Livestock Showmanship Contest Connects Youth, State Leaders

Leigh Ann Skurupey and Kurt Froelich
SPECIAL TO DEVILS LAKE JOURNAL USA TODAY NETWORK

North Dakota 4-H’ers will have an opportunity to share their livestock showmanship knowledge with state leaders as part of the first of its kind North Dakota Leaders 4-H Showmanship Contest on Friday, July 30, at the North Dakota State Fair Center Complex in Minot.

4 Hers Becoming Champions Or Reserve Champions In Livestock Showmanship At The North Dakota State Fair Will Teach State Leaders About The Finer Points Of Livestock Showmanship

The 24 4-H’ers who win champion or reserve champion at the intermediate and senior level in showmanship for six livestock species at the North Dakota State Fair earlier that week will be paired with a North Dakota leader for the North Dakota Leaders 4-H Showmanship Contest. The youth will give their leader tips on how to show a specific species of livestock. The youth also will teach the leader the importance of the technique for showing the assigned livestock species.

Following that, the leaders will compete in the livestock showmanship contest. Judges will be the youth who coached the leaders in the respective age divisions. Leaders who win will receive a banner that they can hang in their offices. In addition, the leaders will have their photo taken. The photos will be framed to honor the leaders’ involvement.

“We hope to accomplish many things: showcasing the great 4-H youth, their communication and showmanship skills, connect youth with adults in leadership roles across the state, and provide 4-H’ers the opportunity to teach someone else what they have learned in the 4-H program,” says Lynette Flage, North Dakota State University Extension associate director.

Leigh Ann Skurupey, interim chair of NDSU Extension’s Center for 4-H Youth Development, agrees. 

“The North Dakota Leaders 4-H Showmanship Contest will provide several exciting opportunities,” she says.

Here are a few of them:  

Cultivate an opportunity where youth can engage in public speaking, communication and leadership skills with the state’s public leaders. This is an excellent setting for senior and intermediate round robin champions and reserve champions to gain workforce development skills. These youth will teach the public leader they are paired with how to show their champion animal, which creates the perfect platform for working on communication, confidence and leadership skills.

Provide an opportunity for youth to network with public leaders; some of these youth may not find this kind of opportunity anywhere else

Provide a way for public leaders to invest in and engage with North Dakota 4-H’ers firsthand in a hands-on, learn-by-doing atmosphere

Offer an opportunity to bring youth, families, public leaders and the community to a fun and exciting event at the North Dakota State Fair

“It’s a way to connect our leaders today with our leaders of tomorrow,” says Kurt Froelich, Extension’s agriculture and natural resources agent for Stark and Billings counties and a member of NDSU Extension’s 4-H animal science program planning committee. He learned of a similar event in Oklahoma and suggested the committee try it in North Dakota.

Leaders who have been invited to participate include North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum, Lt. Gov. Brent Sanford, Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring, other state leaders and state legislators.

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