Showing Cows at the State Fair
The latest from guest blogger, Lacey Papageorge.
I was able to show my Jersey heifer, Baby, at the Utah State Fair on September 8th. The State Fair Dairy Show consists of two parts, a Junior Show and an Open Show. The Junior Show is for 9-18 year old kids involved with 4-H and FFA (Future Farmers of America). The Open show is for anyone who wants to show, so all the adults are able to show their cows too. I competed in the Jr. Show.
To start the show there are four showmanship classes set by age. I am in the Senior class with all other participants in 9th through 12th grade. Showmanship is the class when all eyes are on you. The judge doesn’t evaluate the animal to pick a winner, instead he watches the showmen to see who is showing their animal the best. To show well you have to know what you’re doing. You must hold up your heifer’s head, and be able to set her feet up quickly and correctly. This can be challenging because you are supposed to be watching the judge the whole time too. If there are multiple good showmen, the judge will have you trade animals for a few minutes to see if you can also handle other heifers in addition to your own. This happened at the state fair because all the best showmen in the state came out to win. Not only was I able to show my Jersey heifer who I call Baby because she is tiny, I was also able to show three other exhibitors’ heifers as well.
During this time the Judge will often ask questions to test the knowledge of the showmen. This can be intimidating since you never know what they will ask. When you answer a question correctly and the judge says, “Good answer!” that is a great feeling! After a heated battle that raged for a good half hour the judge picked his winner. I was presently surprised when I saw him point to me! I became even more excited when my little sister was selected for 2nd place right behind me.
It is always fun to show in a competitive showmanship class because I know there are other really good showmen. Once showmanship is over, the heifer show starts.
The heifers are in classes categorized by age. Baby and I were in one of the first classes because she is young. We had fun showing in our class where we won 1st place. Showing in class and in showmanship are the same. We walk around the ring in a clock wise circle and line up next to one another. Then the judge picks out his favorites starting with the winner. Since Baby and I won our class we were able to go back into the show ring for the selection of the Junior Champion Jersey. This was a very competitive class, and Baby was awarded the title of Reserve Champion Jersey Heifer of the Junior Show. In Cow Showing, there is a Junior Champion and a Senior Champion. The Junior Champion is selected out of all the first place heifers, and the Senior Champion is selected out of the first place cows. Cows are adults and have udders, so there would be no fair way to judge heifers and cows together.
I was very pleased with the great day I had had. I graduated from high school this spring therefore I will soon age out of 4-H and being able to show as a junior exhibitor. This was my last time to participate in a 4-H Dairy Show, so I was very happy to go out with a bang. I plan to join all the adults in showing in the open shows next year. I don’t want to ever stop showing and working with my Dairy Cows it is my passion. I am so lucky to have the opportunity to do it!