Showmanship Dairy Workshop Demonstrates Proper Techniques, Tricks of the Trade

7/20/2013 7:00 AM

Suzan Eaves Thompson

Co-chair, Frederick County <\n>4-H Dairy Advisory Committee

In an effort to teach the proper techniques of showmanship, the Frederick County 4-H Dairy Advisory Committee held a “Show Like A Pro V” dairy workshop for 39 4-H members.

The workshop was held June 8-9 and invited members from Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Virginia, along with their show animals and parents, to the barns and show ring of the Great Frederick Fair, Frederick, Md. The workshop was designed to cover skills and knowledge needed to optimally care for, prepare and present a dairy animal.

The event followed the same requirements and pace of a dairy show with lectures, demonstrations and games throughout. On the first day, animals and their papers were inspected for proper ID and health before being allowed to unload. They were then hustled to the wash rack where workshop personnel checked to ensure that each participant knew how to safely tie their animal. Proper washing techniques were discussed, demonstrated and then performed, with the animals being checked for cleanliness afterward. The attendees were taught how to make a bedded pack and keep the animal clean for the duration of the show.

Dr. Brooke Hoffman Ridinger gave a lecture titled “Animal Health and Biosecurity,” which focused on procedures that happen before and during the fair. Michelle Parmiter discussed “Feeding A Show Heifer,” where participants were taught about nutritive needs and comparative feeds.

A lecture about the contents of the show box and other needed items for the care of the animal was presented. As part of the discussion, an interactive game was played where each participant was handed an item and they had to decide what it was used for.

The participants were eventually split into two groups based on their past experience. One group worked in the ring that focused on basic show ring protocol and practice led by Cindy Rhoderick, while the more-experienced group clipped their animals. Afterward, the participants learned about exhibitor responsibilities, safety and providing a positive image of the dairy industry.

On the second day, the professional fitters arrived and worked with two groups. One group received a talk and demo about body clipping, then clipped their own animal with the fitters giving suggestions. The more-experienced group was given a talk and demo about advanced clipping techniques including toplines and blending belly and shoulder hair to improve the appearance. Fitters who gave of their time and talents were Darrin Sentelle, Curtis Rhoderick, Jason Zimmerman, Ashley Martin, Greg Burdette, Josh Sanders and Jon Sanders.

Afterward, Justin and Claire Burdette of Windy-Knoll-View Farm, Mercersburg, Pa., were introduced. The Burdettes have produced and exhibited a number of highly acclaimed All-American dairy cattle. Justin Burdette will also be a judge for the Holstein show at the World Dairy Expo in Madison, Wis., this fall. The Burdette’s worked with the participants by first bringing out several animals and demonstrating the techniques that would make the animal look it’s best by minimizing conformational challenges. The participants were divided into four groups and taken into the ring for the Burdette’s to observe and make suggestions for improvement.

The final event of the workshop was the fifth annual Workshop Showmanship and Fitting Competitions.

There were two divisions of the showmanship contest: novice and experienced. Showmanship was solely judged on the ability of the exhibitor to move and display the animal in the ring as they had been taught. The novice division consisted of three classes of five participants each. Novice class winners were Madilyn Gooding, Maryland; Cassandra Blickley, Maryland; and Bradley Richman, New Jersey. Showmanship novice overall champion was Cassandra Blickley and novice reserve champion was Bradley Richman. There were four classes in the experienced division with four to six participants in each. Class winners were Joseph Hubbard, Maryland; Charlie Buckmeier, Maryland; Jonathan Hubbard, Maryland; and Ryan Zimmerman, Maryland. Showmanship overall champion was Ryan Zimmerman with Joseph Hubbard chosen as reserve champion.

Those who undertook the advanced clipping techniques entered the ring for the Top Fitters competition. Judge Burdette evaluated the eight contestants’ animals and chose four as the top fitters. The four winners were Robert Hahn, Jonathan Hubbard, Cory Zimmerman and Ryan Zimmerman.

At the conclusion of the workshop, each participant received a prize, a rope halter and a copy of the Holstein Association book, “Show Ring Ready.”

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