"Grooming Rule"

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garett

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Dec 12, 2007
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Northern Missouri
I showed at a local fair this past week, and they had a grooming rule. No one but immediate family was to touch your cattle. If they saw anyone else helping groom your cattle you would be asked to leave. I personally like this rule. So many kids rely on especially family to do everything. I think this should be more strict and after a certain age or something most children should be almost completely responsible for the grooming on all their cattle. I can see younger children needing help grooming and everything. But I see older kids watching their parents do most everything. My parents arent really show cattle people so I dont worry about them trying to help.

What is everyone else's opinion? Does your fair have a similar rule?
 

kanshow

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Personally, I think it should be 'immediate family or other 4her or something to that effect'    I believe the older 4H kids in the county should be allowed to mentor the younger 4H kids.  JMO. 

Our county has implemented a new rule that says parents are only allowed to help load & unload.  I'll be curious to see how they'll enforce that one.    I can foresee some problems.. ex.  my kids are not big/strong enough yet to carry much water... the tie outs & sheep pens are a long way from hydrants & they really complain if someone hooks a hose up and waters. 
 

farmboy

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i think that immediate family is not good, what if you have a family whos never done it before?... if they did this at our fair, our group would be out of business.

we have 20 head between 6 memebers, we just go down the line, dosnt matter whos fitting them
 

knabe

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Hollister, CA
not a good rule.  if someone is showing someone how to do something, watch and learn.

all to often in shows i see this rule, the top end competitors are still cheating, when someone says something, nothing happens, lots of bad feelings regardless.  you see people waving to do this or that while you are in the showring, usually the exhibitor is frustrated and the showing then becomes more about the people doing all the waving and cheating and those who want to learn don't learn.

this is one of those cases where policing is just impossible.  just let everything out in the open, have fun, if your're no good, you found out and you have a direction where to improve.  all to often, the rule changers are the people who don't win, the losers.  after the rules are changed, they still are losers.  personally, i feel a service is being done if someone good shows up and helps someone and others can watch and wonder what is going on.

perhaps we should just institute the trophy for everyone thread here, and make dang sure the real winner gets the smallest trophy.
 

bcosu

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Feb 22, 2008
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Ohio
being one of the few senior beef exhibitors in the county, i have been asked to help a few people to fit and clip their cattle. while i enjoy helping them, it should not be required to have just 4h members, advisors, or immediate family members only to work on them. i have no problem with a professional coming in to help because anyone has the opportunity to hire someone. if they don't know what they are doing then they should be able to hire a knowledgeable person to clip their calves. i wouldn't be opposed to naming fitters or clippers as long as you are allowed to hire someone. this rule is pretty much a big pain.
 

pnewendyke

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Jun 22, 2007
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Sterling, IL
Cattle shows are won prior ever going to the fair. A good judge will see through a poorly fitted leg.  A bad one is never gonna beat a good one regardless of whos running the blower or fitting the leg.  I do not like these rules as how many times do you fit up the legs at home? I never did.  But the 99% of the clip job is done prior to leaving the farm and you cant regulate that. I like to help kids that purchase calves from me. What frustrates me is most people want to buy calves from someone who will help clip and fit before and at the fairs because it increases there chances of winning, dont know too many (no one actually) who buys a calf and never wants to see you again.   At the first show I usually fit show side and let the exhibitor do the other side so he/she can watch and have an example right there in front of him/her.  I dont like when parent or jock does all the fitting at the show, its the kids project they need to do more than the washing and blowing.

Went to 4-H show yesterday which enforced this rule for the first time that had been in the book for 5 years. I had helped clip the calf Saturday. I never touched a comb or a clipper yesterday,  and the young man did an excellent job fitting and clipping with a little guidance. Ended up winning his class.   Again champions are made at home in the barn with hours and sweat.  Not on a 20 minute fit job on show day. The people that make and enforce these rules need to look at the people that are wining and see how much time they put into the cattle at home.  In my opinion its a dumb rule they have the same opportunity to get help from a jockey, producer, etc as everyone else...

Good post I dont get on here too much and post anything so I'm interested in what other think.  Good luck to all this fair season.
 

KCK

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Oklahoma
When I was in 4-H we could only have other 4-her's and/or our parents. I was very much in luck as my folks ran a custom fitting service, so they were pretty top notch, IMO. Thing was, the people that wanted it to end up that way brought in fitters, breaking their won rule, and still lost. I didn't take the county fair too serious, so it didn't much matter to me if we fit or not. I do know some people live and die for the county fair and would not want to get kicked out for breaking the rules. Therefore, they followed them and we all got along. It made us a closer bunch of 4-Her's and families. I know that before the rule went in to place, people were not nearly as friendly to each other! We had to get along and it was great. Parents roamed around the barn and got to go back to the "good old days" too, which was funny!

I would say just go with the rule, flow along nicely and use it to your advantage. Make life long friends and learn from others. Good luck to everyone.
 

SWMO

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Carthage MO
You are never liked if you win too often or too much and most rules are put in place to prevent one family or individual from winning too often or too much.  I agree on that the show is won at home.  The kids that feed and do their work on the hair at home are the ones that their cattle look the best at the show. 

Is it fair for a family to show on the local level that sells steers and heifers and exhibits at several of the major shows each year.  Does the family that travels to the major shows and exhibits at them have an unfair advantage over the other exhibitors on the county level?  What kind of rule do you put into place there?  If you have exhibited at any type of National Show are you ineligible to show at the county level.?  How about if your parents are wealthy?  Should you be barred from showing at the county level?  (By the way, discremination laws will enter into some of these equations)

In my opinion, if you take the time to learn money doesn't win out over a good eye for cattle and the ability to use a feed bucket.

I know that a family in our area has been VERY successful showing pens of broilers at the State Fair over the past several years and last year this young lady had the Grand and Reserve pen of broilers.  The state fair has now put in place a rule that you can only exhibit one pen of broilers.  Whose idea do you think that was?  Was it sour grapes because this family knows how to develop and feed broilers?  And maybe there is more to the story than I know.  But without having any of the other facts it just seems like sour grapes.

My opinion of the "immediate family rule" is that it really hurts the beginning showers. 

Also, what is your definition of "Professional"
 

the_resa86

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Jan 16, 2008
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Michigan
Our fair has a rule like that.  Our rule is immediate family, leaders, and 4-H'ers from our county.  When I was showing we always had people that we were very good friends with come in and HELP us fit because we had too many head to get ready by ourselves and my parents have no idea how to fit.  When the rule was first introduced I thought that if they were going to have a rule like that they should allow any 4-H'er to help, regardless of county.  It hurts younger exhibitors to limit them in the number of people that can help them.  For some kids at our fair they want to learn but their leaders don't know anything and their parents don't know anything so it makes it really hard for them to learn.  Personally I am against any rule like that because as everyone else said the fit job is not going to win the fair it can only enhance what the animal already has and all the rule does is limit the number of people newer kids have to learn from.  As much as I dislike the rule my younger sister has rolled with it and made it work, it makes show day a little more stressful but rather than stirring the pot she just follows the rule.
 

OH Breeder

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Ada, Ohio
Garett said:
I showed at a local fair this past week, and they had a grooming rule. No one but immediate family was to touch your cattle. If they saw anyone else helping groom your cattle you would be asked to leave. I personally like this rule. So many kids rely on especially family to do everything. I think this should be more strict and after a certain age or something most children should be almost completely responsible for the grooming on all their cattle. I can see younger children needing help grooming and everything. But I see older kids watching their parents do most everything. My parents arent really show cattle people so I dont worry about them trying to help.

What is everyone else's opinion? Does your fair have a similar rule?

Do not agree with it at all.
We typically bring 6-9 head of cattle. It takes everyone and then soem to get everyone fit and groomed. I don't think that should matter. Like everyone else has said, the winning is done at home. Rules like me seem to be sour grapes by someone. I also have seen a "professional" clip etc a calf day prior. Stand and coach the exhibitor and not break the rule.
Our fair held a clinic for beginners and all last year. That is the way to approach it. Learn for yourself. I do not think a rule will help.
 

kanshow

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May 24, 2007
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Kansas
Our new rule states that 'Adults may assist only in unloading, weighing, and loading livestock exhibits.  That is just wrong.  Like I said before, good luck enforcing that one..      There are so many interpretations one could take on this.     

On another note..  how about encouraging the Sr Showmen to mentor younger kids by dropping the ribbon placement if they can't document the mentoring?    Or find some other way to reward them for doing so.
 

vc

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Jul 24, 2007
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So-Cal
Our county fair has an exhibitors only rule, they can all help each other but no parents or adults may assist. It is only a blow and go, so all the work is done at home by whom ever. You do have some families that hire kids to help their kids, since they are still eligible they are not breaking the rule, just the spirit of the rule.
My only problem is that they do not allow the parents to assist in moving the cattle, I think this is were they make a mistake, my son is 120 pounds, calf is calm but when they get a burr under their be nice they can get tough to handle. You go to the pig barn and its all parents and leaders with pig boards and that is OK just no adults at the end of a lead on the cattle.
 

Jill

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Jan 20, 2007
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Gardner, KS
We dealt with this issue at the State Fair level last year, here was my response on the issue, I took the names out but you get the point.  

Here is the issue I have with allowing family members and if someone can explain why this is ok to me that would be great.  Why is it ok for ___, ___,____, ____ or ____ to fit for exhibitors at the show, but they can’t fit for anyone outside of their own family?  ____ can fit circles around ____, a 1st year kid that was at the State Fair and could really have used some help, he was there with his parents and they don’t really have a clue, but no one is allowed to help them, ____ were set up right next to them, they would have been more than happy to help out, but ____ couldn’t touch the animal.  Why are ____, or anyone else at the show that doesn’t happen to have a brother or parent that is a professional fitter not allowed assistance?  I guess in my opinion if you change the rule to include anyone other than the exhibitors, the people included that are legally fitting as a helper, relative, or whatever at that show, should be able to help anyone that asks for help at that show.

A no fit show is enforceable and fair, most of the calves at the top of the class are all determined by the work done at home.  I believe this type of show gives the most even playing field for everyone, because it takes years to develop fitting skills, but anyone can work the hair at home.  The down side to a no fit show is that you end up with a bunch of crappy looking pictures to represent your State Fair winners.  

The 4 or 5 options you give have no leeway for the kid that doesn’t have immediate family or advisors with an interest in showing, I’ll use our family as an example.  Jill grew up in Mission, KS, a suburb of Kansas City, there was no farm ground, no cows, no 4-H program, Earl grew up in Gardner, was very active in 4-H, but never showed cattle.  As our Nieces and Nephews got to be 4-H age, we gave them the option of showing cattle.  We paid for the animals, feed, supplies, and hauled them around.  Tony was one that wanted to show, and was reserve champion steer at the Kansas State Fair in 2001, the fitting rules were there at the time, but were not enforced, had the “only immediate family rules been enforced” Tony would not have been able to show at this State Fair.  Tony did not have parents interested in showing cattle, I can count on one hand the number of shows they attended, he didn’t have friends that showed cattle, he lives in Johnson County, KS where there is currently no FFA program in Gardner, there is currently no 4-H agent (we now have 2) and the one that just left only knew horses, and the Ag agent came from the state parks department, no ag background at all.  Tony is no longer an exhibitor at this show, the way this rule is being interpreted, we couldn’t have helped Tony, and Tony can’t come back and help Logan.  I think that the 4-H/beef program gave Tony 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 exclude these kids.  Johnson County had 22 youth that exhibited at the county fair last year, of those 0 have families that raise cattle for a living, 1 had parents that showed cattle in 4-H.  When you are making fitting rules, please remember that you are making them to fit the entire state, not just the more rural parts where farming is a way of life, not everyone has family member with past experience, they need outside help from somewhere.

I believe everyone knows we are for an open show that allows anyone to fit, not everyone agrees with that, but we have to come up with a solution that is both enforceable and fair.  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.



 

kanshow

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I just think there are a lot of lost learning opportunities by making rules like this.   There seem to be more petty rules at the local & small level that at the larger level.    Like someone else said, the show is mostly won at home anyway...    I know the folks who make all the rule changes at our county level may think changing the rules will make it a more level playing field but that's just not so.    Usually there was some incident at the previous fair that precipitated the change..   I have a real good idea of what & who that was..  why not just eliminate that one problem instead of making everyone else...

ETA:  Just read Jill's post...    As usual, she put into words all of the valid reasons these rules are deterimental!!! 
 

SWMO

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Carthage MO
"I believe everyone knows we are for an open show that allows anyone to fit, not everyone agrees with that, but we have to come up with a solution that is both enforceable and fair.  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."

We have soooo many rules at our county fair that they have become a burden and unenforceable and lead to MANY MANY MANY hard feeling when they aren't enforced equitably.

 

Show Heifer

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First off, I agree whole heartedly if you are not going to ENFORCE a rule, GET RID OF IT.
That being said....
  The "no professional" rule I feel is ok, if it is enforced equally. 
  The excuse that a beginner is at a disadvantage doesn't work for me due to the fact "that beginner" should have been having some help and guidance at home, long before the show day. So they are on the same footing as an older member. Trust me, I have seen 10 year olds that have had good guidance at home, out groom a 16 year old the day of the show.

But any rule, regardless of what it is, is worthless unless it is enforced.  Either enforce the rules or get rid of them.....which is why I honestly think they should get rid of EVERY rule there is. Every single one of them. That way, no one is cheating, no one has the advantage, and no one can complain (except for the family that has always cheated and had the advantage until the "free for all" and now they will complain because, like it or not, someone can always cheat better than they can!!!!)

Do your work at home, and remember, life isn't fair....get over it.
 

AAOK

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Rogers, Ar

No pros allowed!  I like the idea.  Why not?  Come to think of it, I've read a lot of posts giving a lot of reasons why not.  But I just don't get it; never have.

What makes the activity of Showing Cattle any different from other activities such as: Baseball, Band, Debate, Golf, Etc, Etc, Etc?????  The skills for all these activities are learned at home.  The more help and support at home, the better the chance of success.  Do the parents get to go to bat for the kids, play their horn, present a rebutle, or punch in the winnig putt? Absolutely not!  Yes, they have a coach, and so do the Show kids.  They all have a 4-H leader or Ag teacher who can coach.

What's the difference?

O.K Back to reality.  I helped my kids at every show.  I and the girls helped those at our county shows who didn't have a clue.  Yes, the same folks who would accuse us of cheating (because we always won).  But, it wasn't always that way.  When our family started showing, none of us knew come here from sic 'em.  There were families who helped us; taught us how to do things the correct way.  Even though I always helped, I could have turned my girls loose any time.  They still would have won, because they knew what to do and how to do it.

I really have two completely opposite thoughts about county shows (or any and all 4-H & FFA shows).  On one hand, I think there should be No Rules - ZERO!  Anything goes.  The same kids are going to win.  Those who have had the best coaching, and have also put in the time.

On the other hand, I say No One touches a calf but the Junior exhibitor - No Exceptions!  The same kids are going to win. 

Why gripe about the rules?  Who cares?  The same kids are going to win!!!!!!!!!

I have one more thing to say.  There is no greater thrill in showing cattle than winning a major show with a calf you raised, and was NEVER touched by anyone outside the family!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Just Do It!
 

SWMO

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Ok nobody has addressed what is a "Professional".  I believe that if we say no professional fitters we must have a definition.  I know some kids that are 16 that I would consider to be very very good fitters but I do not consider them to be professional. 

Our rules at our county fair is that the assistance provided to a exhibitor must come from a family member, 4-H beef leader, FFA advisor or another exhibitor at that fair.

How does everyone else define a "Professional".

In my idea what makes a professional is someone that is paid to take others livestock on the road to show and fit.  However, I do know that these same 16 year olds are paid to help when they fit at shows other than our county fair does that make them a professional?
 

GONEWEST

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GEORGIA
I agree with Knabe and Jill, etc. I DO NOT agree that all is won at home, not a realistic thought at all. Livestock shows are becoming so competitive. EVERYONE  who is competitive takes care of their animals  basically at the same level. EVERYONE who is competitive knows how to feed. People who are consistently competitive are all doing the same things and putting in the same amount of work at home. The quality of the animals at the top end is pretty much the same. It's like lifting weights and practicing football all summer, you aren't doing anything everyone else isn't doing, you just do it to have a chance to compete because if you don't you'll have no chance.

You and I take an animal of similar quality into the ring, I fit mine and you use a pro, I have no chance, that's a fact. This is a beauty contest.  The biggest problem I have with "family members only" rules is that you'll always have a family that contains "professionals." Not fair AT ALL to those families just beginning or those who don't have skills at the professional level. I am all for the child doing everything there is to do up to his ability. I think it's great a kid can take pride in doing it himself, and there are a very few kids who can fit with anyone, not nearly as many as they think they can, but  a few. If you'd rather teach your kids that pride in doing it yourself is more important than winning, fairly of course,  that's your prerogative. I buy and sell houses. I'm a pretty good carpenter. But I get someone else to do the molding because they can do it better than I do. I could do it and when a buyer comes in they say, " That molding isn't perfect there or in this corner." I could say "Yeah, but I did it myself and I'm proud I did!" Then they would walk out and not buy the house. And I wouldn't "win." Nor would I eat. There are wonderful life lessons to be learned in livestock projects. But I think we should closely examine which ones we are teaching either intentionally or unintentionally.  I would much rather see a professional team working on a calf than I had mom with a pitch fork cleaning out the stall, or carrying water buckets.l
 
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