4 Things to Consider Before You Enter a Virtual Stock Show

( Jennifer Shike )

As the first virtual shows dance their way across social media feeds in the livestock world, more and more people are thinking about trying out one of these new experiences.

Cassidy Hayes of Port Lavaca, Texas, says virtual shows give kids and families an alternative to showing their animals during the COVID-19 pandemic. He served as the gilt show judge in The American virtual stock show.

“I know concern for where we are headed is great right now, but I don't think there's an industry out there with a more loyal following. As long as we continue to create ways for kids to have their animals evaluated, participation will naturally follow. I hope the success of this inaugural event fuels everyone's fire and we continue to push forward with what we can do at this time,” Hayes says.

After judging the barrows in The American, Todd Beyers of Abernathy, Texas, says he highly encourages youth exhibitors to participate in a virtual show. 
Beyers and Hayes offer a few suggestions based on their experience judging The American.

1.    Read the rules carefully. 
Follow the recommended time allotments for your video entry. Rules may vary from show to show, so take note of those specific details before you start taping.

2.    Present your pigs on shavings or grass when possible.
“Animals just look better when they can pop off a softer surface than walking on hard concrete without bedding,” Beyers says. “Take the time to make sure those animals are on a surface that gives them the best opportunity to be comfortable in their environment.”

3.    Make your views memorable.
Remember that the first 10 seconds of your video are like the first 10 seconds the judge sees your pigs in the showring. Make them count, Hayes says. “In a show the size of The American, it’s the same concept as a major show: you must be memorable in order to succeed.”

4.    Confirm that your video uploaded correctly.
Don’t wait until the last minute to submit your entry, Beyers advises. Allow time to follow up with the show entry team to make sure the video came through in a high enough quality resolution. “If it’s too blurry, it’s hard to do much with it,” he adds. “Double check that it went through in a presentable fashion.”

Hayes thinks the popularity of this version of exhibition will rise. Why? It's simple for families to do and doesn't involve the stress of travel and preparing for a live show. 

“As a judge though, it doesn't compare in my mind as far as seeing the animals in person and being able to compare the animals in a class all side by side. I also think the human element of live shows and the togetherness it creates will always make them the best showing experience for junior exhibitors,” Hayes says.

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