Critical Cattle Showmanship Points | Tips from Stock Show University®

You have worked with your animal for months, and now the time has come to exhibit your animal. It is essential that you work with your animal prior to entering the show ring at home to ensure your animal is comfortable with the show halter, show stick, and most importantly—you. Here are some valuable tips and tricks for you to remember when entering the ring during the show or the showmanship class you are competing in:


– Make sure you have all your show ring essentials with you to show your animal. These essentials include a show halter, a show stick, a plastic comb for your back pocket, and an exhibitor harness for your exhibitor number. Collecting these items before show day can ensure that your show halter fits your calf properly and that you are comfortable with your show stick.


– Even though you are showing off your animal, it is very important that you are dressed in clean, professional attire. The shirt that you choose to wear in the show ring shouldn’t be distracting and take anything away from your animal. Most recommend a fitted, button-up shirt, as some shows might give you a shirt to wear while showing. The jeans you select should be a darker wash with no distress to them—pairing them with a belt. Wearing cowboy boots in the ring is recommended as they will add to your professional look but also keep your feet safe in the ring. Individuals with longer hair, make sure your hair is out of your face, so you are not distracted by your own hair in the show ring. 


– You might be nervous before you enter the show ring, and that is perfectly okay. First impressions are key when exhibiting your animal, so remaining calm and collected will help you stay focused and confident in the show ring. If you are calm, your animal will typically remain calm within the ring as well. If you start to get worked up, your animal might also get worked up—leading to your animal not being shown off to its best ability. If you aren’t showing in the first class of the day, go up to the show ring and watch the show ring pattern that day.


– Before you enter the show ring, think and review information about your animal. Judges typically ask questions while you are in the show ring to help them evaluate the class. Questions that a judge might typically ask include the date of birth of your animal, weight of your animal, sire of your animal, etc. During a showmanship class, some judges might ask about your feeding program or what you might change about your animal from a conformation standpoint.


– Keeping your eyes on the judge(s) while you are in the ring is essential. This allows you to be aware of what is happening in the ring. Being aware of your surroundings while you are in the show ring is a critical component of being an excellent showman.


– If the judge touches your animal while in the ring, be sure to use the plastic comb that you brought into the ring with you to comb up your animal if you are able to. You may do this once the judge moves on to another animal within the class.


– Allow yourself plenty of space in the ring for you and your animal. By doing this, you are providing the judge with the ability to evaluate your animal more clearly without distractions from other animals and exhibitors. Allowing yourself plenty of space and staying calm in the show ring is so critical when exhibiting livestock.


– Regardless of how the class is placed, don’t stop showing up until you exit the show ring. Even after the judge has placed the class and has pulled you in, it is still important to show your animal off to the best ability the whole time you are in the ring.


For more tips and video tutorials, visit

The pulse archive