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Livestock Show Clothes Dress for Success in the Show Ring

Livestock Show Clothes Dress for Success in the Show Ring

Show Ring Swagger

Lessons for the Junior Showman and Beyond

You’ve put in the sweat equity, invested the time and money into your animal, and it’s your time to shine! In the Livestock Show Ring you will have just a few short minutes to impress upon just one judge as to why you deserve that Purple Ribbon or the opportunity to hang that Grand Champion Banner. No matter if your event is a County Fair, Jackpot Show, National Livestock Show, or a Major, the way your present yourself and your animal matters in those few short minutes. 

We can get so swept up in packing all the buckets, clippers, stands, halters, and basically everything from the barn that show clothes might be a last minute grab and go. Don’t make that mistake. Plan it out, prepare yourself, get it together. You may have the absolute best animal in the ring but the judge is drawn to the fact that your shirt (that may have fit last year) is a mid drift shirt you can’t keep tucked in. After all how focused will you be on setting up your animal if your back is showing every time you lean forward just a bit? That’s obviously an exaggerated example but think on the bigger side of things. Comfort matters when you need to be a showman and well fitting clothes don’t just happen. 

At our house we talk a lot about how a poor showman can make a great animal look bad and a great showman can make any animal look good. So putting those thoughts into what is a showman I would say it’s the complete package. You wouldn’t want your apparel choices to outshine your animal and likewise you wouldn’t want them to undershine either. It’s about that Swagger of confidence combined with the humble understanding that one judge holds the fate of your placing in their mind. What will you feel comfortable moving in but confident enough to accept the handshake and pose for the photo with. 

Here are a few key points to think about

Are my jeans clean, free of holes, long enough to cover my ankles but short enough I won’t be tripping over them, and comfortable enough to give me the flexibility to set up and present my animal?

Does my shirt fit well, cover all my bare necessities, and present mine and my animals style and sense of fashion without being a distraction for the reason I’m here- to show livestock?

Is my footwear choice packed, comfortable, clean, and protective? Showing up to the ring with your rubber boots on because you forgot your show boots is letting your animal down. 

Details matter. All the way down to the belt, buckle, jewelry, anything you wear on your persons should be thought out. Is your buckle so big you can’t brace, or your necklace so stacked it clanks like a junk car when you lead your steer? Keeping in mind you probably weren’t wearing them when you were in your barn clothes will they be a distraction for your animal. I believe the right accessories can really pop and add that bit of flair to draw attention to you and your animal but keeping it in balance and somewhat simple is much safer than overboard. 

I’m all for a flashy top and trendy choices but only select people can pull it off.  After all would every judge be able to rock the Ryan Rash look? Simpler is better but clean and well fitting is critical. 

A friend of ours made one t-shirts that say Show Ring Swagger and my son is obsessed. I think about that phrase and what it means. Be proud, well represented, and “the total package.” When those pieces combined with the best animal you can present fall into place you will, with certainty, have Show Ring Swagger! 

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