45 on: November 16, 2007, 07:06:21 PM »
The showmanship and halter breaking subjects are straw men, Im talking specifically about professional fitters at junior shows.  Im not arguing for/against halter breaking or increasing emphasis on showmanship.  Im arguing that kids should be responsible for their own projects and professional fitters are spitting on that idea by doing the kids work for them.


If you are going to argue that kids are soley responsible for their own projects & if you are going to argue that kids are soley responsible for doing all the work, then pre-halter broke calves is a VERY valid subject!!  I think that it is very hypocritical to argue otherwise.  IMHO, it's like being for the beach, but disregarding the sand....  you can't be for one, without being for both.  But, that's just my opinion, just like everything else that I've typed... & I've been known to be wrong.  ;)

« Last Edit: November 16, 2007, 07:15:16 PM by TJ »
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Offline rmbcows

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Re: Fitters, steer jocks and kids OH MY!
« Reply #46 on: November 16, 2007, 08:09:30 PM »
There are some really great points being made here!  I think the halter breaking issue is a valid point.  Surely you wouldn't expect a 9 yo to do all the halter breaking themselves, although I know some really tough little buggers that could get'r done if the calf was small enough.  Reality is, most kids that age just aren't physically strong enough to break a 400lb+ calf, and that's probably the lower end of the spectrum.   If I remember anything about my 4-H  years I believe it's supposed to be a "family" thing... can anyone out there help me out with this?

Offline rmbcows

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Re: Fitters, steer jocks and kids OH MY!
« Reply #47 on: November 16, 2007, 08:17:07 PM »
TJ...  You refer to showmanship/fitting classes in your posts, is it called a showmanship/fitting class, or is there a showmanship competition and a fitting competition?  Just curious, they are two seperate things here.   

Offline renegade

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Re: Fitters, steer jocks and kids OH MY!
« Reply #48 on: November 16, 2007, 08:24:58 PM »
When i came back to idaho i hadnt lived here since i was eight. We hadnt done ANY showing, just helped my greatgrandfather raise his commercial herd. We arent rich but have enough to get things done. I decided to get into showing cattle and i only knew a few people that showed cattle around here and i couldnt even pry the weigh in dates out of them. I got some help from my advisor and a senior in my ffa that is pretty well known in cattle around here ( they started out practically the same way i am) but she didnt have a whole lot of time to help because she had a huge show string as well as a huge herd at home. I took a few showing lessons from her to get the basics and her sister HELPED me clip my animals. I dont know if that was allowed but i did most of the work she supervised and i got my steer trimmed with thiers, there trimmer shows some awesome cattle and his son is an awsome showman and has great cattle.

I was so nervous at my first show. My first steer was a black angus X and he had a horrible attitude, didnt respond well. I had worked with him but didnt know a whole lot about training cattle or even to tie him up every day. Well i had gotten as much grooming info as i could over the summer but no one here puts alot of grooming work in so he just got bathed and brushed a few times a week.

Needless to say i broke down into tears after my first showmanship class because he acted like an ablsolute fool... wouldnt stand still, kept throwing his head, etc... i felt like an idiot. Especially since i went against two people in my ffa and they got first and second and i was last. He was an ok calf but not good enough to stand at the top of a class. i feel like i just wasnt doing enough to learn but it was like beating my head against the wall to get any help.  So then and there i decided to watch every showmanship class possible, watch the winners and do what they do, watch the champion rounds, and i had the same philosophy for market and breeding classes...watch the winners.

the november after that fair i told one of the kids i showed against that i had gotten my steer for the next year he said,
"Are you sure you can handle coming in last again?" That just made me want to win even more. So i practiced, looked up how to break calves and feed them... anything i could. Everything went fine except that one calf that just wouldnt eat. Well i called the trimmer and he came out and said i had calves that were in the top ten and twenty percent of steers that would be at the fair and i was amazed. He offered to help me for the next fair(2008) to pick out calves, showmanship, clipping, etc. Just about anyone would kill to have this guy helping them(Hes one of the "cheaters" because his son is awsome and wins, his cattle look awsome and win and he has a cooler room).

I used his blower at the fair and i took first in my steer class, third in showmanship, reserve champ bull. Then at the next fair i swept them in breeding, didnt have a steer, and i beat one of those girls who doesnt see her steer until that day but always wins!!! The kid who had made the rude comment to me stood at the bottom of both of his classes..." because the judge didnt like him".

Sorry about the long post but i just wanted to show you that you dont have to have money, be raised showing or have connections. In one year i did a complete turn around with a lot of motivation and hard work (and a little bit of raw talent) i practically swept my classed of 8 and more kids, won some money, had a lot of fun and made a connection with one of THE BIGGEST breeders around here.

Offline OH Breeder

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Re: Fitters, steer jocks and kids OH MY!
« Reply #49 on: November 16, 2007, 08:37:02 PM »

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Skills like delegating responsibility, hiring employees, sub-contracting, running a company, budgeting, etc., etc.  If you want kids to have a bright future, those are very valuable skills to have.

I figured you would go there.  Feeder/production competitions would be a great place to teach business sense but thats not what we are talking about.  Trying to apply logic regarding economics and the business world to a system where big money steers having their hair groomed more than a beauty queen and then sold for bookoos of donated money is folly at best. 

This is about the tenth time Ive said this but if they want to seek outside help, seek outside help to TEACH them, not do the work for them.  I addressed your shaky business education claims above.


If you aren't teaching the kids about the business side of things even though its a loss, that is sad. My kids- are my neices and nephews. They do all the care and showing, I provide the animals and the resources for their projects. BUT, at the end of the project I make sure they know how much a pound of feed , hay, and bedding cost as well as the utilities that run the cooler and the fans. They know and I know it is not practical to show calves unless you go real big. But they also know exactly what they are walkiing in the ring and how much it cost to get that animal ready for show ie: show supplies. If they aren't learning this about the project the only thing that is "shaky" is the person funding the project. The older nephews that are done showing want their children to learn what its all about and are already lining their kids up for pee wee showmanship and coming out to help feed, bed, wash calf...etc. There are VALUABLE life skills to be taught as TJ says, its whether YOU take the time to teach them.
Life is too short....don't sweat the small stuff.

Offline TJ

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Re: Fitters, steer jocks and kids OH MY!
« Reply #50 on: November 16, 2007, 10:13:13 PM »
TJ...  You refer to showmanship/fitting classes in your posts, is it called a showmanship/fitting class, or is there a showmanship competition and a fitting competition?  Just curious, they are two seperate things here.   

Some places it is 2 seperate things, but the 2 can be combined & that is what I was talking about.  We've done it both ways in the past, but currently it is just a traditional showmanship class at the County Fair & the kids can have help fitting for Showmanship.  However, I hope to change that because I think that it is a serious mistake when the 2 are seperated.  IMHO, fitting is a very important part of showmanship.  If showmanship is presenting your animal to the best of your ability, then it involves not only what happens in the showring, but also what happens during the fitting process.   I would like for our county fair to give a grand & reserve championship award for the 2 combined (in the ring & the fitting part) & call it "Showmanship".  I don't think that it will be a problem getting that to happen.  One of my sisters real good friends, is the 4H leader, my cousin is one of the FFA advisors & I know everyone on the local Show Committee, so I think that I can pursade them... especially if I offer to sponsor the award/prize.   ;)   

 
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Offline SRU

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Re: Fitters, steer jocks and kids OH MY!
« Reply #51 on: November 16, 2007, 10:29:25 PM »
TJ...  You refer to showmanship/fitting classes in your posts, is it called a showmanship/fitting class, or is there a showmanship competition and a fitting competition?  Just curious, they are two seperate things here.   

Some places it is 2 seperate things, but the 2 can be combined & that is what I was talking about.  We've done it both ways in the past, but currently it is just a traditional showmanship class at the County Fair & the kids can have help fitting for Showmanship.  However, I hope to change that because I think that it is a serious mistake when the 2 are seperated.  IMHO, fitting is a very important part of showmanship.  If showmanship is presenting your animal to the best of your ability, then it involves not only what happens in the showring, but also what happens during the fitting process.   I would like for our county fair to give a grand & reserve championship award for the 2 combined (in the ring & the fitting part) & call it "Showmanship".  I don't think that it will be a problem getting that to happen.  One of my sisters real good friends, is the 4H leader, my cousin is one of the FFA advisors & I know everyone on the local Show Committee, so I think that I can pursade them... especially if I offer to sponsor the award/prize.   ;)  

 


when would you propose this contest occur in relation the real show?
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Offline TJ

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Re: Fitters, steer jocks and kids OH MY!
« Reply #52 on: November 16, 2007, 10:32:46 PM »
There are some really great points being made here!  I think the halter breaking issue is a valid point.  Surely you wouldn't expect a 9 yo to do all the halter breaking themselves, although I know some really tough little buggers that could get'r done if the calf was small enough.  Reality is, most kids that age just aren't physically strong enough to break a 400lb+ calf, and that's probably the lower end of the spectrum.   If I remember anything about my 4-H  years I believe it's supposed to be a "family" thing... can anyone out there help me out with this?

I agree that a 9 year old will likely need help breaking a calf.  Also, unless they grew up around show cattle or have spent lots of hours in a show barn, they will need help fitting too.  Young kids need help & nothing wrong with providing them help, except for classes geared toward fitting/showmanship.  

As far as the family thing... I certainly think that is the best case scenario.  But, let's play "what if".

What if both parents work 40+ hours a week, drive have a 2 hour commute & simply have little to no time to help?  

What if it is a single parent home & the single parent has to not only go to work, but do all the house work too + raise the kid all by themselves & simply doesn't have time to help?

What if that kid who has busted their tail all year long, has a show on a day when both parents have other obligations & can't take off work?

What if the kid who busted their tail all year long, has a parent is battling an illness & the other has to take care of their sick partner?  

Should a willing & eager young kid be denied outside hired help in any of those 4 scenarios?  If so, I am eager to here anyones reasoning as to why?  You see, everything is not always as simple as black & white, a whole lot of grey can get mixed in too.  


 
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Offline TJ

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Re: Fitters, steer jocks and kids OH MY!
« Reply #53 on: November 16, 2007, 11:35:14 PM »
TJ...  You refer to showmanship/fitting classes in your posts, is it called a showmanship/fitting class, or is there a showmanship competition and a fitting competition?  Just curious, they are two seperate things here.   

Some places it is 2 seperate things, but the 2 can be combined & that is what I was talking about.  We've done it both ways in the past, but currently it is just a traditional showmanship class at the County Fair & the kids can have help fitting for Showmanship.  However, I hope to change that because I think that it is a serious mistake when the 2 are seperated.  IMHO, fitting is a very important part of showmanship.  If showmanship is presenting your animal to the best of your ability, then it involves not only what happens in the showring, but also what happens during the fitting process.   I would like for our county fair to give a grand & reserve championship award for the 2 combined (in the ring & the fitting part) & call it "Showmanship".  I don't think that it will be a problem getting that to happen.  One of my sisters real good friends, is the 4H leader, my cousin is one of the FFA advisors & I know everyone on the local Show Committee, so I think that I can pursade them... especially if I offer to sponsor the award/prize.   ;)  

 


when would you propose this contest occur in relation the real show?

Actually, your question is probably the reason why most shows don't want to do what I am talking about!  Most local shows like to do everything all at once & get it over with.  Also, I'll bet that many don't want the kids fitting calves for showmanship & then having to let that kids fit job have to work for "the real show" too.  Nor will others want a fitter to potentially fit the calf earlier in the day that a kid has to fit that same calf for a fitting/showmanship competition.  But, sometimes you just have to do what you have to do.

The best way to do it & the best way to get a max effect, IMHO, is to have at least one show that is strictly nothing but a fitting/showmanship show all by itself.  And have it on a weekday or weekend when no other shows are taking place.  I would not have a regular show at that particular event, that is, if you want to do it right & get kids to thinking more about fitting & showmanship.  If it could be done that way, ideally, other than helping the kids unload & set up equipment or helping them to get a stubborn calf to lead, make the kids do all the rest all by themselves!  IMHO, that is by far the best way to do it.  If you make the jackpot/stakes high enough... plenty of kids will attend!  So that wont be an issue.   

I don't know how it is anymore, but at our State Fair, showmanship used to be held the afternoon before the show. That is the next best scenario.  The another scenario includes having the showmanship either in the morning & "the real show" in the afternoon or vice versa.  Another possibility, is to have "the real show" 1st thing in the AM & once it concludes, then have a short break, then let everyone break down everything in the hair & wash it all out.  Then let the kids lead a wet, slicked down calf into the grooming area where it could then be blown dry & fitted by the kid. 

Of course, if both shows are held on the same day or even held on consecutive days & "the real show" comes first, some could argue that the calves could have already been clipped by someone else for "the regular show" before showmanship.  They would be correct, BUT, if that is going to be the case, you can write it down that those same calves would be clipped by someone else before leaving for the show anyway, so that argument isn't going to carry too much weight.  Also, there is not going to be a perfect time or a perfect answer or a perfect way to do this.  It wont always be fair, it wont always go perfectly, but that's because this isn't a perfect world & it isn't going to be in this age. 

Also, if you are one of those who is bent on banning fitters,  you can have your showmanship/fitting competition 1st at your show & the real show IMMEDIATELY following it.  That way, you wont have to worry about them as nearly as much, BUT, you still wont stop the fitters from clipping the calves beforehand or doing a few tweaks at before the show.  Stopping fitters all together just "ain't gonna happen"!!   
 
All I know to tell you is to try it different ways & see how it works.  Worst case, you are talking about spending a few extra hours on a show day at a location, but if you are already at the show location anyway & are competing for potential prizes in basically 2 seperate show, what is a few hours going to matter?  Especially if showing cattle is what you like to do!   


I still think it's OK for a hired fitter to help kid with a show calf for "the real show".  The only time I don't think that a fitter or anyone else should be allowed to help a kid is during a fitting/showmanship combo competition. 
« Last Edit: November 16, 2007, 11:48:34 PM by TJ »
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Offline DLD

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Re: Fitters, steer jocks and kids OH MY!
« Reply #54 on: November 17, 2007, 12:11:20 AM »
Along the lines of what you're talking about, we have team fitting contests here at the OK Youth Expo and the Tulsa State Fair. I know the contest at OKC allows 1 team per county, and alot of counties have an elimination contest at their show to determine who gets to go. The rules call for a 3 person team with both sexes represented (1 boy & 2 girls or 2 boys and 1 girl) and at least one member has to be 12 or younger. They start with a clean, unfitted calf and have a set amount of time to get them ready to show. The teams are judged not only on how well the calf is fit, but on each member's participation (it counts against you if 1 member does all the fitting, 1 runs the blower the whole time, and 1 just tries to look busy, even if the calf looks great in the end). I haven't  gotten to watch Tulsa's, but I believe the rules may vary a little (maybe seperate junior and senior divisions, not limited to one team per county, etc...). They've gotten some good sponsors and lots of good prizes (clippers and other show equipment along with the usual bags, chairs, jackets, etc...). This seems to do alot to encourage alot of kids to want to learn to be good fitters, maybe moreso than any other single thing I've seen. The Youth Expo also has a big showmanship contest with nice prizes and lots of prestige involved. The winner in each of 3 age groups from each county participates in the state contest - also great incentive for the kids. Many breeds in the heifer show have showmanship contests for their exhibitors as well.
« Last Edit: November 17, 2007, 12:13:07 AM by DLD »
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Offline Telos

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Re: Fitters, steer jocks and kids OH MY!
« Reply #55 on: November 17, 2007, 12:41:23 AM »


There is a lot to be said about this thing we call, "Showing Cattle". It is an art form, a competitive sport, and a learning tool to teach our youth many valuable lessons.

I have thought that a traveling Art Exhibit made up of champion livestock would be an interesting exhibition for all the great Art Museums in North America. It would also set a stage to help show people the creative process which takes place in rural America and Canada. It would be a high maintenance exhibit, but at $10 to $20 a pop and millions viewing....Maybe Brad Hook could promote such a venture. Sullivan's could even set up their booth. It could be titled,Still Life #3 with Bling-Bling Rope Halters. It would also give some fitters steady employment making sure the livestock are always looking their best.
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Offline Jeff_Schroeder

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Re: Fitters, steer jocks and kids OH MY!
« Reply #56 on: November 17, 2007, 08:09:54 AM »
Quote
If you are going to argue that kids are soley responsible for their own projects & if you are going to argue that kids are soley responsible for doing all the work, then pre-halter broke calves is a VERY valid subject!!

I never said otherwise.  Its a VERY valid subject but a different subject.

Quote
If you aren't teaching the kids about the business side of things even though its a loss, that is sad.

If you are concerned about the business side, production competitions would be MUCH more appropriate.  You dont need to buy a show steer to teach a kid the price of feed or budgeting.  There are dozens of ag projects where you can teach that and not have to pretend profit doesnt matter in the end as long as your cattle look good.

I realize you raise Shorthorns and the focus tends to lean more on the show ring than production.  And yes, there are lessons about show cattle world to be taught but please dont pretend lessons apply directly to the real world of beef production any better than real cattle projects would.  Just one example; in the real world a low growth bull with cow killer type birth weights and a potentially lethal genetic defect would be hamburger.  In the world of show cattle, hes cloned and the consensus best show steer sire alive.

Show animals are about the bottom of the list in terms of junior projects that provide business education.  You yourself admitted that one of the lessons is just how preposterous the entire economy of show steers is.

Quote
There are VALUABLE life skills to be taught as TJ says, its whether YOU take the time to teach them.

I'm not sure why you feel you need to tell me that, I'm the one that's been arguing on the side of taking the time to teach kids rather than hire professional fitters this entire thread.
« Last Edit: November 17, 2007, 09:37:35 AM by JSchroeder »

Offline gatorbait

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Re: Fitters, steer jocks and kids OH MY!
« Reply #57 on: November 17, 2007, 08:41:34 AM »
What do ya do when everyone at the local show considers your lil 15 year old sister a professional and say its not fair. (lol) She helps me clip and fit for $.
Secondly showing is a sport just like playing baseball or football it doesn't have to make real world sense to learn and grow from it. Its all in where you want to spend your money. We happen to not be very athletically gifted no matter how much I practiced I would never be able to hit the broadside of a barn however with hard work we can compete in the showring. I say watch the professional fitters ask questions and practice till everybody says your a pro then help somebody else along.
And on the hired fitter thing we've never hired fitters we've always done it ourselves (big brother labors free or so I'm told!!!) but with the size of our string and everybody wanting our help we will probable hire for our local this year It sure will make things less stressful.
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Offline Telos

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Re: Fitters, steer jocks and kids OH MY!
« Reply #58 on: November 17, 2007, 09:33:03 AM »
JSchroeder, I tend to sit on your side of the fence more often then not ie; to this issue.

I think what we need to understand is that this showing stuff has become fiercely competitive. It now takes a substantial group of team players to get one of these steers or heifers looking the part. Like I have stated in a previous post...It is not a good or bad thing, but just the way it is, and probably the way it will always be. What is sad, it is not about kids competing against kids in many cases, but it is that some these kids have to compete against adults.

I guess one lesson that can be learned from all of this is, it is the ones who have the most resources and who can create the best infra structure of team players that work together as an efficient team to get a particular job done. What the showring does not teach enough, are sound business mechanics of the beef cattle industry. For instance, I have always thought that refrigerated cooling rooms were a little obsessive and not very cost effective. It definitely is not about low input and high output ratios.
Jack Jabara

Offline Show Heifer

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Re: Fitters, steer jocks and kids OH MY!
« Reply #59 on: November 17, 2007, 06:22:38 PM »
I have scanned the above post, but admit I probably missed a few points so pardon me but...

I DID offer to sponser an award much bigger than that of the champion steer (trophy) for our champion showmanship AND commercial feeder pen (a steer class based strictly on numbers - nothing on prettiness) and was told I couldn't do it, as it would be unfair. And that tells the kids what?????

And heres another thought about 9 year olds being at a disadvantage (that's just life...a young salesman is at a disadvantage the first year of his work too, but do you hear them whining??)....How safe is it for a 9 year old weighing 80 pounds to be leading a 1250 pound steer/heifer anyway??? Several shows have banned ram sheep due to "safety reasons", and bulls can not be shown for "safety reasons", so why in the world would one assume that a 9 year old would be safe leading a steer/heifer? Maybe if the age limit was say 12-14, the kid WOULD do more of the work that they need to do due to the fact it is THE KIDS project....
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