Stock Show Season: Tips to Showmanship and Beyond

Show season is closer than ever and many new showmen are joining FFA. During the past year, Canton ag program has grown immensely with many new eighth graders joining FFA and wanting to show animals. Many eighth graders have already shown animals in the past with our 4H program however. Regardless if they have had six plus years of experience or just one, all showmen make mistakes. Some are small mistakes while others are big and can cost a higher placing.

Being the hold up
It’s super important to make classes on time. At big important shows, if you are late to a class, you might not get a chance to get in the ring and show your animal. Most people also have very high strung animals and having to be in the ring longer because you are late, may make the animal even more nervous.

Not using the whole ring
You have the whole ring people, use it. It makes it so much easier to start over and it’s a good way to earn points in showmanship. Using the whole ring has a lot of advantages. It sometimes makes livestock calmer which makes it easier to set them up. Also, your animal walks better if it has more room.

Not helping showman in front of you
There is no reason for you to be that mean, help the person in front of you. He would do it for you too. Plus to not help the person in front of you means the class is slower and your animal is in the ring longer. To make the animal in front of you go, gently push its tail.
Chewing gum
Why would you even chew gum while your show ring? It just looks weird. It looks like a cow chewing its cud, and that’s not attractive. Sorry not sorry. If a judge notices someone chewing gum, they usually place them lower simply because he looks unprofessional.

Having no blow drying control
Just to let new showmen know, you blow the hair up, please. Think about the other people around you, they have animals too. They are not going to like it when they have to blow out the cedar chips that you blew onto their animal. Same with hair in goat and sheep barns. You are not going to be anyone’s favorite if you are using the blow dryer like an untrained fireman would use his hose.

Not knowing important dates or other information
Come on, know your dates such as date of birth or date bred. It’s not that hard if you are actually dedicated to showing your livestock. If you don’t know how much food you feed, why are you even at the show? If you don’t feed your own animal that’s kind of sad. I get if you can’t always do it, but why would you not be able to know what you feed your livestock.

Not working with animals before a show
This just proves that the parents do most of the work, and that’s not what the judge finds outstanding. Having an animal that doesn’t like the exhibitor is an absolute disaster, especially during a cattle show. Many exhibitors are smaller and don’t have as much strength as the older kids and easily lose their animal and all heck breaks loose.

Paying more attention to the judge rather than paying attention to the animal
Yes, looking at the judge is something to do, but you don’t have to burn a hole through the judge. A reminder as you are holding or driving an animal, they need attention too. Cattle shows are good examples. The feet are going to move if you don’t pay attention to the animal you are holding. Pigs are the same way. If you don’t pay attention, you might run into another showmen or your pig may get in a fight.

Getting tense and making the animals more tense
Just relax while you are showing. It’s your and your animals time to shine. Don’t worry about your surroundings, just show to your fullest potential. The animal can sense your fear and will get uneasy itself. An uneasy animal is really hard to show, so it’s never a good combination. Just be confident and have trust in yourself and your animal.

Forgetting to have fun
This has always been my favorite rule. Never forget to have fun. Everybody makes mistakes, it’s okay. Yes people may make fun of you and hold it over your head, but it’s not the end of the world. There are always more shows and more time to improve.