After all of your hard work in the show barn, you’ve decided it’s time to head to a major stock show. That’s fantastic! But before you pack the trailer, let’s talk about the excitement, the preparation, and the experience of a major show.

Going to any livestock show is exciting. But going to a Major…well, it’s major. The excitement is overwhelming. The competition is intense. The memories made are incredible.

Weeks in advance you count down the days. You spend late nights and early mornings in the barn as you prepare your animal and yourself for the show ring.

What is a Major?

Major shows are the big ones. Denver, Kansas City, Louisville, Ft. Worth, Houston…these are just a few of the major national stock shows. Regions or states may have livestock shows that are considered Majors as well. And we can’t forget Junior Nationals.


With the Junior Nationals show season quickly approaching, it’s a time of preparation and practice. Preparing for a major show is just like any other show. Working hair is important, and leading and practicing with the show stick is essential. Preparation starts months before at home. Wash, rinse, blow, repeat. Walk, stance, scratch, repeat. Nutrition, nutrition, nutrition. Quality cattle aren’t just made on show day. It takes lots of preparation to make a champion. Stubborn cattle take persistence. Dirty cattle take washing. And free-spirited cattle take a little extra loving. Check out our article “Preparing Calves for the Show Ring” for helpful tips to get your animals looking their best by show time. And for tips on how to keep your calf eating and drinking at the big show, you’ll like this post.

Packing the Necessities

When you are heading to a show, make sure you have all the necessities in the trailer. Show stick, show halter, sprays, soaps, and a grooming chute. Don’t forget your show outfit and your wash pants and an extra pair of socks. Leaving something behind isn’t the end of the world but can cause stress and headaches.


The Experience

As you walk into the ring at a Major, you will feel excitement, nervousness, and fear. Remember that you are at the show to compete. You have worked hard to make it to the show, and you deserve the opportunity to show off your animal. Even if you don’t feel up to par with the rest, just remember at one point everyone is a beginner.


There is only one winner. Don’t be discouraged by the results. As you long as you work hard and do your best, you are really a winner even if you don’t earn the banner. Lessons learned and memories made are the greatest prize. They help shape who you are and who you become.

Want a copy of our all-inclusive, 80+ item checklist that we use here at the Silver Barn when we pack up to go to a big show?


**This is the first article in a series about the major stock shows. Stay tuned as we share personal interviews with folks that have attended some of these shows.

Read about the American Maine Association Junior National show here.


Click HERE to get a PDF copy of this post for future reference!

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