Christian. BoyMom. Farmer's Wife. Marathon Runner. Ag Professional. Bourbon Lover.
Advocate for all things agriculture and rural.
Advocate for all things agriculture and rural.
Tunis Sheep Hampshires heed
I have posted a response to many of the comments that I feel are missing the point of the below piece. You can read it by clicking HERE.
I used to KNOW that cheaters existed, KNOW that many of the people winning were cheating, and KNOW that the reason I was losing was because the winners were not playing by the rules.
I knew all of that right up until I knew the truth. A few years ago, two things happened that changed my opinion on cheaters and the role they play in this business.
First, our breeding program finally started to click and we were thrown into the top of the game. With every win, it suddenly felt like another target was drawn on my back. I heard people whispering, saw people pointing the finger. And it nearly broke me. Because we had gotten where we were with honest hard work, following every rule laid out before us. And they were still accusing. People I thought were our friends. People I thought knew us.
Second, I started running a large and competitive junior show which put me within earshot all day long of the ring side conversations. I heard parents telling each other and their kids that judges were dishonest and other exhibitors were cheating. I heard accusations made against kids and families that I KNEW were not dishonest and were not cheating. I heard judges bashed that I had personally selected because of their integrity.
And then I realized. It hit me like a ton of bricks. We make ourselves, and our kids, feel better about losing by accusing others of cheating.
And these accusations, and the whining about cheating, are more of a threat to our industry than the cheaters ever will be. And here is why.
1. It creates a false impression that “everyone” is doing it
When our kids overhear us complain and accuse the winners of cheating, they develop an unrealistic view of the industry. They develop a sense that everyone, or at least everyone having success, is cheating (which simply is not true).
This is troublesome in multiple ways but mainly in the relationships it costs our kids and the frustration is creates for them. If our children don’t trust and respect their peers because of (often false) accusations they hear about them, it’s impossible to expect them to create the lifelong friendships and relationships that make this business so special.
If a child is consistently told the winners are cheating – they believe it and they believe the only way to win is through cheating (again not true). The idea that an exhibitor cannot take home the banner through hard and honest work is so overwhelming and frustrating it leads to many kids and their families dropping out of the competition all together. Most people understand winning is hard – but if it’s impossible through honest means, why bother?
2. It makes excuses for failure
Failure is such an important lesson for our kids, a vital lesson. Our children must learn how to fail and come out stronger and smarter because of it. Our children must learn how to have fun and enjoy themselves even if they are not winning.
And if our children are to be successful in the livestock industry, they must also learn how to be critical of themselves and their animals. It amazes me how many experienced exhibitors walk into a show ring believing their animal has no faults.
The hard fact of showing is that you animal does have faults and most of the time is not good enough to win the banner. Most of the time, someone else will have worked a little harder or have a animal that’s just a little better (or a lot better!).
If every time a child doesn't win, it’s simply excused away by blaming the winners of cheating, a child takes no personal responsibility for the loss. A child learns to deflect blame onto someone else, instead of recognizing their (and their animals) own shortcomings.
By blaming others for a loss, you’re stealing the learning opportunity from your child and again, creating more frustration.
3. It devalues winning
Once you have created a mindset in a child where the only way to win is through dishonest means, a child slowly starts to devalue winning. They believe that the banners sent home with someone else were not well deserved (again creating frustration) and often tell themselves and others that they were shorted something because the winners were cheating.
Not only does this compound the problem listed as item number 2, it also takes away the feeling of accomplishment, pride and excitement if and when your child can get into the Champion Drive and finally take home that banner.
4. It forces drastic rule changes that are ineffective and discouraging to new and young exhibitors (and their families)
Here’s the hard truth of showing livestock – there are people who cheat. It’s a very small percentage of the people, and most often judges (who are smarter and more honest than we give them credit for) pick these people out and sort them off.
The fact remains there are cheaters. One thing always remains true of those who cheat – they break rules. Yet for some reason, parents and show managers seem to think the answer to these problems is creating more rules.
Rules are NOT effective at getting cheaters to quit cheating. Cheaters, by definition, break rules.
They are however very effective at confusing first time showers, getting honest entries kicked out of the competition because of an honest mistake, and creating costly and frustrating hoops to jump through for honest exhibitors.
So as parents, and as an industry, I encourage each of you to be more honest with yourself and your kids about why your animals are not winning, and at the same time, create a more positive and promising outlook on the industry.
Remind your kids that they did an awesome job even if they didn’t win and that losing doesn’t somehow require a laundry list of excuses as to why, to make it ok. It’s OK to lose. Most of us do it, most of the time.
Create a perspective for your kids (and others) that will allow them to be more self-evaluating, allow them to create trusting relationships with their peers, and allow them to truly cherish the once in a lifetime opportunity of winning that banner.
And most importantly, create a perspective for your kids that allow them to have fun and celebrate whoever did the winning on that particular day!
1/14/2015 04:52:39 am
God bless the students, parents, extension agents and agricultural science instructors who promote, demonstrate and expect excellence, ethics, integrity and "best practices," in livestock production. However, SILENCE IS ACCEPTANCE! What are the consequences in your state for "cheating?" If that entry was made under the umbrella of the 4-H or FFA, what consequences within those organizations are imposed for unethical behavior? Would they face the same consequences as a school athlete, or other extra-curricular organization that was caught doing something unethical or illegal? No more so can we legislate "morality" than we may be able to "catch / punish" cheaters. However, if something is adverse to natue one tends to avoid it. Are the "consequences" of cheating adverse to nature? Thus, is it avoided. Would enjoy hearing your perspective.
1/14/2015 05:11:35 am
Hi Aaron and thanks for visiting and your comment!
1/17/2015 02:43:43 am
I will say that everything that you have said here is very true. My son showed his cattle since he was around 8 until her graduated last year. I have always stress to him that it is not where you placed but rather what you learned getting there. I always praised him for a successful season because he finished what he started and did the best he could with what we could afford. What got to me was when a few of the parents and kids that were winning all the time said to him " why do you bother to show if your not willing to cheat? You will never have success if you don't cheat!" This came from the parents and their kids said the same thing. It made my son feel like an outcast because I would not allow him to cheat. His AG teacher would not help him because of my views and beliefs. He was accused of not wanting to win and not working hard enough but yet the teacher would never come out to our farm to even see his project. SO how do you stop that cycle? Talk about peer pressure.
1/14/2015 06:06:54 am
this is a great article!!!!
1/15/2015 03:01:40 am
I agree this is a good article. I hgave been in this position. We raised sheep that went all over the US. People always asked what our secret was? When they were told that the lambs wanted for nothing, and that we did not take short cuts. If they needed drentched it was not put on their feed it was given individually, it was taylored for them and what we felt the needed. To be a winner takes dedication and alot of time. If they should be feed 3 to 4 times a day you do it no excuses. I heard so many times that what we advised people to do was to time consuming or to much work. If hard work and dedication are cheating, and you are not willing to put in the time, then you are just lazy. Former owner of Dynamite Farms
7/21/2015 09:28:10 am
This is a really good article. It is amazing to me that people tell their kids that the winners are cheaters. I know many people in the llama industry that win and don't cheat to get there. It takes a lot of hard work and dedication to do well. When you lose you say to yourself, what do I do to get better. It is really sad to me that parents tell their kids that only cheaters win instead of praising their kids for the job they did and with more hardwork , they will get better.
Laurie jo Elisha
1/15/2015 09:09:55 am
great article this should go to all extension agents also to all animal project leaders thanks
5/24/2016 01:18:52 pm
Nice article I do not belive everyone cheats there are some but hey that's life as long as the junior grows up learning the ethical way of showing that is most important?
1/14/2015 05:30:54 am
I agree with a lot of what you said. But, I do think its okay to point out to our kids the 'cheaters' and sadly at a lot of smaller shows, they are the 'winners'. This is not something that is generally discussed anywhere but in the truck on the way home. My kids are well rounded farm kids who realize that the show industry and production agriculture are two different things. Sadly that's what I wish was closer in alignment. I wish that 'champion show heifer' had to come back next year with her healthy calf........... I wish public opinions weren't so easily swayed by trends and fluffy cows. As a well known cattle man and sale barn neighbor of mine said once, 'you can't eat hair' I agree you shouldn't tell your kids only that the winners cheated. And you shouldn't generalize. But we pretty well call it like we see it with our kids, and they know that showing feedlot calves against high dollar genetics that are housed in coolers, that if we are in the top half of class, that's good enough for them. In the light of the newly published MSF rules and the 'rumors' circulating about last years' winner, which I wish MSF would publish a statement about it, so that the rumor mill will stop, I think your post was absolutely timely. Thanks for sharing!
1/14/2015 02:26:07 pm
Well said! I could not have said this better myself!
1/15/2015 03:27:58 am
You do realize spending money and putting cattle in coolers is not cheating right? While there are deffinately shady things that happen I would practice digression when speaking with your kids about cheating. I was taught that the reason you show has nothing to do with winning! While winning is nice and I am extremely competitive on many levels it was the life lessons that I was taught such as humility and respect that stick with me to this day! If you have proof someone was cheating please pursue justice but if you are sore about losing never throw around accusations even in the privacy of your vehicle with your family because it teaches your kids a victim mentality that will plague them for life. Instead explain to them the reasons you show stock and at the end of the day if you know you did your best with the financial limitations you are saddled with that is all that matters but please don't be so naive to think all winners cheat and all the dumb barn stories you hear! I showed on a local state county national level for over 15 years and only 3 times ran across true cheating that was factually based! That includes 11 National Jr. Angus shows the world's largest single breed cattle show.
1/15/2015 07:55:46 am
7/27/2015 11:04:07 am
But, Kathy Hasekamp, you support pointing out the cheaters to your children, but I think the point of the article is that too often the accusations are false. I find it amazing that when someone is not at successful, works hard, is a little more successful, keeps trying, is a little more successful, and then is finally successful - is immediately assumed to be cheating - too often.
Just a parent
1/14/2015 08:07:04 am
I agree with many things in the comments. I refuse to just accept people cheating or have my kids think that it's acceptable. Certainly we don't tell our kids the only way to win is to cheat. However I think you are kidding yourself if you think that the majority if showing is legit. There are plenty of politics, if there wasn't you wouldn't have so many breeders tailing the animals all the way into the ring. I think probably the biggest issue (especially in cattle) is aging cattle. I was recently told by several people you can't compete unless you do it.
1/14/2015 08:24:16 am
Thank you so much for visiting and your comment! I certainly did not mean to pretend politics does not exist (in the show business and in real life with practically everything).
1/15/2015 04:45:07 am
while reading your article,very interesting,lots of truth in it,i dont think the word cheaters is the correct word. Sure there r those that cheat,they really dont win now days,4-H , FFA and youth rodeos,these have gotten so over price,not from cheaters,the cost of buying good cattle or horses to win,y u see the decline going down hill in 4-H HS RODEOS, there arent cheaters,have rules they dont enforce. To b a winner takes hard work,if a child works hard there r people that will help them,got to get them off there cell phone and out the door. Seen it all Have A Great Day
1/15/2015 03:38:55 am
Politics while shady is not cheating in any way! Obviously if judges make questionable decisions that can not be justified then everyone knows it is politics and the judge's career and future take a hit! As someone who has been on both ends of the politics issue it sucks but that's what is so great about showing! It teaches kids that life is not fair they can't control everything and how hard work typically pays off! The cattle aging issue is one that has begun to backfire as commodity prices continue to climb you see a movement towards practical functional stock! I used to think everyone did it then I got my hands on some truly elite genetics and realized they were not cheating just using vastly superior feed and genetics! But hey if you wanna just sit in the corner and cry about cheaters and teach your kids to be victims go right ahead! Winning is not the end all be all of stock showing and everyone even the winners know that the truly quality people in the business are ticked when they loose but know the other values they get out of it and just try harder the next time!
Just a parent
1/15/2015 06:47:27 am
I wish you would actually read what you are replying to. We aren't sitting in a corner crying. I said dishonest people make us work harder. We are very proud of what we do win or lose. But that doesn't mean we have to like that there is cheating. I also mentioned both cheating and ethics. I think politics would fall under unethical.
Judge / show mom
7/22/2017 01:24:12 pm
I agree ive seen it first hand idk where u are but here in our state judged r handed list of who should win if u dont choose those kids ur fired idc i shown and went through it so im honest and pick who deserved it money dont bother me
1/14/2015 08:16:53 am
I'll be 75 inn two weeks. I joined 4-H at 10, later was a county agent, and ultimately was on the Illinois State 4-H staff. I've heard the claim for 65 years. Sometimes I knew it was all hooey. Sometimes I knew it was probably true.
1/14/2015 08:25:45 am
Del thank you for taking the time to share your comment! I just adore this and will remember this advice for my own children and to share with others!!
1/14/2015 10:59:24 am
this comment can be forever treasured!! Wow incredibly said.
1/15/2015 01:54:52 am
Well said Del Dahl. I am a county agent as well and I say basically the same thing. I always point out that the color of the ribbon is not the lesson. I also say that doing the project with integrity and hard work is something to be proud of. When families come to me asking about getting involved in the show program, I am very honest and upfront and ask what they hope to get out of it as a family. Hopefully they make the right choice and also go forward with eyes open and high moral character as their compass.
7/20/2015 02:23:14 am
Wonderful response Del. Been a cattle showing family for 40 plus years. Always going to be someone who tries to manipulate a show and be successful at it. Showing is so much more than just the win.
2/15/2016 10:44:25 am
An excellently written article. I was a 6 year 4H leader of a livestock project. I poured 30 years of my life experiences, both professional and personal, to create a structure for this project area. We had tremendous success with kids representing our county on the district and state level. This Kids were awesome. As all youth programs do, a new influx of parents started a new dialogue. Dialogue full of negativity, accusations and fraught with disrespectful interactions. These interactions usually happened through the rumor mill, sharing select portions of an email or social media. As would normally occur, the 4h kids started to do as the adults were doing. We had a great 4h agent and a fair board that stood behind the leaders who worked so hard. In the end, the 4h kids would sit in meetings and while sitting across the table from other members send mean social media messages. A parent boasted that he cheated and the leaders did not catch him.
1/14/2015 08:21:50 am
Thanks for a great article.
1/14/2015 08:36:46 am
My son is in the 4H precision rifle program. This isn't about cheating but it is about mind set. He just read a book written by a world class marksman. The point he makes throughout the book is not to engage in negative conversations about scores, matches, or competitors. Negativity begets negativity. Positivity begets positivity. I'm a former show mom and of a 4H marksman, it's interesting to see the crossover in certain areas even though they're entirely different projects!
1/14/2015 08:40:41 am
@FarmGirlJen Thank you for your comment!! Exactly the point I was trying to craft and I am so glad you point out how it can be tied into everything with our kids!!
1/14/2015 08:46:41 am
Kate, I agree 100%. Great, thoughtful post. It's not about the "cheaters." It's about how you choose to react.
Sometimes U Win
1/14/2015 09:03:18 am
I love this article. As a family that works very hard to be competitive.. We have won some and lost many. It is so disheartening to have your peers believe the only way to win is to cheat. And if you do well, then you must be a cheater. Reading some of these replies I guess you just have to realize that no matter what you say or do there are always going to be some that just can't accept that. And they are the cause of the demise of a great industry. Forget competition and hard work and training.. Just give everyone a blue ribbon.. Sounds like fun.
Just a parent
1/14/2015 11:08:04 am
I certainly don't think everyone should get a blue ribbon, but I won't tell my kids it's ok for people to cheat. It doesn't keep us from showing. Probably motivates us to work harder. Eventually people realize who is dishonest and you can't get rid of a bad reputation. We do discuss ethics with our kids, and I hope they learn to take pride in what they do and know they don't have to cheat to win or fit in. It's just sad that people think cheating is acceptable and this article title implies that is you don't like cheating your the problem not the cheater. So we will continue to acknowledge that lots of people aren't honest but work hard and have ethics and be proud of what we have win or lose.
1/15/2015 03:49:02 am
I think the amount of "cheating" used as a crutch by sore losers far out weighs the actual cheating going on! I feel the main take away from the piece is not say nothing about cheating it is instead only speak about cheating if it a 100% fact based conversation! The amount of barn talk that goes on is ludicrous and is damaging the industry far more than any cheater out there! I was convinced a local family was cheating for years I finally approached them asking if I could come observe how they went about their business on the farm they gladly invited me in and showed me the ropes and proved not only that they were morally strong ethical people but how hard working and dedication pays off! So the moral of the story is the only person you should speak about cheating with is the proper athorities when it I'd fact based and let the punishment be handed out then explain it to your kids! Perception is reality and if you perpetuate a victim mentality to your kids you are crippling them for life and doing far more damage to the industry that I love than any cheater could ever accomplish!
1/14/2015 10:59:59 am
I think the one point that you missed is the detriment schools and parents have provided that every child 'DESERVES' a trophy, a sticker, a certificate, a place on the team. These parents are setting their child up for failure because in the real world of jobs, and the Olympics, and relationships, and life, you will win and you will lose. Enough of 'saving self-esteem'--get over your loss and move on!
1/14/2015 11:00:57 am
Love your article! I've been in the show industry for 10 plus years now. I'd like to add that there are different levels of competitor in all of us. From those who buy an animal and a bag of feed, do not much else till show day then complain on their placing. All the way to folks who raise multiple animals per show as a family, spend countless hours studying the nutritional needs of each animal. Multiple hours traning animals to show, while working on showmanship techniques etc. Only to be "labled" a cheater by their peers cause they just flat out worked them. We've won a lot, never broke a rule, never tested positive on a drug screen. We just have a higher level of competitive nature than most. I saw a tee shirt at a show that read "Winners do all the things that loosers don't want to do". When we loose we know we have to work harder next year and try again!
Sometimes U Win
1/14/2015 11:47:32 am
uno that is exactly what I was trying to get across! Very well stated. Thank you
Show mom from Tx
1/14/2015 11:13:16 am
Perfect!!!!! This has happened to me and my family and I totally agree. Great article!!!!
1/14/2015 11:30:15 am
As a mom whose son will start showing in a few years and who has no background showing, I read this with great interest. I want to maintain this attitude and not get negative as I see negatively escalating in other school functions. I guess I am really naive, but how is it possible to cheat on a show animal? I understand politics with judges, but what else would be cheating?
1/14/2015 11:37:15 am
1. It creates a false impression that “everyone” is doing it
Just a parent
1/14/2015 12:05:26 pm
Thank you for saying everything I was trying to say so much better then I did!!!!
1/14/2015 11:43:49 am
I applaud everything you have said in this article! Hard work, researching supplements and feed additives available, and learning to critique your animal, breeding program, and yourself are key requirements to help you get the purple banner. Unfortunately not enough people are willing to admit that they, their children, or their animals have room for improvement, and they find it much easier to paint the open minded people that are constantly looking for ways to improve, most often, the winners, as cheaters. Most of these "cheaters" would be happy to help and advise if the accusers would stop pointing fingers and be willing to listen!
1/14/2015 12:14:00 pm
Great article! My family has been showing for many generations. We have made many friends and many enemies. I have also tried to instill in my children how important hard work is and doing their best in the show ring. Believe me it is hard when you watch some people win year after year and a lot of the time they just lead their animal in the show ring and never do anything else. In the long run people who work hard and are honest will feel better no matter where they stand in class.
1/14/2015 12:14:21 pm
Great dialogue here, lots of lessons to be learn. 4H and FFA kids have a great opportunity in life and belong to the best of the best. We as mentors and parents and folks who run shows and judge shows that we are in the eye of young person that we are molding and shaping lets do it the right way. And for those of you that continue to break the rules and cut corners just think your kid or kid watching you could someday decide it is okay to cut a corner in life and could be a lot more at stake than just a banner, could be their life, someone elses life or could be a lot things gone bad because they learned how to cheat the system. In the end we will all be judged one last time, stop and think before you cut a corner for a 20 dollar trophy.... to all great kids and famlies keep working hard and having fun.
1/14/2015 12:20:16 pm
Just make sure it is actually true before you speak it and remember the person you are hurting in most cases is an innocent child.
1/14/2015 12:47:14 pm
I used to get bent out of shape about cheaters. Never accused a kid. Parents are the teachers. Watched 2 "show moms" shoot straight alcohol into a goats rectum to get the tail to stand up in a jackpot show where they had the only show goats in a goat show of otherwise all sale barn goats. They could have won with the blankets still on it was that obvious. Then I just felt sad for them and wondered how far they'd go in a show full of similar goats. It is what it is, just got to do the best you can with your kids and not worry about what others are doing. That's the latest strategy at our house anyway.
1/14/2015 04:23:38 pm
People like that should be banned for life from the show circuit. What great role models. Really does beg the question of what would happen in a big show. Disgusting. I would have got pictures or video and publicly humiliated those parents.
I disagree with the main premise of this article. As a dairy exhibitor (knowing the industry is different than many others simply because of the species), it's nearly impossible to overcome 'cheaters' for two reasons.
1/16/2015 03:59:33 am
I agree completely with the function and fashion comments you've made... spot on! I also think there are a lot of parents who whine about losing to assumed cheaters based on hear say. In a perfect world the animals would be bred for performance and function by the children whom are the reason for the competitions in the first place. When my children show it will be animals they've worked to feed on there own, that way even if they lose they will know that they accomplished a goal.
out of it parent
1/14/2015 01:59:43 pm
We just got tired of it. Tired of being told the old way to win was to back date the girl's ages. We refused. Funny all our measurements and epd's match or exceed the breed. Also amusing that our 2nd year girls were beating those same 1st year calves if they showed up. Got tired of watching someone freeze brand a feather on a Hereford red neck steer just so he would qualify. Fyi those are cheaters. Cheaters who cross breed to club bulls and run them Angus or Short. Tired of seeing cattle sold for 50 k. No student can afford that....so disappointed in it all now. It is not near what it was 20 years ago
1/15/2015 03:58:23 am
It is clear you got in it for the wrong reasons if your sole goal is to win then don't bother! If you want a great way to teach your kids real life lessons and values I would challenge you to try it again with a positive mindset and find a mentor that can help you be competitive!
1/14/2015 02:02:29 pm
There are cheaters in all areas of life, we are honest with our kids about that. Our kids have won many ribbons and that's great but I am most proud of the fact that they do the work. They get up before school and take care of their animals and do the same after school into the evening. They are learning the value of hard work and responsibility. What I dislike is those parents who do the work for their child and act as if their child really earned that banner when what really occurred is they spent a lot of money for excellent genetics and did all the work for the kid. I know that when my kids get a ribbon, they earned it and most importantly they know they earned it and hopefully are learning it takes hard work to succeed. This is why your child should participate in 4-H/FFA. If your going to do the work for your child your not teaching them anything. In my opinion you are cheating them out of a valuable life lesson.
Great article. I grew up where my Grandpa and Dad taught us to show what you own or buy a reasonable animal from a local that will produce and be a quality product for a consumer ie the fair buyer. I have never cheated and feel no reason to. I also do not try to sell people a bill of goods about my goats. They are functional healthy and may never win the banner yet with work and training will always be in the top end. I have seen my share of the funny feeds and etc and it is bothersome 1) because someone is going to eat that animal and 2) we present to the public everything that makes them leary of us as a industry. I am a fiirm believer that hard work and honesty will always prevail and the cheaters get theirs in the end as well. I try to explain to kids that life isn't always fair and nice guys may not finish first today but they will sleep well tonight. If we punish rule breakers we will show kids there is a price to pay. Just as we show them that integrity pays as well. Once again well written article. I will try not to be a whiner.
1/14/2015 04:26:32 pm
I respect you and all the people that raise pigs. But I lived around this long enough to see that the kids with an average pig cant win or atleast make what the parents spent. That is why I never let my kids take part in this parent fight and pig growing competition. To me its all about the the kids, not about the best breed from so and so. People have lost touch with what its about! I will never support the 4h again until it gets back to showing a normal pig not a steroid pig!!
1/14/2015 10:47:50 pm
Wesley I appreciate you reading and taking the time to comment!! I do have to point out something you said that bothers me.
1/16/2015 11:09:17 am
I agree it's about the kids (4h & FFA). But, it's about teaching the kids about business. Each time you show you look for ways to improve your product (pig). You can't settle on average and be mad when someone else does better. We got tired of the high prices for pigs so we bought a gilt and my daughter (12) chose a sire to use for AI, based on qualities she thought would compliment the gilt's. We will see how it goes and make adjustments as needed to get the desired qualities. That's what it's about, real life experience in ag business, or at least it should be. Win or lose it's a learning and growing experience. Make it a positive one.
8/3/2016 06:56:37 pm
Why are you pointing the finger ?
1/14/2015 04:27:32 pm
When I first read this article I thought to myself wow what a great expression on how not to be a wuss the next time you get beat. Then I got to the comment and I read on. It's sad, extremely sad that you "parents" and "mentors" will stand back behind your computer screen and talk about expensive gentics, animals breed for the show ring, and then to be nervy enough to say that you don't understand why your functional cattle stand mid pack. What's wrong with the gentics? Is it because they are bred to show, and not produce? that's part of it showing livestock, and a part that will never change it will only continue to get better. It's not the 80's anymore people. There's a price to pay for showing livestock and being competitive. If you always wanna be last then that's fine, be don't bash the few of us who take pride in our "show animals" because we like winning.
1/14/2015 10:35:18 pm
When my kids showed this happened.
1/14/2015 10:41:10 pm
Thank you for your prospective, in our society we focus on the win not the preserve it takes to get to that goal. I have always thought that it was best for the industry to not say anything negative unless it could be proved. We have to be mindful of what we are really teaching our children. Again than you for a great article.
1/14/2015 11:14:27 pm
I enjoyed your article, when my daughter showed she was consistently at the bottom of the class. She did not work with her animals as much as she should have. we got really dumb luck one time and the judge that year absolutely hated my daughters sheep and when they were gonna give heather a blue ribbon the judge informed them it was only a red ribbon sheep.
1/14/2015 11:21:29 pm
Very good article. I agree with you 100%. I have always thought that if they would cap the prize money, a lot of the dishonesty would go away on its own. The project shows have moved away from the reason they were created; to teach the kids how to raise and take care of their own animals. The parents, in my opinion, should only be minimally involved. Its for the kids, not the parents.
1/15/2015 12:00:41 am
Great article! I can totally relate, I was a swine breeder for many years, both selling seedstock and showpigs. Showing myself in breeding shows, and my two boys had wonderful success showing. We had numerous champions at all levels and of course had to endure many untrue comments. I still, and always will believe the show industry still provides one of the greatest ways to promote character and responsibility in our youth in so many ways. I am not saying there aren't any cheaters in the showring, we all know there are. However, I will say this, the level of cheating that goes on is far less than the whining done by many parents and leaders to their youth about so and so won because they cheated, or they knew the judge. It is a microcosim of what is wrong with America that needs to change. We have become a bunch of whiners and excuse makers when we don't succeed, to excuse our lack of preperation or lack of work to succeed. This is usually learned by the youth from their leaders, just as success is learned by the youth through their leaders. So we all need to be better leaders at all levels,and that includes our government leaders. Lack of Leadership runs down hill to those under that leadership fast. So, let us all be aware of our leadership at all times and places.
1/15/2015 12:07:22 am
The difference between now and the old days is we have everything at our fingertips available instantly. I can look up 20+ year old news articles about forfeiture of winnings due to dirty animals, I can log into a website and learn of practices from retired show families that many top dogs in the industry would rather you not know about. In the past, I researched some of the cheating that has been archived in news publications. One thing that has really bothered me about these news articles is they always name the exhibitor and rarely name anyone else. The champion picture in front of the backdrop can have 20 -30 people proudly standing around the champion as if it were a team effort but when the proverbial manure hits the fan, only one is left standing to face the music, the kid.
Be full of grace
1/15/2015 01:14:29 am
I found the most important lesson to teach a child is humility. It doesn't matter if it is football, baseball, or stock showing. No one likes a boastful winner or a sore lose.
1/15/2015 02:52:13 am
First, thanks for taking on a touchy subject. I understand the frustration with showing livestock. My family and I are not big or small, we're in between. We show a lot throughout the summer and county and state fair. To say we see our fair share of cheating is an understatement!! When we see known cheaters at a show, we understand that we will consider it a "win" if we can place second or even third to them because we do it with honesty and integrity...always. And we always show what we raise. We also stress the importance of showmanship. My children are excellent showman because they work at it! If you are complaining about the cheaters and never stacking up to them, focus on showmanship. It can at times feel political, but often the cheaters are NOT good showman!! Don't give up on an industry because of others. Like many have commented, it is what you make it. If you work hard and enjoy the journey, you will get there. Not everyone is going to be a national champion, so enjoy the family time and experience and know that you have done things the "right" way.
Blamed for something we never did!!
1/15/2015 05:45:34 am
So tired of the whiners. Thank you for the article. We were lucky enough to win many times. And we were accused many times of cheating! We never once cheated, never once used anything we weren't supposed to. We worked hard day and night. Many others in our county bought animals and didn't work with them but thought they should win. But when they didn't win, we cheated. We did not have a cooler but we grew hair with a lot of work. I am just saying, just because you win doesn't mean you cheat. And should not give anybody the excuse or the right to be able to accuse you of cheating. Not everyone who wins.....cheats.
1/15/2015 05:54:37 am
Excellent piece Kate! I think it reaches far beyond the show ring to any other competitive arena in society. Nobody likes a winner. We should thrive on other's success because it gives us a goal. Even if we don't win the "big prize", it ups our game above where we were when we started. In other words, you still win.
1/15/2015 06:30:55 am
Thank you for saying what needed to be said. My kids worked their way up from worst to first and then had a very public incident of being falsely accused of cheating. It almost destroyed my kids. I was particularly astounded at the vitriol thrown at two young kids by adults, both in person and on social media. When the investigation was done and my kids were cleared it still continued. I will say the livestock show involved was apologetic to us and reinstated the kids immediately but they were also "played" and realized they had been manipulated as well. I agree that 99% of the exhibitors are honest but there is a very mean 1% that will destroy a kid to an advantage. We were naive and trusting and unfortunately my kids learned a tough lesson about bad people. However the good people in livestock are absolutely amazing and my kids could not have weathered the very public storm without the good people in the industry.
1/15/2015 08:38:24 am
The problem with a parent cheating is they are teaching their children to cheat to win. Often times the people That are being accused are accused for good reason. Teach your kids that hard work and good ethics pay off. Cheating is not always the answer. FFA and 4H should be about the kids and what life lessons they can learn. Not how much money or belt buckles we can win.
accused for no reason
1/15/2015 09:55:12 am
You....My friend...are wrong. Often times people being accused are being accused because they won. Not for good reason. They didn't cheat, they won. My kids were accused when we won,and very publicly. Their rights were reinstated when found not guilty along with both of us parents. Yet other competitors kept up the name calling. Enough is enough. Found not guilty,reinstated, no apology and still being accused. My kids learned a hard lesson. Do Not Trust Anybody.
1/15/2015 11:26:52 am
This article has some sense and truth to it but at the same time when state fairs have people doing unethical practices and nothing gets done I call bullshit! Your kids don't have to be told that because when you get beat with a good one enough by a pos they eventually figure it out themselves cause kids aren't stupid these days. So if u think this article makes it all better you are wrong! Get your shit together and get after the show officials and make something ha
1/15/2015 03:12:31 pm
I've heard the whiners talk about good people as well and that's wrong and shouldn't occur, however, in her comments this lady claims 99.9 percent of the exhibitors are honest and ethical and that's wrong as well. Think about it, five cheaters in a 5000 animal show or 1/2 of a cheater in a 500 animal show. You can see them in the barns-cheating, they ask you to help them cheat, they've been caught cheating and nothing has happened to them, they just go on to win the next show, so I believe the problem is more prevalent than this article is attempting to portray. I've sat in meetings with the speaker, a big name cheat who was caught, talking about how we should be ethical and what a wonderful experience their show years were to big applause from personnel sharing the stage. People rush to purchase projects from cheats who have been caught. Cheats still hawk their great feed product to showmen. Cheats are extolled for their great skills in helping other kids "learn to fit" livestock. These are all examples of proven dishonesty, not rumors. Hard work will win but cheaters win as well and until the show management gets serious about their own rules and exhibitors boycott known violators the problem will remain.
Show mom in texas
1/16/2015 04:10:04 am
AMEN! So true.... When those cheaters kids are done showing they then recruit new kids to "help". I don't blame the kids but more the parents because they should know better. When cheating is brought to the administration of shows and/or schools with nothing done, it just a pass to those cheaters. It's not about whining as much as trying to get the right people to do the right thing.
1/17/2015 09:42:15 am
My daughter's have showed meat rabbits at our county shiw for years. As I type this response we are sitting at the auction. I have no doubt that our judges in our show are qualified and ethical. I have listened to one patent in particular complain year after year about how the judges are horrible, and how the winners area fixed. Last year my daughter won Grand Champion fryer rabbit. She wasted no time coming to tell me how the results were not fair. Well, this year both of her daughters took a very top spot. I wonder if she thinks the judges were legit this year. All you do is poison your kids when you make them think they only lost a top spot because the judge was "bought".
1/17/2015 09:55:13 am
4-H should not be treated like a professional show. It should be about kids raising animals. This obsession with hair is ridiculous. Use of coolers should be against the rules. The price paid for the child's calf should be disclosed and posted (which I'm sure parent's would lie about). In our area an often-used judge is a breeder who has a yearly "club-calf" sale of his own! Give me a break. Children should be taught how to raise a beef animal not how to grow and trim hair. My cousin's used to win grand champion beef every year at the county fair a generation ago by raising the best calves their dad bought at a feeder sale. Good luck with that now.
1/25/2015 10:33:02 am
1/26/2015 09:21:02 am
When does cheating and talk of cheating matter?
2/11/2015 12:54:27 am
Good article. In the livestock show ethics work I've done around the country I impress on 4-H/FFA members and parents to mind their own business. Don't worry about what others are doing----until an issue slaps you upside the face. Then you must address it or you become part of the problem if you let the 1% operate in immunity.
6/9/2015 04:09:13 am
I was speaking with someone whose child is very competitive in the major Texas market steer competitions. He told me that they buy their steers from a breeder in Oklahoma. They tell the breeder which show they plan on attending and how they want to place at that show. The breeder will tell them which steer they will take to that show and what price they will pay for the steer (usually between $15,000 and $40,000). If they buy the steer, the breeder can guarantee that they will place however they want to at that major show. If they pay enough to get a guarantee to win a Grand Championship at a particular major show, they will win at that show.
1/14/2016 06:43:13 pm
I have a hard time believing any breeder will guarantee a placing. Breeders have a general idea if how they will do depending on quality and a price is determined accordingly to said quality.
7/21/2015 06:41:36 am
While overlooking the issue let's praise the FEW families that win that don't either have the judge in there pocket or injecting there animals with many illegal substances. I see the biggest problem in the sheep shows. As a whole we'd rather overlook the problem than to battle against the "fitters". Overall we've been train to do so. Take baseball for instance how many players were found guilty of injecting steroids? Now we except them (A-Rod, Roger Clemens, Jose Conseco etc...) and even cheer for these athletes. The sheep business is quite the same. The 4H'er is kicked out from competing at the State Fair or other shows, because the animal contained illegal substances. However, what happens to the fitter? Nothing at all what a shame! This response is everything wrong with the industry overlook the problem pretend it doesn't exist and continue to tell yourself it's not that bad. The fact is 4H for the most part is not at all what it was intended to be. Don't agree? Then please respond and explain to me how $70,000+ steers, $10,000+ weathers and $10,000+ barrows reflects the original intent of 4H. How's does this relate to the 4H pledge that's recited at most 4H meetings? If you don't think most of these shows are judge with great preduice your horribly disconnected from the showing industry. Also, I wondering what parents tell there kids when asked "the Smith family spends 100K on there steers how can we win?" The answer for the most part is you won't no matter how hard you work. They're connected with the judge or they spent so much money on there steer lineup that others don't have a realistic chance. Lastly, I agree there are a FEW families doing it right and winning, however, unfortaney and especially at the bigger shows that's simply not the case. Keep overlooking the problem and it will only get worse.
7/21/2015 09:08:23 am
I have showed cattle at the national level, judged jackpots and county fairs, and helped families at all levels. This article is spot on. If you believe everything you hear ringside, the best animal has NEVER won any show. The problem is that people refuse to realize that either their stock isn't as good as they thought, or they aren't being managed right. Sorry. When excuses like that are made, nothing changes and they get beat again the next year.
7/23/2015 04:00:25 am
Unfortunately, it's a little more complicated in the horse shows. Not all unscrupulous horse show tactics are necessarily cheating but I never agreed with judges placing horses first that won (and it is common to do so) with abusive methods, because it just encourages those abusive training methods to spread, because they are effective and get results.
Just a parent
6/9/2016 09:20:23 am
7/22/2016 08:53:33 am
My beef with these shows is the disconnect between what it takes to win in the ring vs the reality of raising profitable stock. In the "real" world, you would be looked upon as insane if you showered your steer every morning, spray painted their bunghole, sheared your goat in the middle of winter, trained them to halter, ran them on a treadmill, then starved them just before taking them to market. Not to mention paying more for the stock than they bring in the auction barn. Yet I have seen all that in the show world. Thankfully, my kids figured that out early and just enjoyed the experience and the paycheck.
7/22/2016 02:23:02 pm
Personally being the looser all the time i have came to relize , the more you flirt and show off your self the better you do . Plus is your parents dont have big fancy names or farms you might as well never enter the ring . Want to know how ik ill tell yeah i swiched cattle at the show with the girl that always beats me she fitter her animal and i did mine but before entering the ring we swiched cattle . She won with my calf and i lost with hers when the funny thing was it was the judge from a week before that chose her calf over mine so this time i should of one after all it was the same calf he chose before so yes the judges r more crooked than anything . Just goes to show showing isnt like it used to be which is a shame amd yes almost every body cheats but who cares about that it dont make shit when the judge is picking and judging the hot lil numbers holding the calf instead
1/15/2017 04:06:18 pm
I agree 100 percent. My only complaint has ever been when we don't get qualified judges when there are plenty of qualified people in the surrounding areas that we could get. I think that a qualified person who can adequately teach and talk about the animal and breed they are judging is a valuable asset to any and all shows. Any animal on any given day at any show is being judged by someone who is giving their opinion. It is not necessarily a reflection of cheating, wrongdoings or bad quality.
7/21/2017 04:00:40 pm
This article was very well written. Let me tell you first and foremost, my heart hurts for you and your family. We could have written the beginning of your article ourselves from experience. We have been hurts by those we thought were our friends and slandered by those that were jealous. We have always taught our own children and children that showed with us to work hard, do your best and hopes it pays off in the end. If you win be humble. If you loose do it graciously and genuinely congratulate those who took the banner. This generation of adults want "everyone to be a winner" That is not life. If you didnt take home the banner this time find out what you can do to improve, go hime and work harder. Don't make the excuse of cheating.
7/22/2017 01:21:18 pm
I understand where u come from . How ever the show around here are rigged some how heres why my boyfriend at time (hudband now) family wins all the time he showed my calf it won hands down i showed his it lost . Next day switched back he won i lost just simply because of his last name . Its at every county show here ! Funny thing was all my cattle was siblings to his raised same place not bit diffrence . We decided we would go to a place no one knew of our name and farm ( money) and our children hasnt won every show they actually got to compete . So i can see where u come from but Also gotta realise like here how it is . I o ly stuck wigh showing cAuse i loved it but ik if i hAd any of the 5 richer lids competing against me id loose , the families hadnt done anything for it to happen but it dose i judge my home town show now when im handed the list i pitch it if the kids deserve it they get it if i find one better or more appleaing they get it names mean nothing to me . My kids dont compete at this fair they show but i dont judge them because they r my kids and its not fair so that way im not bias but they understand and just like showing . People have gotten mad at me cause my twins usually have the only bucket calf so naturally they have to win however when their is others they r not judged . Sorry for the rant but just wanted to say u have a point but so do the parents some shows are riged ive seen first hand but im nice stick in pocket but never look at it however after the show people get mad but money should not make u win when u dont have as good of cattle as someone with out !
9/16/2018 12:51:23 pm
Thanks for saying what needs to be said! I really enjoyed the article. I did not grow up in show world, but married into it, and am so thankful we've raised our son in 4-H, FFA, and showing lambs and goats. As I've become more absorbed in livestock showing, I've been so disheartened by the politics of it - yes, the actual cheating, but mostly the chatter about perceived cheating as a way to feel better about losing. Yes, some rules must be in place and should be enforced, and a proven cheater should be permanently booted out, in my opinion. But, excessive rules make this already intimidating world even more so. I find this unfortunate because I'd rather see more participation, not less. Also intimidating is the harsh accusations and negative chatter about those who are winning, which makes some new families reconsider their interest because of the politics. As we've become more successful and been the subject of such chatter, I almost wanted to give up on it. It almost made me hope we wouldn't win just to stay out of the center of it. It didn't take much time for me to shake it off for the sake of my son and the lessons he is learning. We have always taught him to win gracefully and, more importantly, to lose gracefully. In this world we "lose" more than we win. We walk out of every show analyzing what we should be doing differently - different animals, better feeding, more time in the barn, more exercise, better showing technique, more focus on the task, etc. It is never about what others are doing. It is not just about winning. It is about the experience of raising and showing animals, working hard, putting ethics first, and celebrating not only our wins, but others' wins, too. Unfortunately, all the nasty talk about cheating, "buying" the judge, etc has forced another lesson for all of us, especially our son... hold your head high, be an open book, always offer to help others, and know without any doubt that ethics always comes before winning, and never be ashamed of how you do, win or lose. Period.
9/19/2018 01:32:17 pm
Character is who you are when NO ONE is looking. There are few left in society with character and integrity and those people at a stock show are no different. People cheat on their taxes, spouse, their place of employment by not putting in an honest days work but want paid. They cheat for "fame and fortune" or the thrill of being superior. But sometimes , not even for anything that matters, they just were brought up that way and don't know the difference. Let's not fool ourselves. Cheaters win and they win a whole lot. Sometimes people with integrity and character occasionally do win and it is at times like these that people are truly "over-joyed" for them. Most true competitors don't mind getting beat if they were beat by a legitimate animal that is indeed superior. I may be partial but stock show folks are better than the average "Joe" off the street but no matter how you look at it, that's reality. How you deal with that information as a parent will define you. Kids are watching what YOU do and BECOME what they see. Scary thought for the next generation of livestock shows.
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Loved reading this tthanks
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Kate Lambert grew up in northern Illinois, not on a farm but active in FFA and showing livestock.
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