Putting in the Work

FFA Showmen Preparing for Show Season


Kaylee Hobbs, Writer

FFA showers have been working hard this summer preparing their animals, and preparing themselves for show season. A lot of time goes into getting the animals to the point of being presentable in the show ring. There are multiple kinds of animals that can be shown such as goats, lambs, hogs, cattle, and  rabbits. However, the preparation for each animal is quite different.

The steps to getting a goat and a lamb prepared to show season are pretty similar, and the students who show those animals have been hard at work over the summer. It all started with making sure they had a secure pen for the animals. When the goats and lambs get to the animal science building the showers get to come and pick out which goat or lamb they want after about a week of the animals being there. Then the fun part begins, which is trying to get the animals used to you. The showers have learned that for the size of goats and lambs they can be pretty crazy, and put up a fight. Those animals do not have a problem with bouncing off the walls, and trying to run straight through you. After the showers start to make a bond with their animal, teaching them how to lead begins. It can be pretty eventful! At first the animals will jump and do flips because they have no idea what you are wanting them to do. Once they get the hang of leading the showers will walk them long distances to get them in shape. Teaching the animals how to brace begins after leading. Bracing is a major part of showing a goat and lamb. As Mr. Wiedower says “No brace, No place.” Which means if you do not get a good brace in the ring, then the chances of you placing are very slim. Having long, thick leg hair also plays a big part in showing. The animals legs have to be washed with conditioner at least every other day if not more. It all becomes a daily routine.

The hog showers started off spending time in the pen with their hog or hogs after they received them. Once the hogs are used to them it is time to start “pushing the little buddy out of the nest and teaching them to fly,” said Lathan Newland. Which means letting them out of the pen and tapping them with show stick to try to teach them which way to turn when walking.. If the hog does not know how to turn come show time then you are in trouble. When it gets a little closer to show time the showers will start bathing their hog. They have been working hard all summer, and they will continue the hard!

Cattle showers actually start at the end of November, which is around 10 months before the beginning of show season. You have to work with cattle to get them to the point of where they are comfortable with being handled. They rinse every day, blow the hair out, and brush it upwards every day. The cattle hair process is like the lamb and goat leg conditioning process, but they have 10 times the hair.  The cattle get walked everyday to get them in shape and build muscle. Showing cattle is also very time consuming when it comes to feeding and watering, because they eat and drink so much. You also have to teach them the show stance, and get them used to the show stick. Showing cattle is a lot of work just like showing any of the other animals.

To prepare rabbits for show the owners start supplementing the feed around 30 days before show, too far in advance can cause the rabbit to add extra weight. They start grooming the rabbits every few days, by running a wet hand across their body to remove dead hair.  If the rabbits have any stains when it comes show time they clean the rabbits fur. Along with coat and physical condition the rabbits have to be prepared to show, if they are not worked prior to show the rabbits may not behave when being handled by the judges.

To sum it all up every single one of the showmen have worked very hard preparing their animals over the summer for the upcoming shows. As you can see it is very time consuming and is a lot of hard work, but you just have to be very devoted to it. The Ag teachers have also put in a lot of time into helping all of the animal showers. If you ever want to show an animal just know you are signing up for a lot of responsibility and hard work. Each showman has been very committed to the whole process. It all pays off in the end.

Weston Newland


Lathan Newland

Finley and Lathan Newland

Emily Kirk and Aly Bramlett