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Skillathon Contest Basics


A stockmen's contest is a comprehensive test of knowledge about livestock. The subject matter covered relates directly to 4-H livestock work by members. The Stockmen's Contest format is used in many events around Virginia, as part of county fairs and regional livestock shows. The State Contest held at the Virginia Beef Expo is for both 4-H and FFA members.


4-H members must be enrolled in a livestock project in the Extension unit they represent in this contest. FFA members must be enrolled in the chapter they represent. Junior division contestants are 9-13 years old by January 1 of the current year. Senior contestants are 14-19 years old by January 1 of the current year. Students are not eligible if they have begun college prior to June 1 of the current year. Eligibility may change from contest to contest, please review each contest's rules closely.

The Contest

Classes in the contest could include:

  1. Written test with questions concerning total livestock industry
  2. Identification of pieces of livestock equipment
  3. Identification of use of pieces of livestock equipment
  4. Identification of breeds of beef cattle, meat goats, sheep, and hogs
  5. Identification of feeds
  6. Identification of use of feeds
  7. Identification of retail cuts of meat
  8. Judging Class of retail cuts
  9. Questions about a class of retail cuts
  10. Class of keep/cull or judging class of breeding animals
  11. Judging Class(es) of four breeding/market animals
  12. Questions on Judging Class(es)
  13. Scenario Class
  14. Questions on scenario class
  15. Judging Class of hay
  16. Questions on class of hay

Awards at the State Contest

Within each age division there will be ribbons and awards awarded to the top twenty (Top 10 Juniors; Top 10 Seniors) placing individuals and the top ten teams (Top 5 Junior; Top 5 Senior), based upon total score. In addition, awards are given to the top individuals in both the Junior and Senior contests for Quiz & Identifiation and Judging & Questions. The top team is invited to participate in the National Skill-a-thon contest held in Louisville, KY in November. Every contestant will receive a participation award.


Entries requirements are listed with all of the individual contests. 

Stockmen's Contests



Katherine Carter
Extension Youth Animal Science Specialist
(540) 231-2257

Scott Greiner
Extension Animal Science Specialist
(540) 231-9159



Virginia 4-H Livestock Programs Endowment

The Virginia 4-H Foundation is spearheading the advancement of the Virginia 4-H Youth Livestock Programs Endowment. 4-H livestock programming is funded through a combination of private gifts, endowment income, gifts in kind, and participant fees.

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