Live Animal Showmanship

Important Alert!

This page contains outdated information, rules, and guidelines. We are working on updating the entire Fairbook for 2018. Please check back later for the most current information.


  1. General Rules - All 4-H livestock exhibitors must show their own animals to be considered as participants in the Showmanship Contest. Showman will be allowed to compete in a division each year based on their age or until they win that particular age group. Winners must advance to the next age group. Winners of the Senior division will be ineligible in future showmanship contests in that particular species at the Nebraska State Fair 4-H Division but may continue in other species. Ownership is determined by State Fair entry and appropriate ownership/ID affidavits from the Extension Office.
  2. Showmanship Candidates - In Beef, Dairy, Goats, Rabbits, Poultry, Sheep, and Swine, all exhibitors are eligible to show in showmanship class but must show their own animal. Exhibitors in showmanship must participate in the regular show for their species. All exhibitors are automatically entered in showmanship with the exception of the Dairy & Dog areas.
  3. Age Division – Showmanship classes will be divided into two age divisions; Intermediate (10 – 13 years old before January 1 of the current year) and Senior (14 – 18 years old before January 1 of the current year). Age divisions for all classes will be determined by their 4-H age, the age of the youth before January 1 of the current year.
  4. Assigned Classes - In species where showmanship classes are assigned and posted prior to the show, exhibitors must show in the class assigned, or receive prior permission from the species superintendent, or they will be disqualified. 
  5. Basis for Judging - Showmanship judging is based on preparation of animals for show, their apparent training and the appearance and behavior of the showman. Minor technical points are not to be over-emphasized, nor do minor infractions disqualify. Primarily in showmanship it is the skill of the showman in presenting the animal before the judge that counts, while individual excellence of the animal does not. 
  6. Exhibitor Dress Code - Livestock/ Animal General Rules. 
  7. Questions for Finalists - Each showmanship judge may give oral or written tests in the finals. 
  8. Showman Decides Which Animal - When showmanship candidates are selected for the finals and are exhibiting more than one animal at the show; they may have the option of showing the animal of their choice in the finals. 
  9. Livestock Grooming Rule - Livestock/Animal General Rules. 
  10. Exhibitor Numbers - To allow for easy and rapid identification, all exhibitor numbers shall be pinned on the back of the exhibitor in the area of the shoulder blades. 
  11. Disqualification - The division superintendents may disqualify any 4-H'er from showmanship for any violation of rules or unsportsmanlike conduct at the Nebraska State Fair.
  12. Awards - The top 3 individuals in beef, sheep, swine, dog, meat goat, poultry, and rabbits will receive Gold (1st), Silver (2nd), and Bronze (3rd) medals in each division; Intermediate and Senior.
  13. Beef Showmanship will be Blow and Go; animals may be clipped, blown and brushed or combed to enhance their appearance.

    Guidelines for the Beef Blow and Go Show:

    1. Beef animals will be shown free of any adhesive, glue, paint, or powder products.
    2. Any compounds that have adhesive qualities that when applied cannot be combed or brushed through or alter the color of the animal are forbidden. These products include, but are not limited to commonly used adhesives and colorants such as Prime Time, EZ Comb, Tail Adhesive, Ultra White Touch Up, Black Touch Up, Black Finisher and black show foam.
    3. Alcohol, water, oil, foam or any water- or alcohol-based products with no adhesive or glue qualities, or artificial colorings are permitted. These products include conditioners and commonly used sprays such as Kleen Sheen, Revive, Final Bloom and white show foam. Paint will be allowed on the hooves and dewclaws only.
    4. 4-H/FFA beef blocking chutes, which will require a permit, will be limited and there will be a designated area for these blocking chutes.



  • Class G010010 - Intermediate Beef Showmanship - Ages 10-13
  • Class G010011 - Senior Beef Showmanship -  Ages 14-18


  • Class G030010 - Intermediate Sheep Showmanship - Ages 10-13
  • Class G030011 - Senior Sheep Showmanship - Ages 14-18


  • Class G035008 - Intermediate Swine Showmanship - Ages 10-13
  • Class G035009 - Senior Swine Showmanship - Ages 14-18

Meat Goat 

  • Class G058008 - Intermediate Meat Goat Showmanship - Ages 10-13
  • Class G058009 Senior Meat Goat Showmanship - Ages 14-18


  • Class G700020 - Intermediate Dog Showmanship - Ages 10-13
  • Class G700030 - Senior Dog Showmanship - Ages 14-18


  • Class G080071 - Intermediate Rabbit Showmanship - 1Ages 10-13
  • Class G080072 - Senior Rabbit Showmanship - Ages 14-18


  • Class G070022 - Intermediate Poultry Showmanship - Ages 10-13
  • G070023 Senior Poultry Showmanship - Ages 14-18


  • Class 001, 002, 003 Dairy Showmanship - See Dairy section for information regarding Dairy Showmanship Information relative to the basis for judging dairy showmanship is found in 4H466 “Uniform Scorecard for Judging Junior Dairy Fitting and Showmanship Contest”. Information on livestock showmanship contests is found in 4-H 357, "Guide for Evaluating Livestock Showmanship Contests," available from UNL Extension.