But, let's be honest... many 1st year, 4th graders, may actually "outwork" everyone else, but they just don't have the "fitting skills" to compete with an 18 year old who has been showing all their life & who is a 4H member, because they didn't join the FFA
Why do you think that 4th grader should be able to step right in and compete with seniors in high school who have been fitting calves for a decade?
OK, you answered my question so here it goes...
In a showmanship/fitting class they probably will not be able to. Nor should they. And that is where the older, more experinced kids should have an advantage & they probably should be able to win those classes!! However, those classes are called SHOWMANSHIP & FITTING for a reason, & because of that, they should be judged seperately & treated differently, IMHO. Read my last post for more regarding that.
If the aspects of showmanship/fitting is important to you, encourage shows to place more emphasis on those aspects of the youth beef projects. Honestly, I wish more shows would do more to promote & encourage those aspects more!!
However, we are talking about steer shows where the best calf is supposed to win. We are not talking about the best showring exhibitor or the kid who can fit the best or who has the most experience. Once again, it is about the best calf... period. IMHO, nothing is wrong with a kid or their parents doing all that they can to LEGALLY & ETHICALLY make their calf become the best that it can be, when that is what a steer show is all about. You may argue it is the kids project. Well, you are correct. But, why is it so terrible for a kid to seek outside help as long as they don't cheat (air, pump, drug, cosmetic surgery, etc.)??? IMHO, kids/parents are smart if they seek outside help if they are new to the game & if they are not knowledgable or skilled enough to fit themselves. Again, it is about the best calf. So, if a kid learns how to hire help, learns how to budget money to pay for the help & learns how to sub-contract & delegate responsibility in order to do that, can you honestly say that a kid has learned nothing valuable? Also, if that kid has to mows yards, trim bushes, cleans gutters, work at a feed store, help a neighbor on their farm, etc, in order to make enough money to be able to afford the best fitter, or to be able to afford to pay their own feed bill or to maybe even to be able to afford to buy their own calf, how is all that not a valauble life lesson too? I think it is VERY VALUABLE!! Maybe if they weren't working somewhere else, maybe they could be able to afford to have that project. You may disagree, but I would applaude that kid for being an intelligent, go-getter & a highly motivated individual!! Also, IMHO, they may actually learn a lot more by doing that & they may even be better prepared for adulthood. What if they are very active in church, clubs, sports, judging teams, debate teams and other activities? IMHO, if they are doing all those things, they are going to be learning valuable things & possibly even doing a lot of good... they will also likely need help with their projects & IMHO, nothing is wrong with that at all!! Also, what if both parents work off the farm & the kid has to do it all on their own, but is young & needs assistance/supervision? Is it wrong for them to hire a fitter to help that kid while they are working? IMHO, I think it is a very wise & commendable thing to do!!
In a perfect world, every kid would break, feed, care for, rinse, wash, groom, clip, fit & show their own calves & the parents would be around for assistance/supervision. However, this isn't a perfect world... it is actually a very hectic one. When the contest is the best animal... period, why is it such a big deal for people to hire help? In the "real world" that is the way things are done.
In summary... if it was a Showmanship/Fitting class, I would totally agree with you & you would have no argument from me. However, IMHO, that is why we have those Showmanship/Fitting classes. Also, let me repeat that IMHO, a live animal show should be about the BEST live animal/s & making those animals become the best that they can become. How that happens (as long as it is both legal & ethical) is not nearly as important as the kid learning how to be able to make that happen, IMHO. This isn't a perfect world & nothing is ever going to work perfectly, nor is everything fair.
I'm pretty opinionated & some may disagree with me. That is OK. We will just have to agree to disagree.