Here's Why Showmanship is Still the Most Important Competition
Many junior shows require it. Many juniors hate it, while others live for it. I was the latter. Truth be told, if I could still compete in showmanship, I would. Because I never had the animals that has the “it factor”, I always found showmanship to be the place where I could still place high even if my animals didn’t. Showmanship to me is the place where people like me can thrive. I consider myself highly competitive and success driven, and I was able to channel that in showmanship.
5. Showmanship is the place for exhibitors to understand how to get the best out of their animal.
It requires individuals to understand their animals best and worst traits and try to accentuate or hide those traits. For example, if a heifer likes to get up in her top, it’s important to “loin” her so that she looks more relaxed on the profile. Being able to show that you understand what you like and don’t like about your animal shows the judge that you know your animal.
TIP: I’ve been able to judge a few small county shows and I always ask what kids do and don’t like about their animal. ALWAYS say something phenotypically such as they are heavy muscled or that they are too shallow in their rear flank. It’s cool that you like that they come up to you, but that isn’t really important at a show.
4. Showmanship encourages younger youth to look up to older exhibitors to see what the “good ones” do and don’t do when they are showing.
It also reminds those older exhibitors that someone is always looking to see and even copy what they do. Here’s another tip: go watch the classes before you so you’ll know how the judge works the ring and what they are looking for.
3. Showmanship doesn’t end in the showmanship class.
It’s always important to show like you’re in showmanship when it’s your animal getting placed as well. I think this is one of the more important factors of showmanship. If your showmanship is poor, that can have a major effect on how your animal places. Having that head a notch higher or front leg a notch more forward can greatly affect how your animal looks and places.
2. Showmanship is where all the hard work you put in at the barn is shown off.
All of those late evenings walking your heifer “into it” and getting that perfect brace will really show. I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve had the contrary animal or two and that has sometimes cost me, but man, when you’re really in tune with your animal in showmanship, it’s amazing.
1. Above all, showmanship helps exhibitors become good sportsman.
You’ve got to be kind and courteous to the other showman in the ring. It’s important to give them enough room to get their animal set up and even with that, you’re still giving yourself enough room. In showmanship, the champion exhibitor should be a humble winner, and those who either don’t get called back or place where they’d like to need to be a gracious “loser.”
Showmanship will always be one of my favorite competitions to be in as well as judge. When judging, I love when an exhibitor comes in and is excited about being there and excited about their animal. It’s still important outside of the show-ring because it teaches you about livestock, being a good and kind showman, and lets exhibitors learn the value of hard work.