showmanship contests

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rmbcows

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I got such great responses with the fitting thread that I thought I'd give this subject a try.  Just want to find out everybody's opinion on asking questions in showmanship classes.  It's sorta my pet peeve that kids have to be prepared for a quiz bowl to compete in showmanship.  I'm not condoning ignorance of their projects, but I think asking the off the wall questions some do, is silly, and to every single kid in the class, no matter how bad their showmanship is.  Sometimes I think the kids spend more time preparing for the questions,  than honing their showmanship skills, and the judges are more concerned with the answers than the showing skills.  Showmanship can make or break you and I'm afraid it's just not stressed enough,  I say it's time to leave the quiz bowls questions to the quiz bowls and get back to real showmanship.

 

renegade

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I really do like our showmanship classes. Very tough competition and the questions pertain to your animal, project, future and you had better be able to rattle off the answers because the arent hard and you should already know them
 

Showmom

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When are your showmanship contests held at your local fair or show? 
At our county fair, the showmanship is after all the champion heifers and steers are picked, so last.  It is really hard for kids who show several animals to go into the ring one more time when it is well over a 100 degrees.  You don't just get to bring in your best animal for showmanship, the judge has watched  you show every steer or heifer.  In a way, that can even the field a little, too.  We always seem to have one  animal who just don't want to cooperate they are supposed in the ring on show day. 
At the state fair, the showmanship is a separate day from either the steer or heifer shows.  At another show we have gone to, the kids are chosen to come back for showmanship at the end of the show.
 

renegade

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I ours is showmanship then market and we always have a meeting with the judge for questions and their likes/dislikes.
 

TJ

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rmbcows said:
I got such great responses with the fitting thread that I thought I'd give this subject a try.  Just want to find out everybody's opinion on asking questions in showmanship classes.  It's sorta my pet peeve that kids have to be prepared for a quiz bowl to compete in showmanship.  I'm not condoning ignorance of their projects, but I think asking the off the wall questions some do, is silly, and to every single kid in the class, no matter how bad their showmanship is.  Sometimes I think the kids spend more time preparing for the questions,  than honing their showmanship skills, and the judges are more concerned with the answers than the showing skills.  Showmanship can make or break you and I'm afraid it's just not stressed enough,  I say it's time to leave the quiz bowls questions to the quiz bowls and get back to real showmanship.

I personally think that judges should mostly stick to asking questions about the kids project.  I'm am like you, quiz bowl questions are OK for a quiz bowl, but not the best for showmanship. 
 

DLD

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sw Oklahoma
TJ said:
rmbcows said:
I got such great responses with the fitting thread that I thought I'd give this subject a try.  Just want to find out everybody's opinion on asking questions in showmanship classes.  It's sorta my pet peeve that kids have to be prepared for a quiz bowl to compete in showmanship.  I'm not condoning ignorance of their projects, but I think asking the off the wall questions some do, is silly, and to every single kid in the class, no matter how bad their showmanship is.  Sometimes I think the kids spend more time preparing for the questions,  than honing their showmanship skills, and the judges are more concerned with the answers than the showing skills.  Showmanship can make or break you and I'm afraid it's just not stressed enough,  I say it's time to leave the quiz bowls questions to the quiz bowls and get back to real showmanship.

I personally think that judges should mostly stick to asking questions about the kids project.   I'm am like you, quiz bowl questions are OK for a quiz bowl, but not the best for showmanship. 

That's my pet peeve as well. Showmanship is about who gets their animal presented best, not about being able to rattle off random facts and figures that few adults in the industry could answer. Kids need to know the breed, age and weight of their animal, be able to tell if their heifer is bred and if so when she's due,have some idea of whether their steer is finished or when he will be, and they need to be able to describe their feeding program (what kind of feed, how much, how often). That's more than enough for most kids at the end of what was for most a long, hard day, and anything much beyond that belongs in a quiz bowl anyway. Usually the best showmen can answer the questions anyway, but not all the ones that can answer the questions well are really good showmen. In the end, when I'm judging showmanship, I pick who I'd want showing my best cattle for me in a big show where the judges couldn't care less about what percentage of the cattle slaughtered in the U.S. last year went to McDonalds or where you need to send your breeds registration papers in to (yes, questions I've heard being asked), but they do care about seeing the cattle presented to them at their full potential.
 

rmbcows

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All good stuff for the kids to know, but I'd even like to see it limited to specific questions a judge might ask them in their actual show classes.  For example if the kids is leading a steer the kids should know how much he weighs, that's information a judge might ask while judging a class.  I doubt he's going to ask about his feeding program or whether the steer is finished or not.  If they're leading a heifer, they should know her birth date and if she's bred, I doubt many judges would need much more information to judge a heifer class.  In the good old days the kids got put through their paces by walking around the ring, being placed, being moved to another placing, more walking and more placing.  The judge might place the kid he thought was doing the best job showing at the bottom of the class to see if they'd give up and quit showing, or, if they were truly blue ribbon material and kept right on sticking that calf like he was the best in the ring.  They were judged on moving the calves properly, keeping the calf where the judge could see it at all times, having them set up correctly, keeping your cool even when your calf was less than cooperative and being courteous and helpful to your fellow showpersons.  I've seen judges have a few of the kids switch and show each others calves to help him make up his mind in a close class.
 

DLD

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Really, I feel like most of these are things that the exhibitors should know about their project (except for the youngest ones perhaps) and can be pertinent in class placings, other than the feeding questions and possibly a heifers weight. Rather than finished on the steers, I should have said projected end point - if I'm judging a prospect show in August (here in OK) I'm expecting the calves to be for Oklahoma City in March, and the 1000 # 'ers are probably going to be too big, but if they're going to Phoenix or Denver they might be just right. Breeding status on heifers can account for differences in how they look, and older heifers need to be bred - if they're not, it's a big strike against them. So to me those are simply questions an exhibitor should know about their project anyway, but they still are a small part of what matters in showmanship.
 

Ruchian

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Oregon
rmbcows said:
In the good old days the kids got put through their paces by walking around the ring, being placed, being moved to another placing, more walking and more placing.  The judge might place the kid he thought was doing the best job showing at the bottom of the class to see if they'd give up and quit showing, or, if they were truly blue ribbon material and kept right on sticking that calf like he was the best in the ring.  They were judged on moving the calves properly, keeping the calf where the judge could see it at all times, having them set up correctly, keeping your cool even when your calf was less than cooperative and being courteous and helpful to your fellow showpersons.  I've seen judges have a few of the kids switch and show each others calves to help him make up his mind in a close class.

That is how my shows are.  Our judges don't ask questions often and when they do it is stuff like, how much does your animal weigh, how old is it, or where something is on the animal (ex: loin, hock, etc).
 

renegade

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I love a tough competition. I like the 4-h and ffa competitions because there is a lot of tough competition, everyone actually wants to do it, the judge actually cares and knows about showmanship, etc. I have been to a few of the smaller breed shows around here and showmanship is pretty much a joke becuase its a breeding show, judge doesnt really care about showman ship and usually places kids he knows first. But at the fair and other club sanctioned shows you switch animals, get put through your paces...have to earn your spot and i looooove it. I thrive off of a real competition, its so fun. Winning makes it a little better but last place is just as good because if the judge is good the will give you a little feedback face to face and then will go down the line on the mic and tell the audiance his reasons and you can strive to do what got those people top placings
 

SKF

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My daughter loves showmanship and enjoys being asked questions.  I know I have never seen a judge pick a kid just based on their answers to the questions. The kids I see win know how to present themselves and their animals in the show ring. If you have put a lot into yopur project your going to be able to answer the questions.
 

renegade

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Thank You Jill.

The first year i was showing a girl in my ffa chapter had moved from texas and was showing a hereford. The judge was teasing her and as why she was showing a hereford. She said, " As a matter of fact SIR im from texas". Over the microphone the judge said he moved her to second for calling her sir... a little ridiculous but it was his class.
 

minimoo38

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Courtney Hughes- Bagley, Iowa
at our county fair this year we had to switch our calves for the showmanship class, but i thought that it was awesome.

i got a heifer that could've doubled as a ski slope. :eek: with just a little stick work on her belly, the difference was night and day.

but the funniest thing was that my heifer wouldn't lead for the boy that got her ;D. all throughout the summer i have been showing her at the junior shows, so she is beyond tame ;). but we have that bond with eachother, that as soon as she couldn't see me, she stopped dead in the middle of the ring ;D !!! (i spoil her too much. oh well!!)

well, at our fair, some, better yet, almost ALL of the other kids are lucky if their calves are broke to lead 2 weeks before the fair. (i know, i know. ::) ) some of these people need to wake up and put forth some effort.
 

renegade

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And i thought it was just my fair... ;D Just Kidding!!! Some of those kids drive me nuts, put a little work into it so you arent endagering everyone else. In my showmanship class last year it was three steers, three heifers and my bull; the heifer by me WOULD NOT stand still and kept bumping me and my bull as was in heat (he was the perfect gentleman and it was his first show) and there was a white heifer that was riding the one in front of her while we were walking around the ring.  ::) its crazy out there and it really stands out to a judge when you have one of the two animals in the class that walks, stands, sets up, behaves...you get me point.
 

itk

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The few times I have judged showmanship the first thing I ask is what the animals name is. If the animal doesn't have a name no matter how good the showman I won't use them to win. If someone can't take the time to name a animal I doubt they have invested much time doing anything else with it.
 

AAOK

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Showmanship is WON and LOST at home.  From a Judges vantage point, it's easy to tell what showmanship work has gone on at home.  A calf which is impecably groomed, always walks at the same gait, and sets into place without the use of a show stick is awfully hard to beat.  Showmanship most of the time should go just about as the show, as far as I'm concerned.  Switching calves that are equally groomed, and behaved can help break a tie.  I know a lot of people will scream that most of the homework is done by the parents or the fitter.  It's usually not too dificult to identify those either; normally with a Feed Question.  If the exhibitor knows how much feed is consumed a certain number of times a day, there's a good chance they are filling and emptying the bucket.  To me, this is a must ask question for a Steer exhibitor.  For heifers, a feed question, and bred/open are good.  That's about as far as the questions need to go. 

What I don't like to see is a Judge who will award Showmanship honors to a 2nd or 3rd simply because the Best Showman has already won the show. 


 
 

fluffer

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itk said:
The few times I have judged showmanship the first thing I ask is what the animals name is. If the animal doesn't have a name no matter how good the showman I won't use them to win. If someone can't take the time to name a animal I doubt they have invested much time doing anything else with it.
I see what your saying, but I disagree with that.  When I judge showmanships I usually start with that question in the younger groups just to ease into the question process.  But the better the showman the harder the questions.  I also tend to stay away from "hair"questions and stick with beef industry or physiology type questions.  My husband was judging a Limi deal one time and asked what was that breeds primary niche marketing for their beef.  Not 1- even the senior group- knew Laura's Lean Beef.  I think it is very important that kids understand the industry as a whole, I don't really care if they have a name for their calf or not.  My nephews calves both have names but I don't think we EVER talk about them by name.  Just my opinion though ;D
Fluffer
 

rmbcows

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Great comments everyone.  I was a little suprised by itk's "no name no fame" concept.  When my kids first started showing we named all the calves, but by the time number 3 was about done,  there were several that went nameless.  Usually we got to know the calves before we named them, the steer that always jumped forward when you tugged on his rope got named Frog, etc.. then there were a few that we just flat out couldn't think of a repeatable name for.  By the end of the run it was getting down to "the may heifer" or "the little steer",  guess I'd hate to think my kid couldn't win a showmanship contest because their calf wasn't named! 
 

shorthorns r us

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itk said:
The few times I have judged showmanship the first thing I ask is what the animals name is. If the animal doesn't have a name no matter how good the showman I won't use them to win. If someone can't take the time to name a animal I doubt they have invested much time doing anything else with it.

what if you use tag numbers?  ranch/farm kids know livestock by their number.  i never got sent to a pasture to treat fifi's calf snowball.  it was always, "382 has an ear down."  admittedly i never showed breeding animals; but, i don't recall ever showing a steer, lamb or pig that had a "name" and i won alot of showmanship contest.
 
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