NC State Extension Publications

General Knowledge Information

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Taking part in a 4-H Livestock Project can be an exciting and rewarding experience. Through the beef project you are given the opportunity to learn about taking care of an animal, working with other young people, and developing sound judgment skills. When beginning with any new project or activity it is a learning experience for all involved, but remember the more you practice and participate the more you will develop the necessary skills to be a success.

Below are the most important aspects that you should know about your project animal to make your learning experience complete. These items will expand your knowledge above the five and six year old level into new and more challenging areas.

Items to Learn and Know

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  • Basic information from Beef Exhibitor's Project Guide (5-6 Years of Age)
  • Differences between forages and concentrates
  • Products produced: cuts of beef - T-bone steak, ribeye steak, hamburger, etc.
  • Ruminant digestive system with its 4 compartment stomach: ruman, reticulum, omasum, abomasum
  • Physical strengths and weaknesses of animal exhibited
  • Species terminology
    • Bull - male
    • Steer - castrated male
    • Cow - mature female
    • Heifer - immature female

Body Parts to Know

  • Hock
  • Hooks
  • Loin
  • Pastern
  • Pins
  • Quarter
  • Shoulder
  • Stifle

Basic Equipment to Know

  • Blocking chute
  • Tattoo pliers
  • Ear tagger
  • Blower
  • Neck rope
Diagram of beef cattle body parts.

Diagram of beef cattle body parts.

Basic equipment for beef cattle showmanship.

Basic equipment for beef cattle showmanship.

Beef Showmanship Danish Standards for 7 and 8 Year Old Exhibitors

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Showmanship provides the opportunity to show an animal to the best of your ability. You are judged on how well you show your animal. Judging for showmanship does not include the conformation of the animal. Practice and planning will help you improve your showmanship skills. The Beef Cattle Showmanship factsheet offers more in-depth coverage of showmanship styles and care of the project animal.

Below are the showmanship standards for 7 and 8 year old youths. These standards are established to provide youth with guidelines of the more important aspects of developing showmanship skills.

Showmanship Skills to Develop

  1. Be able to perform all the tasks required for five and six year olds (Beef Exhibitor's Project Guide (5-6 Years of Age))
  2. Lead and control animal with proper technique.
  3. Ability to display animal so that the judge has the best view of the animal at all times.
  4. Be aware of the surroundings and show process. Watch the judge, your animal, and the other exhibitors.
  5. Be courteous and helpful to the other exhibitors.
  6. Answer age-appropriate questions.

Description of Group Ribbon Colors

Purple: Far exceeds established showmanship standards

Blue: Exceeds established showmanship standards

Red: Meets established showmanship standards

White: Does not meet established showmanship standards


Special acknowledgment is extended to the following individuals for their valuable contribution to the development of this educational material. Frank Bolick, Watauga County; J.D. Brooks, Buncombe; Kathy Bunton, Alexander County; Walter Earle, Wilson County; Michael Hobbs, Buncombe County; Brinton Hopkins, PhD, Department of Animal Science; Ronald Huges, Johnson County; Kenneth Vaughn, Iredell County.


Extension Livestock Specialist
Animal Science
Extension Livestock Technician
Animal Science

Find more information at the following NC State Extension websites:

Publication date: Jan. 1, 2003

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