Last fall the Purebred Dairy Cattle Association (PDCA) updated their showmanship scorecard. The committee felt the scorecard should more accurately reflect how showmanship is evaluated. They removed the strict-point system allocated to leading, posing and appearance, just to name a few, and replaced it with a discrimination system of slight, moderate and serious.
It really is a focus on the basics. Simple showmanship items like clean animals, halter fitting, pace of leading and spacing between your animal and others are stressed. But, showmanship is also about making the animal look its best, leading an alert animal with her head held high as she parades around the ring, not fidgeting excessively with her. These are just a few of the more clearly explained parts of the scorecard.
Hoard's Dairyman dedicated an article in three issues to address the showmanship changes (March 10, March 25 and April 10). There is also a new book and CD available, "Leading to Win," that shows the new scorecard in action. They are available in the Hoard's Dairyman bookstore.
At a recent county fair, the showmanship judge asked the fair committee if he could address the junior exhibitors prior to the start of showmanship to discuss the changes. I commend the judge for being proactive and knowledgeable on the new rules, but also wanting a fair and equitable contest, where all exhibitors knew that there were new rules and they were being applied. This did not put any junior at a disadvantage if they were not aware of the changes made by PDCA. This eliminated possible issues that could arise with some youth following old guidelines and others adhering to the new ones.
Serving as a showmanship judge, not only takes dairy knowledge, but an appreciation for youth and the time they invest with their dairy animals. Whether they were at the top of the class or the other end, I guarantee every exhibitor in those 10 showmanship classes that day walked away with at least three things they can use to improve their showmanship skills, from the presentation before the classes or in the judge's reasons at the conclusion.
I believe because of the proactive behavior of this judge, this showmanship morning (and afternoon) was educational for youth, parents, leaders and the spectators in the stands.
In the video below, Peter Coyne, the showmanship judge, talks about his interpretation of the PDCA changes and how he plans to evaluate showmanship exhibitors under the new PDCA Showmanship Evaluation guidelines.