State Livestock Judging Contest

2023 Contest

  • Date: Saturday, Sept. 9, 2023
  • Location: University of Missouri-Columbia
  • Please contact Maria Calvert if you have questions.
  • Registration runs July 10–Aug. 17, 2023. Cost is $25 for youth. No fee for coaches.
  • Late registration runs Aug. 18–24, 2023. Cost is $40 for youth. No fee for coaches. No registrations will be accepted after Aug. 24, 2023.

Evaluation of livestock is an exciting and thought-provoking experience. The ultimate goal of livestock judging is to compare your perception of an animal against the ideal and then to contrast your opinion with that of another individual or group of individuals. The basic level of livestock judging consists of three primary components: 1) the placing of animals; 2) questions diving deeper into the classes; and 3) orally justifying your decision (reasons). These activities expose you to more than just livestock judging, in addition to that you learn team work, effective communication skills, analytical thinking and aides you in gaining confidence to defend your decisions.

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    Contest information

    This event is open to all 4-H'ers. There is no limit on the number of members a county may enter in the contest. Youth and coaches must register.

    Register through 4-H Online.

    Registered youth and coaches will receive an information letter with maps, details, etc.

    If paying by check, send your payment to your County Extension Office. Check with your county 4-H staff for whom you should make the check payable to.

    No refund will be granted.

    Registered youth need to be checked in for by 8:30 a.m. Contest starts at 9 a.m.

    Lunch will be provided for all contestants, coaches, and workers. We are sorry that we cannot provide lunch for family members and/or drivers.

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    Contest components

    Placing Classes: Classes can consist of any combination of breeding and/or market classes within beef, swine, sheep, and goat species.

    Reasons: Senior and Junior contestants will give reasons.

    Equipment: A small clipboard and/or notebook and pencil are essential tools at the judging contest. Notes should not be used when giving reasons. ScanTron scoring software will be used. Prepared judging aids are not allowed.

    Questions: Juniors and seniors will complete a set of questions.

    View resources

    Event quick sheet (PDF)

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    • Junior Division 8–13; Senior Division 14–18
    • IMPORTANT: Livestock Judging Contest Team Scores: This is how the team scores will be determined for this contest.
      • Because there is no limit on the number of members a county can register in the junior and senior division and because the Scantron system (used only at in-person events) does not accommodate multiple teams from a county, those registered will not be divided into teams prior to the contest.
      • The top three individual scores in a county will determine the team score for that county for each division. What this means is that if you have more than three enrolled in your county (e.g., let's say eight youth competing in junior division) then from those eight, the top three would comprise the team score. The final team will include those three plus the next highest individual in the county for a four-person team.
    • While the contest is in progress, there shall be no conferring between the contestants, or between contestants and anyone else except as authorized by the contest superintendent or their representatives.
    • Approximately 15 minutes will be allowed contestants to judge the classes, make observations, take notes, and fill out their cards.
    • Reasons: Juniors will deliver two sets. Seniors will deliver three sets.
    • No parents or coaches allowed in the arena during judging process or team will automatically be disqualified.
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    • High Point Individual in Junior and Senior divisions will receive Belt Buckles
    • 2nd and 3rd place individuals will receive 4-H medallions
    • First place junior and senior teams will receive 4-H medallions. The top 10 junior and senior individuals and top three junior and senior teams will receive Certificates which will be customized and mailed out after the event
    • The top ten 8-10 year olds will receive a judging pin
    • The first through fourth place Senior teams will be eligible to represent Missouri at National Competitions
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    National representation

    “Eligibility for the national competition is limited to participants in the senior division. All team members competing in the national contest must meet age requirements dictated above. Choices of these contests will be determined in order of their placing in the state contest.

    1st Place Senior Team - Choice of the following national livestock judging contests:

    • National 4-H Livestock Judging Contest (Louisville, KY)
    • Ak-Sar-Ben Livestock Judging Contest (Omaha, Nebraska) (each state can send up to three teams)
    • American Royal 4-H Livestock Judging Contest (Kansas City, MO)
    • National Western Roundup (Denver/Fort Collins, CO)

    2nd, 3rd, and 4th place Senior Teams will have the choice of the remaining trips in their respective finishing order. For example: If the 1st place team chooses to attend the National Western Roundup the 2nd place team will have the choice between the National 4-H Livestock Contest, the American Royal and Ak-Sar-Ben 4-H Contests and so on.

    Please see the national contest breakdown sheet for eligibility details, dates, etc. for the national opportunities listed above.

    Breakdown (PDF)

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    View results