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South Dakota 4-H Livestock Judging Series

The series is a collaboration between the SDSU Animal Science Department and South Dakota State 4-H.

  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.
  1. Open to current South Dakota 4-H members that are in good standing.
  2. A participant must register and pay the $5 entry fee or late fee to become a member of the SD 4-H Livestock Judging Series to receive points earned at the participating contests.
    1. If the participant registers for the SD 4-H Livestock Judging Series after a contest date, the points of the earlier contests will count. However, it would be recommended that the contestant notifies Grace Olinger of the contests they have participated in prior to submitting their entry fee.
  3. 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.
  4. 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, PLUS the State 4-H contest.
  5. Points will be awarded in the manner listed below. For each contest completed a contestant will receive 5 points.
    1. Contestants finishing in the top 20 of each contest will receive points within their respective division.
    2. 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. Points will be awarded according to the youth’s finish against ALL participants in the contest, not just South Dakota 4-H members.
    4. Attendance of SDSU Livestock Judging Camp will receive 10 points.
    5. 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 Grace Olinger.
  6. 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 Grace Olinger within 2 weeks after the contest.
  7. 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.
  8. 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: Judge 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, 20 for contest participation and 10 for attending camp. Judge B’s final points are 52.
  9. 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.
  10. In event of a tie, it will be broken as follows:
    1. Placing at State 4-H contest.
  11. There will be awards for the top 5 in all three divisions.

4-H Youth Program Advisors may request to have a local or regional event added. 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)
    1. Livestock – Contact local producers and 4-H members to have livestock available for the contest. It is not required, but if the livestock are available to stay until after the contest so contestants can go back through them, that is very beneficial from an educational stand point!
    2. A contest doesn’t need to have any specific class, but should meet the 3 species requirement.
  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. Officials and individuals taking reasons should not be coaches or parents of participants.
  5. Facilities – Provide panels, class signs and any additional equipment needed to facilitate a contest.
  6. Scoring – You will be responsible for the actual scoring of the contest. After the scores are official, the contest must send the final rankings of each division to Grace Olinger.
  7. Volunteers – Ensure enough help to have group leaders, announcers, time keepers and livestock handlers.
  8. Additional Awards – This is not a requirement, but feel free to get as much local support and provide any additional awards! The more of this you can provide, the more people will want to come back to your contest.
  9. Communication – We will provide any assistance we can, just keep us informed on how we can help!
  10. Must contact Grace Olinger via email, one month advance of the contest, to have your contest accepted to be a part of the program. Information should include:
    1. Complete hosting form by sending details of contest (exact location, registration information, contact information, times of contest).

Sioux Empire Stock Show, Sioux Falls

January 28 


Black Hills Stock Show, Youth Day, Rapid City

February 3  

Contact: Regina Bakley


SDSU Judging Camp Session 1 (can only attend 1), Brookings

June 5-7


SDSU Judging Camp Session 2, Brookings                                                  

June 9-11

Contact: Thomas Norman


Miner County Livestock Judging Contest, Miner County 4-H Grounds, 203 West Wilson, Howard, SD 57349

July 17

Registration 5:30 p.m.

Contact: Jillian Calmus 


Lincoln County Livestock Judging Contest, Lincoln County Fairgrounds, 27711 HWY 17, Lennox, SD

July 23

Registration 9:30 p.m.

Contact: W. Sweeter


Hutchinson County Livestock Judging Contest, Hutchinson County Fairgrounds, Tripp (35 miles south of Mitchell on Hwy 37)

August 1 

Registration 5:30–6 p.m.

Contact: Deanna Gall


State 4-H Contest, Brookings

September TBD 

Contact: Thomas Norman


**more information coming soon**

RankingNameContests AttendedTotal Points
1Torree O.122
2Thatcher W.115
N/ALuke H.N/AN/A
RankingNameContests AttendedTotal Points
1Creighten W.21
2Hannah S.20
3Tenley O.116
4Jacob H.210

SDSU Livestock Judging camp is excluded from the contests attended but is still included in the calculation of total points.

RankingNameContests AttendedTotal Points
1Landon B.44
2Payton B.236
3Max N.115
4Quinton B.5
N/AChance B.N/AN/A
N/AChisum B.N/AN/A

SDSU Livestock Judging camp is excluded from the contests attended but is still included in the calculation of total points.