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Serving: MO

Missouri State Fair offers 6 new livestock competitions

Courtesy Missouri Department of Agriculture lamb fitting at fair
TEAM EFFORT: Often it takes a crew to get any animal — in this instance, a lamb — ready to show. This year, sheep exhibitors will have a chance to participate in a Team Fitting Contest. It is new for the 2021 Missouri State Fair.
The state fair returns to live events and brings with it new shows for 4-H and FFA exhibitors.

The Missouri State Fair is just a little over a month away, and this year, there are new contests for 4-H and FFA livestock exhibitors.

Last year, due to COVID-19, many states across the country did not go on with their fairs. But Missouri youth worked all year on projects, whether to be exhibited in the livestock arenas, 4-H Building or FFA Building.

“The Missouri State Fair is the one place they go each year,” Missouri State Fair director Mark Wolfe said last year. “For many of us, seeing our youth livestock exhibitors caring for their animals, preparing them for show and then handling them in the show ring is among the best parts of the fair each year. It is important to the kids and their parents.”

So, the Missouri State Fair held a modified youth livestock exhibition.

While youth and their parents enjoyed the shortened fair, many are ready for the 2021 Missouri State Fair to return to normal. And this year, it is going beyond the routine and adding new contests and livestock shows for youth.

Here are six events that were added to the fair:

1. Dairy market wether goats. 4-H and FFA members can exhibit market dairy goats during the state fair. These market goats can be crossbred but must be 100% dairy goats. They should be less than 1 year of age. Market wether goats will be weighed in after registration, and classes will be set by weight. Only two dairy market wether goats are allowed per exhibitor.

2. Beef adds a breed. Miniature Hereford cattle will hit the state fair show arena this year. All entries must be registered with the American Hereford Association. The Missouri State Fair requires that every miniature Hereford entry, including cow-calf pairs, be measured. Maximum height allowed to be shown in these new classes is 45 inches on females and 48 inches on bulls and steers.

3. Youth sheep skillathon. This new event is hosted by Lincoln University Extension and University of Missouri Extension. The sheep skillathon allows 4-H and FFA youth a chance to test their knowledge of sheep production, according to the Missouri State Fair Premium Guide. There are three age divisions for the event.

4. Youth sheep and meat goat judging contest. This new contest is open to all Missouri youth ages 5 to 21. There will be four divisions: Novice (ages 5 to 8), Junior (ages 9 to 13), Senior (ages 14 to 18) and Pro (ages 19 to 21). Each team must be entered by a sponsor, either an FFA advisor or a 4-H instructor.

5. Sheep team fitting competition. Teams will consist of three members — one is a supervisor of any age, including but not limited to a 4-H leader, parent or ag instructor; one is a junior age 12 or younger; and the other must show in the wether dam or junior breeding shows. Note, the supervisor may not touch the animal. Time limit is 1.5 hours for fitting. The event takes place in the Sheep Pavilion.

6. Open rabbits add breeds. This open rabbit show offers exhibitors a chance to showcase different breeds — Broken Satin Angora, Dwarf Papillion and Black Lionhead at the Missouri State Fair.

For a complete listing of the rules and classes for these new shows and events, visit the online Premium Guide.

Entry deadlines

If you plant to enter livestock or other items in the Missouri State Fair competitions, make sure you hit these deadlines:

July 1. 4-H/FFA and open livestock entries

July 15. Queen contest

July 20. Agriculture: country hams, mild cured ham, bacon, sausage, snack sticks and jerky; Fine Arts: Missouri Junior Top 50, photography, porcelain, amateur/professional; Home Economics: All entries

July 23. Opening Day parade entries by 5 p.m.

July 26. Draft horse, draft horse pull, pony pull

July 31. Agriculture: dairy products

For more information about what’s new in state fair contests and shows, visit the Competition Updates page.

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