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South Dakota 4H Livestock Judging Series

South Dakota 4-H Livestock Judging Series

The series is a collaboration between the SDSU Animal Science Department

and South Dakota State 4-H


Goals of the Livestock Judging Series

  1. To encourage more involvement in the livestock judging activity amongst South Dakota 4-H youth throughout the year and at the state contest.
  2. To encourage further growth in contestants’ ability to observe, understand, and recognize differences in live animal evaluation.
  3. To improve public speaking, poise, and confidence in the youth through oral reasons.
  4. To train youth to be individuals with outstanding honesty, integrity, and communication skills.
  5. To allow more opportunities for youth to expand their knowledge of livestock species.d

Guidelines and Rules

  1. Open to current South Dakota 4-H members that are in good standing.
  2. Divisions for the Livestock Judging series will be split into THREE divisions based on 4-H age: Senior (14-18) Junior (11-13) and Beginner (8-10) (4-H age is age as of January 1).
    1. Each contest may have different rules or ages specifications. Contests are not required to standardize age ranges to these divisions, but it is encouraged.
  3. To be eligible for the series awards which will be given out after the state 4-H contest, contestants must compete in at least 3 total contests, which includes a minimum of 2 eligible contests, PLUSthe State 4-H contest.
  4. Points will be awarded in the manner listed below.
    1. For each contest completed a contestant will receive 5 points.
    2. Contestants finishing in the top 20 of each contest will receive points within their respective division.  Points are awarded will be 20 for first place, on down to 1 point for 20th place.
      1. Example: 1st place – 20 points, 2nd – 19 points, 3rd – 18 points, etc.
      2. If there is less than 20 contestants in a contest each contestant will still receive the max 20 points and etc.
      3. Points rewarded for rankings of individuals are in addition to participation points given at each contest completed.
    3. We understand contestants sometimes move up an age division and fill a team, or a contest may have only one division and not the three recommended.
      1. In those and any other instances the scoring will be awarded in the manner below.
        1. Whichever division of the contest a contestant participates in is their choice. The points will be awarded in his/her actual age division 20-1 point(s).
          1. For instance, if contestant A is 12 years old and is stepping up a division from the junior division to the senior in a specific contest and receives 5th place, then that contestant receives 16 points, and those points are applied to the name of the contestant in the junior division for the series points.
          2. Another example is a contest has different age division or no age divisions. In this case the scoring will be similar. If a contestant in the junior division for the series receives 5th place in the contest and a contestant in the senior division of the series receives 6th place in the contest, then, the junior contestant will receive 16 points towards their name in the junior division of the series and the senior contestant will receive 15 points toward their name in the senior division of the series.
          3. For further questions regarding scoring please email
    4. All scores from the contests will be acquired from the contests via the chairperson of each individual contest. Therefore, all contest scores will be FINAL once received from the chairperson. The chairperson should send the score to within 2 weeks after the contest.
    5. Attendance of SDSU Livestock Judging Camp will receive 10 points.
    6. Contests at camps are not open to non-camp participants. It is not the intention to include these camps to require youth to attend a camp, rather reward the youth who would go to the camp regardless of its inclusion as a part of the series to enhance their livestock evaluation skills and to allow for more contests to be included in the format of the Judging Series program to allow as many contests in the program as possible.
  5. Rankings and award winners will be determined by the best three placings at eligible contests, plus, placing from the State 4-H contest, and points for total contests and camps attended.  Youth may participate in as many eligible contests as they would like/are able to.  There is no limit on the number of participation points that can be earned.
    1. Example 1: Judger A finishes 1, 5, 7, 17, and 20 at eligible contests, 3rd at the state contest, and doesn’t attend judging camps. They earn (20), (16), (14) for top three eligible contests, 18 points for the state contest, 30 points for contests attended, for a total score of 98.
    2. Example 2: Judge B finishes 12, 15, 17, at eligible contests and 18 at the state contest and attended judging camp. They earn 9, 6, 4, for eligible contests, 3 for the state contest, and 20 for contest participation, and 10 for attending camp. Judge B’s final points are 52.
  6. The program emphasizes and promotes attendance and participation of events and opportunities to learn in compliment to the quality of the participation. Also, where only the best 3 scores count it allows for a contestant to drop a poor score if they attend more than 3 eligible contests.
  7. In event of a tie, it will be broken as follows:
    1. Placing at State 4-H contest
  8. There will be awards for the top 5 in all three divisions.



  1. State 4-H Contest, Brookings
  2. Sioux Empire Stock Show, Sioux Falls
  3. Little International, Brookings
  4. Black Hills Stock Show, Rapid City
  5. Area Livestock Judging Contest, Howard
  6. Regional Livestock Judging Contest, Clark
  7. Millar Angus Youth Fest Livestock Judging Contest, Sturgis
  8. Lincoln County Judging Contest, Canton
  9. Davison County Livestock Judging Contest, Mitchell
  10. Missouri River Regional Livestock Judging Contest, Pukwana
  11. Minnehaha 4-H Livestock Judging Contest, Sioux Falls
  12. SDSU Judging Camp Session 1 and 2 (Can only attend one)
    Additional Contests
    1. 4-H Youth Program Advisors may request to have a local or regional event added to this list.  Expectations for a local event to be added to the list are
      1. Minimum of 5 classes
      2. Three species represented (Beef, Swine, Sheep, or Meat Goat)
      3. Minimum of one set of oral reasons or two sets of five questions for the senior and junior contest. No additional requirements for beginner division.
      4. The contest needs a minimum of 2 qualified individuals and no maximum amount, to serve as contest official judges. The officials should put placings and cuts on the classes. Also, the official committee should write the questions and score reasons.
      5. Must contact Brady Jensen via email at, one month advance of the contest, to have your contest accepted to be a part of the program.
    2. The SDSU Livestock Judging Team would be willing to assist, if possible, in running these contests and any new contests with the help of the hosting party.

Posted Results

1. Results and scores for the South Dakota Livestock Judging Series will be posted unofficially on IGROW for two weeks. After two weeks the results will become official.

2. If an individual would like to report an error in the scoring and/or question the results, they must file a formal written grievance within the two weeks of unofficial results. The grievance should be filed to Brady Jensen in the SDSU Animal Science Department. His email is:


Below are the top 5 finalists in each series for 2019.

Beginners' Series

 First nameLast name# of ContestsScore


Juniors' Series

1FirstLast# of ContestsScore


Seniors' Series

 First nameLast name# of ContestsScore
5Emily Nold7104