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5 Tips to Keep Judging Teams Interesting

Fair season is upon us, and for 4-H members, it also means that judging season is in full swing. As teams work to become masters of their topics, it can be challenging to keep complex subjects fun and exciting to learn about. Here are 5 tips for keeping judging teams interesting.

#1 Include Activities and Games

Activities and games are great ways to break up the practice, while at the same time allowing the youth to practice what they have been learning. Ideally the game will be only five to ten minutes, just long enough to provide a quick burst of energy and excitement to hold them through another concept.

Students judging beef cattle at the Animal Sciences Meat and Livestock Judging Clinic.

#2 Practice… With More Than Pictures

Pictures and videos can be utilized to help youth learn in a classroom setting, but there is nothing like being able to go out and see the animals in person. By partnering with local producers, teams can analyze more animals, to see what a good or bad animal actually looks like. Hands on practice is also a great way to simulate competition scenarios.

Students in an auditorium classroom.

#3 Use all the Resources Available

Social media platforms, like Facebook, can be utilized to help youth practice their skills frequently. Practice classes can be posted on a platform of your choice, youth can then evaluate the class, and send their reasons back, all without having to meet face to face. This also enables the youth to practice more frequently.

#4 Find and Share Your Yesources

When you find a resource that you like, don’t forget to share with everyone. There are multiple websites that publish good practice classes and official placings with reasons. For livestock judging teams there are websites like, livestockjudging.com and surechamp.com, that post classes for practice. If you have an idea, do not be afraid to share or question with others in the community.

#5 Go to Clinics and Competitions

Students judging pigs at the Animal Sciences Meat and Livestock Judging Clinic.

Clinics are a great place for youth to sharpen their skills and update their knowledge. Competitions may be the ending point for many judging teams, but this is also one of the best places to network with other competitors and coaches to learn what has and has not worked for them.

Good luck to you and your teams this competition season!