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The meaning of showmanship should be to show how well you and your animal work together, and your ability to present the animal. To be the utmost prepared you possibly can, practice as much as possible at home. I recommend that you practice outside of the animal’s territory (not in barn, pasture, or near other animals). If you put all of the effort at home, you’ll hardly have to put any effort in while at the show. While practicing, get your steer/heifer used to someone walking up to them and around them.

How do you look?


  • Wear a hat, or have “hat hair” or “bed head”
  • Wear a t-shirt, fitting pants, or hoodies
  • Wear tennis shoes or flip flops
  • Come in with manure-balls on cattle
  • Come in with a wet animal
  • Show up late to your class


  • Shower, brush your teeth, do your hair!
  • Wear a Button-down or Polo Shirt
  • Wear nice CLEAN jeans, boots, and a belt
  • Tuck Your Shirt in
  • Wash and DRY your Steer/Heifer
  • Be early to your class

In the Ring:

  • Walk into the Ring and make IMMEDIATE eye contact with the judge with a confident/happy/content look on your face
  • Pull into place by backing into position slowly, stopping animal with front feet in position
  • Using show stick, calmly move back feet into position with appropriate width, length, and stagger (This should be determined while practicing at home)
  • Scratch calf slowly and calmly, keeping eye contact with the judge, yet keeping feet of animal in proper position
  • When asked to move back to the rail, back up and begin setting up again until it is your turn to walk
  • Learn the appropriate pattern to walk in the ring, you’ll always keep your steer/heifer between you and the judge, using as much of the arena as possible
  • When walking, move at a calm but steady speed, watching the judge, the animals in front of you, and your animal
  • Pull into head-to-tail position again by backing in with enough room between each for the judge to walk

At some point in the show, the judge will ask you questions. Things you should know are:

—     Sire and Dam

—     Birth date

—     Weight

—     Parts of the animal

—     General Cattle Info

—     Feeding and Nutrition

—     Breeding Stats

—     Good vs. Bad Physical Attributes of your animal

—     Current Industry Issues

—     Showing the flaws out of your animal

Whether you see the judge handle your animal or not, always comb the animal when the judge walks away, put the comb back in your pocket, teeth pointing in.

When the judge points to you, or pulls you into placing, it is polite to acknowledge what the judge said, then pull into place.

Once placed, DO NOT give up. Often classes are re-placed or switched around.

Correct Feet Placement:

  • Front feet should be placed directly below shoulder, together or slightly staggered
  • Back feet should be staggered, judge side directly below tailhead, showman side pulled up about 6 inches
  • Correct width of back feet for a feeder calf is about 6 inches (a dollar bill), but should look natural for the calf’s base width and overall size and mass
  • Top line should be as level as possible from top to rump to start of crest. If a steer/heifer needs loined frequently, practice this at home to determine correct spot on their top.

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