This is an excerpt from a complete tutorial on beef showmanship.

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Showmanship, like proper nutrition and hair care, can make a good calf great. However, for the best showmen, winning begins at home with hard work and commitment. In this article, we will discuss some suggestions for perfecting showmanship at home. This will help you present your calf to its fullest the next time you step into the ring.



We’ve all heard the phrase “Practice makes perfect.” Like any other sport, practice and repetition can be the keys to success. Practice and repetition can ensure you and your calf can move as a team every time you enter the show ring.

However, it is important to mention that repetition can become boring for your calf. It is not uncommon to see calves refuse to walk while practicing at home. This may be because they are simply tired of walking laps in the same pen every day. If this occurs, you should move your showmanship practice to a different pen or area. Also, you can mix up how you practice each day to make things more exciting for both you and the calf.


Push Your Calf’s Comfort Zone

Like us, our cattle have comfort zones. We can prepare them for the obstacles they may face at a stock show by pushing their boundaries.

You can also push your calf out of its comfort zone by asking it to walk more laps or stand longer during practice. By doing so, you will prepare it for an extra-long day of showing. They will be less likely to grow fidgety while you’re placed by the judge. The best way to test your calf’s comfort zone is by taking it to jackpot shows and see how it reacts in the show ring.

By pushing the boundaries of our calves’ comfort zones, we can be better prepared for the show ring. This helps makes the big stock show less stressful for our calves.


Simulating a Show Ring

You should always practice as though you’re in a show ring. Sometimes it can help to take that a step further to better prepare yourself and your calf for show day.

It can help to have someone pose as the “judge” of your imaginary show ring. Ask this person to move around your calf as a judge would. Practice maintaining eye contact or moving around your calf to give the judge the best view. Get creative if there is no one to pose as a judge. You can place buckets or other objects in your ring and practice making eye contact in that way.

There’s no limit to how you simulate your own show ring. Using your practice ring at home as a show ring will prepare you for show day.

We have many blog posts to help you learn how you can prepare yourself for show day. 


Understand How Your Calf Looks

Before you can show your calf off, it’s important to understand how your calf looks its best. For example, some calves may need to be loined or situated differently to show off their looks. 

Understanding your calf’s strengths and weaknesses helps guarantee success in the show ring. You can hide your calf’s flaws while accentuating its positives. Realizing these things at home means you’ll be better prepared for the show ring. The showmanship judge will notice how you bring out the best in your calf.


TJ illustrates how to loin a calf with a show stick. If the loin is high, you can gently apply pressure with your show stick to bring this area down.

For more great tips, check out the video “How to Show Beef Cattle” by Jon Gevelinger.


Showmanship can sometimes be the difference between winning and losing. Practice helps you take your showmanship skills to the next level and find ways to bring out the best in your calf. By improving showmanship, you may see your calf move up in its placings.

Ultimately, good showmanship starts at home with hard work and lots of practice.



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Do you have showmanship tips you would like to share with our readers? We’d love for you to share them! Please write in the comment box below.


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