Fitters, steer jocks and kids OH MY!

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rmbcows

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I saw several posts that this would have fit under, but I figured it would stir up enough discussion to deserve a place of it's own.  I've noticed lots of people on here have very low opinions of steer jocks, and I realize that's a whole other discussion.  What I'd like to hear from everyone about is this, if you think banning steer jocks/fitters from the shows really levels the playing field.  Here's what I've noticed happens when the jocks are banned...  1.  People completely ignore the rules and the superintendants do nothing about it.    2.  Everyone has a cousin bubba that's a professional jock  3.  The area steer jocks go to the extension agents and get a 4-H leader card  4. The calves get professionally clipped at home the night before they come to the show  OR  5.  You will end up showing against a Ty Stierwalt,  Macy Griswold or Jacee May (just examples) 
Maybe everyone should be allowed to have a fitter.  Heaven knows there's enough work at home and at the show for jr's to do, when it gets right down to the big dance, why not let them get someone that can clip that animal to show it at it's very best?  Let them watch a professional and practice at home on the old show cows, and when they feel confident enough to want to do there own at the show, let them have at it.
 

knabe

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i agree with EVERYTHING rmb cows said.  denial is one of man's silliest notions.  i am for jocks, fitters etc on every level.  if it was all out in the open, people would only learn more by watching.  this more equal mentality has to stop.  of course it won't though as psuedo idealism is more important.
 

OH Breeder

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I am with you. I don't think they should limit fitters at any level. The junior should be doing most of the work but, it never hurts to have help. I growing up never had a professional fitter. But I learned quickly who to watch and who not to. I learned to do it myself. If the child is not motivated to learn how to do it themselves then whos fault is it. I say to each his own. I have watched Stierwalts videon on clipping many times over and practice practice practice.
I agree with you on the "steer jocks" they do get involved in other ways to market there products but more covertly. There is always a loop hole and there is always folks who don't play fair.
 

OH Breeder

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knabe said:
i agree with EVERYTHING rmb cows said.  denial is one of man's silliest notions.  i am for jocks, fitters etc on every level.  if it was all out in the open, people would only learn more by watching.  this more equal mentality has to stop.  of course it won't though as psuedo idealism is more important.

WHO's the new picture of, what bull?
 

TJ

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OH Breeder said:
I am with you. I don't think they should limit fitters at any level. The junior should be doing most of the work but, it never hurts to have help. I growing up never had a professional fitter. But I learned quickly who to watch and who not to. I learned to do it myself. If the child is not motivated to learn how to do it themselves then whos fault is it. I say to each his own. I have watched Stierwalts videon on clipping many times over and practice practice practice.
I agree with you on the "steer jocks" they do get involved in other ways to market there products but more covertly. There is always a loop hole and there is always folks who don't play fair.

I'm all for pro fitters at any level.  What I am not for is pumping, airing, drugging, "plastic surgery", etc.  (and I'm not really into leg building either, but that's a grey area, IMHO).  As long as a pro fitter plays by the rules, I agree that the JR exhibitors would probably learn a whole lot more & the playing field would probably be more even. 
 

Show Dad

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Here's a wild idea, now remember it's just an idea. Why not have it no clipping, oils or spray products. Just shampoo (provide by the organizers, that way every one has to use the same stuff), comb and a blower. You could call it a "shower and show."

P.S. And only Red in color. Don't want any of those over hyped black hided getting the advantage. ;) ;)
 

Jill

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Banning steer jocks/professional fitters IMO doesn't hurt anyone but the bottom half of your classes, the kids that really do need the help.  We are for anyone being able to help, and we have fought these rules at every level, I hate family only rules to me they are the absolute worst,  the immediate family option gives no leeway for the kid that doesn’t have immediate family or advisers with an interest in showing.  I guess in my opinion if you make the rules to include anyone other than the exhibitors only, then you need to open the door for anyone to fit, why is it ok for some to have a fitter (even if they are a parent) but not my kids?  We have always felt that the calves at the top of the class are all determined by the work done at home, it doesn't really matter whether they have a fitter/jock on the grounds show day.
We ran my nephew all over the country for 9 years and ended up getting guardianship papers on him so we could help him, it's amazing they don't care if you help until the kid starts winning.  I think that the 4-H/beef program gave my nephew the opportunity to accomplish a lot in his formative years, it bolstered his confidence and self esteem, and he gained a lot of life skills that will help him to excel in other areas in life, and I think it would be an absolute shame to have excluded him because if we hadn't done it he wouldn't have had the opportunity to show.
I have heard my husband make the suggestion dozens of times, let the fitters come, for that matter let them come a day early, pay them a little extra and have them put on a clinic, watch what they do, why not allow all kids to learn from the best.
I think in the final analysis you can make rules until the cows come home, they keep the honest people honest and the rest will continue as they always have, it doesn’t change the outcome!


 

knabe

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Jill said:
Banning steer jocks/professional fitters IMO doesn't hurt anyone but the bottom half of your classes, the kids that really do need the help. 

kinda like bush's no child left behind act.  all it is is a farce to not allow anyone to excel.  musical chairs and dodge ball are two of THE best tools of all time to teach kids that life isn't fair and what capitalism is all about.  course what we have now is a trophy just for participation.  think about that, we have to give kids trophies to just show up.  seriously, they are more mature than us adults are.
 

dori36

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knabe said:
Jill said:
Banning steer jocks/professional fitters IMO doesn't hurt anyone but the bottom half of your classes, the kids that really do need the help. 

kinda like bush's no child left behind act.  all it is is a farce to not allow anyone to excel.  musical chairs and dodge ball are two of THE best tools of all time to teach kids that life isn't fair and what capitalism is all about.  course what we have now is a trophy just for participation.  think about that, we have to give kids trophies to just show up.  seriously, they are more mature than us adults are.

Here's another thought - the kids at the bottom, financially and advantagewise, do you think they could afford a good fitter?  How would you level that playing field? I can envision the "creme of the crop" kids hiring the best and the regular kids not being able to afford to hire anyone. 
 

TJ

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Show Dad said:
Here's a wild idea, now remember it's just an idea. Why not have it no clipping, oils or spray products. Just shampoo (provide by the organizers, that way every one has to use the same stuff), comb and a blower. You could call it a "shower and show."

P.S. And only Red in color. Don't want any of those over hyped black hided getting the advantage. ;) ;)

IMHO, you either need to decide to have a slick sheer show or you need to decide to allow fitters.  Anything in between just will not work very well, IMHO.   

 

shortyjock89

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I don't think it matters one way or another on the whole "allowing a professional fitter" thing.  In my area, the families that win don't hire anyone, because we/they can fit just fine on their own.  If someone does hire a fitter, we  don't throw a fit because if the calf is good, it will win, and if it's not , it won't (or shouldn't).  Sometimes a fitter will come in and fit a calf for two hours and then get beat by a calf who was just stood up and blown out right before a class.  The people who just blow and go have worked their butt's off all year and the calves look good enough to win without glue in them at all.  Oh and just so everyone knows, there are alot of very competitive families in my area; Grand Champ Horned Shorthorn at IL St. Fair this year, numerous division winners coming from different families, a recent Res. Div. Shorthorn Heifer Calf Champ at the NAILE, and so forth. 
 

TJ

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rmbcows said:
I saw several posts that this would have fit under, but I figured it would stir up enough discussion to deserve a place of it's own.  I've noticed lots of people on here have very low opinions of steer jocks, and I realize that's a whole other discussion.  What I'd like to hear from everyone about is this, if you think banning steer jocks/fitters from the shows really levels the playing field.   Here's what I've noticed happens when the jocks are banned...  1.  People completely ignore the rules and the superintendants do nothing about it.    2.  Everyone has a cousin bubba that's a professional jock   3.  The area steer jocks go to the extension agents and get a 4-H leader card  4. The calves get professionally clipped at home the night before they come to the show   OR  5.  You will end up showing against a Ty Stierwalt,  Macy Griswold or Jacee May (just examples)   
Maybe everyone should be allowed to have a fitter.  Heaven knows there's enough work at home and at the show for jr's to do, when it gets right down to the big dance, why not let them get someone that can clip that animal to show it at it's very best?  Let them watch a professional and practice at home on the old show cows, and when they feel confident enough to want to do there own at the show, let them have at it.

A lot of truth in the above.  #2, #3 & #4 examples happen a lot!!  
 

JSchroeder

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If you give a darn about what the kid learns, why not hire a show jock to teach the kid how to do the work right themselves instead of letting mommy and daddy hire somebody to do it for them?
 

Telos

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I must admit that I have been on both sides of the fence on this topic. Bottom line...The junior program has become an immensely competitive sport. It is the folks with the most resources (money, professional associates, etc.) along with all the hard work that usually go out and become competitive.

My concern is for the kids that feel defeated and become disenchanted because they do not have these resources. Sometimes it almost seems like a High School varsity football player has to go up against a professional NFL player and I'm not  sure that is a good thing.

I do not think it is always children competing against other children. Sometimes it children competing against grown adults, and that bother me a bit.



 

Show Heifer

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I didn't read the other post for fear of not stating my opinion....I am NOT in favor of steer jock fitters, as I think if it is the kids project, the kid should do it....let the jock clipper show the kid how to clip at home, then let the kid do it at the show. Same with fitting with all the goop.
BUT....
I realize loop holes are as many as their are fleas on a dog, SO.....I purpose a very radical option: IF YOU HAVE A RULE, THEN INFORCE IT. IF YOUR NOT GOING TO FOLLOW THE RULES/INFORCE THE RULES, THEN FOR HEAVENS SAKE GET RID OF THEM!!!
I have long been a supporter of "No rules, anything goes" shows. Why? Because it levels the playing field totally. Everyone can do anything. In fact, might as well get rid of the age limit on the "kids", lets face it, some of the kids are only there due to the fact their PARENTS want to show, they just can't hack the "open shows", so they have their kid lead the calf.  And I am flat honest about this.

In light of that....I LOVED my years as a junior shower. Learned many things. Learned that life isn't fair. People that have more money have the advantage, but hard work still works. Some people will do ANYTHING to get ahead and they won't get caught, and ya just have to accept that. I learned that some people will bend over backwards to help you. I learned that friendships can indeed last over the years. Some friendships can't hold up past a purple ribbon. I learned that if you cheat in 4-H, you probably will cheat the rest of your life. And I learned that if you look hard enough, you have something in common with anyone.
 

CPL

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I don't see a problem with the professionals being at open shows, etc. But isn't the whole  point of a junior show to be the junior with the animal? Some of these kids who have mommy and daddy doing most if not all the work at home and then show day comes around and they get a purple ribbon. I don't think thats the way it should work.

Open shows yes, junior shows no IMO.
 

JSchroeder

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Point taken, I've changed it to darn.  It's no excuse but I've been around too many cowboys today and we have a different discourse than what is acceptable in polite company.  ;)
 

JSchroeder

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In fact, might as well get rid of the age limit on the "kids", lets face it, some of the kids are only there due to the fact their PARENTS want to show, they just can't hack the "open shows", so they have their kid lead the calf.
I agree.  I've long thought that an open market steer show would eliminate half the B.S. that goes on in the junior shows due to parents living vicariously through their kids.
 

TJ

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dori36 said:
knabe said:
Jill said:
Banning steer jocks/professional fitters IMO doesn't hurt anyone but the bottom half of your classes, the kids that really do need the help. 

kinda like bush's no child left behind act.  all it is is a farce to not allow anyone to excel.  musical chairs and dodge ball are two of THE best tools of all time to teach kids that life isn't fair and what capitalism is all about.  course what we have now is a trophy just for participation.  think about that, we have to give kids trophies to just show up.  seriously, they are more mature than us adults are.

Here's another thought - the kids at the bottom, financially and advantagewise, do you think they could afford a good fitter?  How would you level that playing field? I can envision the "creme of the crop" kids hiring the best and the regular kids not being able to afford to hire anyone. 

You make some very good points.

I've actually seen kids at the bottom who couldn't afford fitters, etc.  But most of those kids usually either raise a calf or buy it at a sale barn... they often don't have proper grooming equipment either & have to borrow equipment from others.  Nobody would ban grooming equipment because some kids can afford it & I just can't see banning pro-fitters because a few can't afford them.  Anyway, most of those kids either become pro's themselves or they quickly drop out all together.

You are also correct that it wont always level the playing field, but if they can hire a pro fitter even once per year, they can learn a whole lot!!  Besides, anybody can easily hire an awful good fitter for a couple hundred dollars per day + expenses if they are not obligated to someone else & I know plenty who are cheaper than that, especially if all they do is clip & fit.  For that matter, you can hire an awful good fitter, have them keep the cattle at their place for 45-60 days, do daily hair care, trim hooves, have them fitted for the the show, etc., all for several hundred $$  per head.  In the world of show cattle, that is pennies, IMHO & if you can't afford a few hundred dollars for a fitter, you likely wont be able to afford showing cattle period.... especially in a world where it is not uncommon for people to spend $2,000 - $4,000 on a pretty good steer & where people spend a lot more than that on the elite level steers.          

IMHO, all disadvantaged kids like the ones that you are talking about can hope for is...

A. ...a real good calf to "fall into their lap"
B. ...learn to do it all themselves by observation
C. ...out work the other kids
D. ...become the best showperson they can become
E. ...stop showing & become good at something else

Anyway, the bottom line is that preventing pro-fitters from helping at a show is still is not going to prevent a pro-fitter from clipping calves before they leave for the show or prevent them from becoming an approved youth leader or whole lot of other unfair scenario's.  Show cattle isn't ever going to be perfectly fair, just like the cattle business isn't going to be perfectly fair, just like life isn't ever going to be perfectly fair.
 

DLD

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Lots of good points brought up so far.

Bottom line is that there is virtually nothing you can do to eliminate professionals (jocks, whatever you want to call 'em).

If you think that allowing only the exhibitors to touch the calves at the show solves it, then keep your blinders on and be happy. Those top end steers at Denver have been clipped and fitted by professionals (often in the yards) immediately before they go up on the hill. Same is gonna go for any other show with similiar rules. Years ago, Tulsa allowed only exhibitors to fit, but other exhibitors could help - that was pretty lucrative for the junior exhibitors that were good fitters.

Slick shear? The same "professionals" are standing in the win photos and picturing the winners in their ads as the hair shows.

I'm also in favor of letting anyone fit. The exhibitors that want to do it will learn  from the "pros" and they'll pass it on to the younger ones that want to in the same way. Young people that want help and want to learn will find a way. There are plenty of people that know how to fit that are willing to help anyone that truly wants to learn, if they'll only ask for help.




 
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