Know Showing Rules: Check Regulations before Heading to Shows 

There is a crisp in the air. Hoodies or jackets are required in the early morning and late evenings, yet we run fans in the barn by day. These temperatures shift mean that fall majors and winter jackpots are not far away. 

While many exhibitors and their families anticipate the fall show run, shows don’t function without a set of guidelines. Often those are updated from year to year. Showing rules change. Health requirements are updated, and deadlines shift with the calendar. Make sure you know the rules and check all show regulations before you head out to any show. 

Just like your nutrition plan or hair and skin routine is part of how you #PreptoWin, it is imperative you also know the showing rules and regs. At BioZyme®, our marketing and sales staff is comprised of some past show management staff. They offer some of their top tips for staying organized and in the know before the show. 

Read the Premium Book 

The premium book is the guide to all major shows and state fairs. Read it. Know it. If you are showing just one species, print off the section that applies to you. Rules, regulations and deadlines are in the premium book.  

“I find it helpful to highlight the any important deadlines as well as any rule changes or things that stand out of the ordinary from other shows,” said Shelia Grobosky, BioZyme® PR & Content Manager whose daughter shows pigs. “I print those pages and put them in the show binder, so I don’t have to keep going online, unless I am looking for any updates.” 

Not only do the premium books list important rules about entering livestock, but they also have rules about specific shows. What kind of bedding is allowed? Is bedding furnished? Are generators allowed? What are the fitting rules? 

Below are the links to premium books and exhibitor resources for some forthcoming fall and winter major shows for your easy reference: 

Know the Health Requirements 

Biosecurity is vital to the future of the livestock industry. That is why each show has a specific set of health requirements, based on its location. Health requirements vary by state and species, so read these in the premium book with plenty of time before you leave for the show. 

Some shows require animals to be tested for various diseases, which require bleeding the animals. It takes time for your veterinarian to draw the sample and send it to the lab for testing. Be sure to schedule time well in advance, but within a proper window that the show requires.  

Establishing a relationship with your veterinarian helps reduce the pressure of obtaining health papers prior to a show. Vets will need the name and address of the show, dates of the show and often will need to obtain a permit number for you to travel to that state.  

Bring Healthy Animals 

Since your vet has issued health certificates for your animals, it is imperative for you to bring animals in good health to the actual show. A sick animal is a germ spreader, a potential risk to others and a liability to the show should it die. In addition, the additional stress of hauling and change in environment can cause it to get sicker, adding to decreased performance.  

“I encourage every exhibitor to look at their animals. If they are sick or just feeling under the weather, leave them home, and bring a healthy animal to the show,” said Morgan Weinrich, Missouri Area Sales Manager, who worked as livestock superintendent at the National Western. 

Know Important Dates and Deadlines 

Dates and deadlines can sneak up on a person. However, most shows have a standard set of ownership and entry dates. Pay attention because these are always subject to change.  

Show deadlines are important from a management perspective so they can make sure the flow of the show runs smoothly. Again, read the deadlines carefully. Is an entry deadline absolute or is it a postmark deadline? It can make a big difference.  

Most shows offer online entries now, which makes it convenient. However, be sure to push submit, and be sure you received a confirmation email. That means your entries went through.  

“As a parent and past show manager, I would print out the confirmation for your online entry to have in your show folder. It should have a time stamp on it. Keep it with you until you are successfully checked in at the show, as proof that you did check in if any questions arise about your entries,” Grobosky said. 

Remember your Paperwork 

Every show and every breed association will differ when it comes to paperwork. Weinrich reminds exhibitors to again, know the rules of the show and association they are working with. Abide by those policies. 

“Make sure you have your health and registration papers before you get to the show. And always check your pig’s ear notches or other species’ tattoos against the papers you receive from the breeders before you come to the show,” Weinrich reiterates. “If those permanent forms of identification don’t match the registration papers when you get to the show, you are going to have a problem. And with ear notches, especially, many times they are read differently by different people.” 

Keeping all important show papers in one safe place like a folder or binder is a good way to ensure they arrive at the show. That binder should stay in the show box until the animal is checked in with the show. Then it should be kept secure, so it isn’t misplaced when hauling the animal home and to the next event. 

Differentiate the Shows 

Every show has different rules and guidelines. Maybe you can use specific coloring agents and adhesives at one. That doesn’t mean they are acceptable at every show. This circles back to reading the premium book and knowing the showing rules for each. 

Other regulations that might vary include the types of bedding that can be used, fitting policies, who can actually fit an animal, the use of generators and move in and release schedules. 

Once again, we want you to have information about each show at your fingertips. 

The American Royal has an entry deadline of September 10. They do allow late entries for a short window and an added fee. This time-honored tradition in Kansas City makes all of their 2023 rule changes known at the very front of its premium book. 

The NILE in Billings, Montana, closes its entries Sept. 15. Due to its proximity to Canada, the number of sales is hosts and being in a brand area, it might require extra paper work. Please read the showing rules closely. 

The North American in Louisville does not have their premium book and showing rules posted at the time of this blog. However, the NAILE premium book typically posts in September. 

The newest of these shows, Cattlemen’s Congress has an entry deadline of November 17. The Oklahoma City show does offer a late deadline.  

National Western in Denver, typically has a mid-November entry deadline. With a variety of species and sales, read the NWSS rules carefully.  

Don’t Argue with Superintendents 

Weinrich reminds exhibitors that the superintendents don’t make the rules. They are merely there to enforce showing rules and encourage exhibitors. As a former association activities director, Grobosky agrees. 

“Rules are typically made by a board or governing body who aren’t always present at the show. It isn’t worth getting worked up and arguing with or yelling at a superintendent, usually a volunteer, over a rule. Read the premium book, know the rules. Enjoy the experience,” Grobosky said. 

Have Fun Along the Journey 

Showing livestock should be an educational and fun experience for the entire family. The best way to ensure your experience is positive from start to finish? Learn all necessary showing rules and #PreptoWin. 

Making memories in the barn and on the show road while teaching the next generation responsibility and animal care practices is what showing is about.  

Take the photos. Make the pitstops. And enjoy the journey. Make the most of your time in the barn and at the show with your family and your show family. If you fail to read the show rules and get eliminated, that can make a potentially fun experience a miserable trip. 

Other ways to #PreptoWin 

So, are you up to date on the showing rules you’ll need to be successful this season?  

If you’ve read the premium book and have met entry deadlines, you can get busy in the barn. Keep your animals feeling their best with a winning combination from Sure Champ® and Vita Charge®. We’ve got a complete line of products to get your animals eating, drinking and feeling their best. 

To learn more about the products, click here: Sure Champ

Are you looking for a reliable BioZyme dealer in your area? Our site can help you find a dealer and get important product information

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