Online Livestock Showmanship Clinics Helped 4-H’ers Hone Their Skills

The COVID-19 pandemic left 4-H animal show managers with questions on to how to move forward with their animal events in 2020.

As a result, a lot of shows that served as practice opportunities leading up to county fairs were canceled. At the same time, youth were encouraged to continue working toward  their show goals and develop new showmanship skills.

“The North Dakota 4-H Animal Science Program Planning Committee responded to this difficult situation by coming together to host a virtual livestock showmanship clinic  series,” says Leigh Ann Skurupey, interim chair of the NDSU Extension Center for 4-H Youth Development.

The series covered topics such as animal training, grooming and feeding, equipment and 4-H character for eight species: beef cattle, sheep, goats, swine, horses, poultry, dairy  cattle and rabbits.

The series wasn’t just for North Dakota youth. It attracted hundreds of participants from throughout the U.S. and Canada. They ranged from 93 participants for the rabbit clinic to 260 for the horse clinic.

“I took the clinic to learn more about my small animals and how to show them better in 4-H,” says LaMoure County 4-H’er Emelia Lehr, who participated in the poultry clinic. She has four roosters and 15 hens, and shows her roosters Bo and Walter at local fairs and county 4-H Achievement Days. She also shows her rabbit.

The clinic definitely was worthwhile, according to her.

“I have been to some live showmanship clinics in my county and really learned a lot,” she says. “This online clinic benefitted me because I could get a review of what I learned at them and learn a couple new things.”

Leigh Ann Skurupey, 701-231-7179,

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