Today our family attended the 4H Showmanship Clinic at the WNC Ag Center.
Check in started around 8:15 am and the clinic began around 9am.
The show room is set up in a U shape. At the top of the U the animals are brought in from various holding stalls from another area. The children can walk the animals being shown around the U shaped ring. There are bleachers all around that also are in the shape of the U so everyone can see what is happening in the show ring.
The kids were really excited to see many of our homeschool friends who are also in 4H.
As more friends arrived, they were filled with excitement and anticipation about what was going to happen in the show ring.
The kids spent the morning learning from experienced 4H’ers the proper way to:
clean and groom the animal before the show (what type of soap, oils, vaseline, sprays, water temp, frequency to bath, paper towels, electric trimmers, feet trimmers, etc.), things to know about the animals such as breed, birthday, sex, standards, body parts, feed components and percentages of fat, fiber and protein, proper raising practices, vaccinations, how to handle the animal in the show ring (where to place their legs, how to hold their head, how to walk and lead them, or drive them, how to face the judge and keep the animal between you and the judge at all times), etc.
First the children learned about showing sheep.
They learned how to get the sheep up onto a grooming stand and what equipment is used to prepare the animal for the show.
Next they learned about showing dairy cows. This is a Brown Swiss dairy cow (but it is smokey grey not brown).
We used to raise Jersey dairy cows as well as beef cattle on our farm in Indiana. A Jersey looks very similar to this Brown Swiss breed except that the Jersey is brown and a little smaller.
Next the kids learned about showing turkeys and chickens. These turkeys are Bronze turkeys.
We used to raise Bronze, Royal Palm, and Bourbon turkeys on our farm in Indiana.
These turkeys still have a month of growing to do before they will be ready for the fair.
Three of our kids are showing turkeys at the upcoming fair, and this turkey demonstration seemed the most exciting to me. These young ladies doing the demonstration went through each item on the table that is needed to care for the birds.
I have been around livestock shows and seen cows and goats washed and dried and their feet shined, etc. But I never would have guessed you would put vaseline on birds legs to soften them, and baby oil on their beak and feet to make them shine. Or use a hair dryer on the birds to dry and lightly fluff their feathers before the show. I learned a lot of new information during this demonstration.
The girls giving the demonstration have been showing turkeys in the fair for 4 years and they worked very well with them.
They actually gave one of the birds a bath to show how to properly clean the bird and get it ready for the show.
They had three wash tubs set up. One was for use with a clear natural soap, and the other two tubs were for rinsing the soap off the bird.
Then they dried the bird off with a towel.
Next, they demonstrated how to carry the bird upside down holding its legs and to stand holding the bird for the judge. She would cross the birds legs and demonstrate how to turn the bird around too.
Finally, she showed the kids how to hold the bird while sitting down for the judge to observe the bird in this position.
The next animal to learn to show was the meat goat. This is a Boer goat, a breed well known for its meat production.
We used to raise Boer goats, Boer-Nubian crosses, as well as several pure bred dairy goat breeds on our farm in Indiana. We love goats. Our oldest son will be showing a goat, in addition to a turkey, in the NC Mountain State Fair in September.
This young man showed the kids several tools he uses to take care of his goats and prepare them for showing. After giving his goat a bath, instead of using a hair dryer, he uses this air blower, you can see on the left side of the table.
After discussing how to clean the goat, and things to know for the judges questions, he brought in some helpers and demonstrated walking some goats around the show ring.
Next into the show ring were the pigs.
The pigs are much more challenging to get them to do what you want in the ring. Instead of walking them with a collar, you drive them by touching the back of their front leg with a prodding stick. This makes them move forward and in the general direction you want them to go.
The final animal in the ring today was a beautiful beef cow. This is the Angus breed and she looked about a year and a half old.
This breed is another favorite of mine. We raised Angus cattle for meat production on our farm in Indiana and sold the meat in our country farm store.
Unfortunately, I had to step out about 1/2 way through the beef cow demonstration. This little guy is two years old, and he couldn’t sit still any longer. We had to go walk the stairs, bounce, jump, and move so he could get his energy out.
All of the young people who gave demonstrations at the showmanship clinic today did a great job and it was obvious that each of them knew their animals well. Toward the end of their presentation, each one asked questions of the audience to see what the kids remembered, and gave out gifts to kids who answered the questions correctly. My oldest son won a small bird waterer for answering one of the questions about caring for turkeys.
After the showmanship demonstrations, the WNC Ag Center fed us lunch of BBQ meats (turkey, pork, and beef), hot dogs, baked beans, coleslaw, dessert, and a variety of drinks.
Then they held a drawing and gave away several tee shirts, hoof shine spray, and other items for the kids holding the winning tickets.
After the drawing they also gave out a gift package to every 4H kid. The gave them a 5 gallon bucket, feed bowl, water bowl, a feed scoop, and a hat.
My three 4H’ers were so excited to get their buckets of animal care goodies.
Thanks to Tractor Supply, Farm Bural, and WNC Ag Center for sponsoring such a fun and informative learning experience for these kids.
If you would like to learn more about 4H and showmanship, here are some links where you can get more information:
WNC Ag Center
Example of Showmanship Contest
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