This year, my youngest sister convinced her friend Lexie to show a pig for the first time.
A high school junior, Lexie is older than most beginning showmen.
Instead of letting that discourage her, however, Lexie is determined to make up for lost time and learn everything there is to know about showing pigs.
This post goes out to all the “Lexie’s” in the livestock show world.
I’m starting a new category on my blog called “Livestock Showing” that will include posts with tips for beginning showmen.
Hopefully, this category will be a great resource for not just showmen but also their parents, FFA advisers and 4-H agents as they starting learning their way around the show ring.
Today’s post focuses on something most beginning showmen need a little help with, dressing for showmanship.
No matter what species you’re showing, showmanship attire for livestock is pretty similar.
How to Dress for Showmanship:
The collared shirt is the backbone of your show attire. Make sure that your shirt has been ironed and is tucked in.
Some people say that a polo shirt doesn’t count as collared. In my opinion, polo’s are fine for preview shows because of the heat. For girls, polo’s are sometimes your only short sleeved option because its so hard to find short sleeved button-up shirts.
If you’re in an air conditioned barn or at a national show you should probably wear a more traditional button-up shirt.
You should show in your nicest blue jeans.
By “nice,” I don’t mean your hip-hugger Abercrombie jeans that you spent way too much money on. I mean dark wash, not faded or worn out jeans with no holes in them.
It is also important that your jeans ride high enough to keep your shirt tucked-in and backside covered. No matter what species you are showing you will need to bend over or stretch so if your jeans are already riding low you’re going to be showing the judge more than your animal.
Generally, a boot cut works better just because you don’t want your animal treading on a dangling pant leg.
You can do everything else right but without the boots you won’t look like you belong in the show ring.
Leave your rubber boots and muck boots out of the show ring. Leather boots (whether slip on or lace up) are much more professional.
Never tuck your jeans into your boots. You’re showing livestock, not riding a bull.
My dad always said, “You’re not dressed for a show until you put on a belt.”
A belt is a necessity, plain and simple.
I don’t know why, I don’t know who started it, I just know that in the livestock world you wear a belt. Always.
Today, rhinestone belts are very popular, especially for ladies.
As a beginning showman, however, don’t feel like you need to spend $150 on a belt! A plain leather belt works just fine.
Things you should NEVER wear in showmanship:
In my opinion, you never wear a hat in showmanship.
Some cattle folks will say that a cowboy hat is acceptable, but I wouldn’t advise a beginning showman to risk it.
Don’t take a ball cap off right before going into the ring! You’ll have hat hair or a ring around your head.
Gum just looks unprofessional, plain and simple.
Just because you’re showing a cow doesn’t mean you should be chewing like one while you do it!
I’m addicted to my cell phone as much as anybody but I know it won’t kill you to leave it with someone outside of the ring during showmanship.
Definitely don’t wear your phone on your belt, even if its on silent.
Remember, everyone in the show ring once had a “first show.”
We remember what it was like and we’re there to help you. Don’t be afraid to ask another showman for advice.
Your first show can be intimidating. No one likes feeling like the “new kid.”
If you follow these tips when dressing for a show, I promise you won’t look like a beginner!