It is great to see new people interested in beef cattle. This weekend I had the privilege of helping with a beginners clinic for beef cattle showmen. There were all ages there from an 8 year old to an 18 year old and then all of the parents of the novice showmen. We covered a wide variety of basic tasks to take care of beef cattle and get them ready for a show.
First we told them about the equipment used in the “show cattle world.” We had a variety of name brand sprays and then the alternative “Walmart” options, great for somebody who is starting off. Then we worked on tying halters. It is essential to know how to tie a quick release not when working with something as large as a steer or heifer. This took a little while to let everybody get the hang of it but they left without their calves halters being in uncontrollable knots.
After the basics on what you need we proceeded into a showmanship clinic. I was one of the test dummies and demonstrated what to do and what not to do. The showmen were able to ask questions and critique us on our showring techniques.
After lunch it was their turn. We broke them up into two groups, the showmanship group, and the wash/brush group. They all grabbed a calf and went to work. The wash group took their calf to the wash rack and learned “proper wash rack etiquette” aka not giving your neighbor a shower. They also learned about rinsing without soap to keep oil in the hair, and when they did wash, what kind of soap to use.
They then were brought inside to me, where I helped them work the calves hair. We went through the different tools such as brushes and combs and which direction to get the hair worked. Then they used the blowers to blow dry it. This was slightly entertaining especially when I tried to get them to hold the blower hose in their left hand when blowing out the right side of the calf.
In the showmanship side they got to put what they had seen earlier to work, learning that it’s slightly harder when you are on the end of the rope. They learned about feet placement, how to move in the ring and how to be as smooth as possible.
That night we had speakers about hard work and dedication and also show ethics and being a great beef producer!!!! Wonder who taught that one??? They learned how to give their elevator speeches and also how to talk to consumers.
The next morning there was a practice show. Everyone did what they learned the day before in groups of five. The rest of the showmen sat in the stands and gave tips and critiques to the showmen. There was huge improvement not only in the kids but also in the calves after the weekend. And two of our heifers finished getting halter broke by the end of the day!
This was a great experience and I am so excited to see them showing in the spring and fall!