July 11, 2022 at 3:43 p.m.

Show preparations

By Grace [email protected] | Comments: 0 | Leave a comment

According to a young Stearns County native, the Stearns County Fair in Minnesota is at the end of this month. That means if you haven’t trained your calves yet, you better get to halter breaking.
This will be my first time visiting Minnesota’s largest dairy county’s exhibition. Also on the schedule for the Stearns County Fair is the District 8 Holstein Show. I am excited to see the caliber of cow quality flaunting through the show ring July 27.
I contemplated entering my two beef heifers in the open class division for the Stearns County Fair, but due to my busy schedule and lack of time at the farm, they have less than adequate hair and need some diet changes to dial them into proper condition. They should be ready for the McLeod County fair in mid-August for my brother to show.
Speaking from personal experience, here are a few things I consider before my calf’s showcase. Cattle should be exposed to at least one show ring before their destination show; either enter them in a different show or walk them in the ring before show day. This not only gets them accustomed to a new environment, but it gives the showman a chance to observe their heifer’s behavior in and out of the ring.
I may be preaching to the choir in this instance, but I would love to share my observations with our readers. I know I mentioned beef heifers, but other than the diet and way we show the two variations of bovine, they are very similar.
The best ways I have prepared a heifer for a show has been by starting early. My two heifers were started on the halter last September and have attended one show.  
Some other things to take into consideration are heat abatement, hair growth and standing time.
Let’s start with heat abatement. I cannot stress enough how important it is to keep fans moving the heat off their backs. There is nothing worse than standing in 90-degree sweltering heat with no air movement.
For hair care and growth, rinse your calves with cold water in the mornings and evenings. Always make sure to blow them completely dry. Water left on cattle’s skin will absorb their heat and hold it there having the opposite effect you desire.
Don’t wash them with soap but once or twice each week. Using cheap soap sparingly will strip the natural oils from their skin leaving it vulnerable to dandruff. I use Suave.
I’m sure you know someone who has gorgeous, long, luxurious hair. I will bet money they use conditioner. Products like Revive Lite and ProPolish are great to condition the hair and hide of cattle. In the show ring, appearance is 9/10 of the law. A judge is more likely to be drawn to a glistening, healthy looking heifer over a mangy, dusty looking one. A proper diet also helps with hide and hair.
Now, let’s talk bratty heifers. We’ve all dealt with at least one. Cattle stand in the chute for 20 minutes to up to an hour before they get to go in the ring, sometimes even more. Time the first few classes of the morning. I usually predict 3-5 minutes for a class of five animals. Try to time your fitting so your heifer isn’t standing too long before your class.
When you are preparing your heifers at home, tie their heads up for a while. I start with 30 minutes and increase to about 2 to 3 hours by the end of summer. They need to get comfortable with standing. I want my heifers to be comfortable getting shown for upward of 20 minutes because of how long showmanship is.
This isn’t the only way to prepare your cattle for shows. There are a lot of systems that work. I have tried many ways, and this is what I have found the most success with.
I wish good luck to all junior showmen this summer as county fairs across the Midwest start gearing up for their exhibitions. Don’t forget to have fun, make a new friend and eat lots of cheese curds.


You must login to comment.

Top Stories

Today's Edition



27 28 29 30 31 1 2
3 4 5 6 7 8 9
10 11 12 13 14 15 16
17 18 19 20 21 22 23
24 25 26 27 28 29 30

To Submit an Event Sign in first

Today's Events

sep 23, 2023 @ 9:00am