Morgan Watts: Livestock shows are great events

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 16, 2016

By Morgan Watts

Rowan Cooperative Extension

With the Rowan County Fair quickly approaching, now is the time to go ahead and mark your calendars to be sure that you make it out to all the youth livestock shows at this year’s fair.

The fair has so much more going on than just the rides and food. For the youth who will show animals, they have been working daily for months to get ready to show and complete their project.

Many of the youth started working on their projects in the early part of this year when their animals were first born on their farms. Showing at the fair will be a culmination of many months of hard work, care and bonding with their animal.

The Rowan County Fair will open on Friday, Sept. 23 and continue through Saturday, Oct. 1. This year we will have youth livestock shows at the fair in the following categories — dairy goats, market goats, market lambs, breeding ewes and dairy cattle.

The dairy goats will be the first to show with showmanship starting on Friday at 6:30 p.m.; the age show will held on Saturday after beginning at 1p.m. This is one of the largest shows we will have at the fair this year with approximately 200 head of goats entered.

Junior Breeding Ewes will be next on the agenda — they will be showing on Sept. 26 at 6 p.m. Then on Tuesday, Sept. 27, the Junior Meat Goat show will be held at 6:15 p.m., followed by the Junior Market Lambs on Wednesday at 6 p.m.

Last, but definitely not least, is the Junior Dairy Cattle show, which will be held on Friday, Sept. 30 at 6:30 p.m. Then as the fair comes to a close on Saturday, Oct. 1, showmanship will be the final show at 1 p.m. It will certainly be a long and exciting week at the fair.

Everyone is encouraged to come out and support our youth as they complete their projects. Showing livestock is one of the best programs for youth as it teaches and enforces so many very important skills they will need later in life such as responsibility, patience, work ethics, finances and time management.

If you are unsure about which shows to drop in on, here is a little insight that may help you decide. Showmanship, for instance, is when the person judging will be judging the person showing the animal, not the actual animal. They are judged on knowledge of the animal and how well their animal is groomed and trained for show. The other part of the show depends on the species and whether it will be breeding or go to market.

Breeding animals are judged on a variety of criteria, but it is all based on how well you think they will be at reproduction. You are looking for an animal that is structurally correct and moves really well when walked. You also want them to be really big-ribbed and deep-bodied to go along with it.

Switching gears to market animals, they are judged on a slightly different criteria. You want the animals to have a lot of muscle because that means more meat. You also want them to have the right amount of fat for the show — you don’t want them too fat or too skinny.

Hopefully all of you will be able to make it out to the fair so you can see firsthand what effort and hard work goes into getting these animals ready. Hope to see you at the fair.

If you have any questions about livestock shows at the Rowan County Fair, please contact Morgan Watts, livestock and field crops agent for Rowan County Extension at 704-216-8970. For more information on fair times and scheduling, you can go to the Rowan County Fair website,