Everyone knows a story of a tremendous catch in the calf scramble at RodeoHouston®. Those lucky Texas 4-H and FFA members return to the next year’s Houston Livestock Show™ to compete in the Junior Scramble Heifer Show.
Breeding Beef Heifers
Breeding beef heifers compete over a three day period in nearly 20 different breeds. All heifers are judged in the categories of Heifer Calves, Junior Heifers and Senior Heifers, depending on their birth date. Each breed is judged on their breed’s desired characteristics, and each division’s overall winners return to compete in the Supreme Champion Drive.
A gilt is a young female swine about 6 months old. Gilts are divided into pre-set age divisions within their respective breeds, and the Champions compete in the Supreme Champion drive.
More than 10 different breeds compete in the Breeding Sheep Show. Classes are split into ram, ewe and group categories, then broken into age classes. The Supreme Champion Ewe is chosen from the winners of all breed classes.
Barrows are shown by breed and divided into weight divisions. Each breed champion competes for the Junior Market Barrow Champion title.
Pens of three broilers fill part of Reliant Arena in hopes of becoming the Champion Junior Market Broiler Pen.
Exhibitors show their animals in weight divisions. The Grand and Reserve Grand Champions from each division compete for the title of Grand Champion Junior Market Goat.
Junior Market Lambs are judged in several categories, including Fine Wool, Fine Wool Cross, Medium Wool, and Southdown. Each category is broken into weight divisions. The animals are judged on separate sets of qualifications based on their category. Champion Market Lambs compete for high premiums and championship titles.
Steers compete within their breed, and each breeds’ champion is selected based on the desired traits of the breed. Champion steers in each breed travel to Reliant Stadium for the “Championship Drive,” where the Grand Champion Steer is selected in front of thousands of RodeoHouston fans.
After months of raising these large birds, the competition comes down to judging in Reliant Arena. After judging the toms (males) and hens (females), the championship title is awarded to the turkey that possesses the most desirable traits.
Agricultural Mechanics Project Show
This Show highlights the many talents of Texas 4-H and FFA members. These individuals build gates, hay haulers, trailers and more, all on display in Reliant Center - an awe-inspiring display of amazing workable works of art.
Agricultural Science Fair
The Agriculture Science Fair recognizes students studying the application of agricultural scientific principles and emerging technologies in agricultural enterprises. Categories a student may enter include: Animal Systems, Environmental Services/Natural Resource Systems, Food Products and Processing Systems, Plant Systems, Power/Structural/Technical Systems, and Social Systems. The Agricultural Science Fair is open to all students in the Houston area who meet qualifications, as well as members of Texas 4-H and FFA.
Beef Quiz Bowl
National 4-H and FFA Invitational Beef Quiz Bowl Contest
In this tournament-style contest, teams are tested on their knowledge of beef. Each state can enter up to three teams in the competition. Contestants must be 4-H or FFA members and be between the ages of 14 and 19.
A favorite event at RodeoHouston, these exhibitors actually receive quite the award. Successfully catching a calf may be surprisingly the easiest part. Each of the students who catch a calf is awarded a $1,500 certificate to purchase a registered beef heifer or a market steer. Raising and showing this animal becomes a yearlong project as the scrambler sees to the grooming, feeding and care of the animal. The exhibitor returns to the Houston Livestock Show the following year for a special competition.
Commercial Steer Feeding and Management
This contest is a practical beef production program. Emphasis is placed on feeding economy. Each entry consists of a pen of three steers. Along with raising a pen of steers, exhibitors are required to complete a quiz, oral interview, and submit a completed record book of all feedings and weights from the previous months. Additional scoring is based on each steer’s quality and yield grade, the cost per pound gained, the average daily gain, and the feed conversion production. Steers are sold at a special sale.
Decision-making skills learned at a young age play a vital role in meeting the challenges that life offers. The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo hosts nine judging contests that provide junior high, high school and college students an opportunity to establish a solid foundation for cultivating and practicing these skills.
- 4-H and FFA Dairy Judging
- 4-H and FFA Horse Judging
- 4-H and FFA Livestock Judging
Intercollegiate Livestock Judging
These contests require the students to match their skills in selecting the best quality livestock of various species against placings of an officially qualified livestock judge. Each contestant is asked to place, in numerical order from highest to lowest quality, each of four animals in several classes. Scores are determined by a point value based on the difference between animals.
The top 20 high-scoring individuals participating in either the 4-H and FFA livestock judging contests or in the 4-H and FFA dairy judging contest receive calf purchase certificates to be used toward the purchase of quality beef or dairy heifers, or market steers. These contest winners, along with their animals, then become part of the regular calf scramble program.
The intercollegiate judging contests are conducted in the same manner as the 4-H and FFA contests with one exception: the college students are required to give oral reasons, which are graded as well, explaining how they placed each animal in the class.
4-H and FFA Floriculture
4-H and FFA Nursury Landscape
This contest is separated into three parts. In part one, contestants identify 50 different specimens, which may consist of any part of a plant. In part two, contestants place six classes, greenery or container grown plants. In part three, contestants are given a general knowledge exam, consisting 50 multiple choice questions.
4-H and FFA Meats Judging
Intercollegiate Meat Judging
This contest allows contestants to apply their industry knowledge and judging skills. Teams of four contestants judge beef, pork and lamb carcasses. Written reasons pertaining to the quality and yield differences must be given.
4-H and FFA Poultry Judging
Contestants place poultry classes, including one dozen cartons of chicken eggs, past production egg-type hens (students rank live hens according to estimated past egg production based on the coloring of pigmentation of the hen's egg), turkey carcasses, and pre-cooked, breaded chicken patties. The contest includes a written examination, poultry carcass parts for identification and chicken eggs for interior quality grading.
4-H and FFA Wildlife Habitat Evaluation
This contest tests students' knowledge on identifying potential problems that can occur in wildlife habitats. Contestants work independently on food identification, habitat interpretation using aerial photography and on-site habitat management recommendations. Senior division contestants also give independent oral reasons and complete a rural or urban wildlife management plan.
4-H and FFA Wool Judging
Intercollegiate Wool And Mohair Judging
The contest involves placing breed and commercial fleeces and classifying 15 fleeces of wool into various grades and spinning counts. Special attention is paid to the wool's staple length and yield, and the highest yielding fleeces are ranked first, followed in order by those with a lesser yield. Additionally, contestants will determine the correct grades for a class of 30 mohair samples.
Range and Pasture Plant Identification
This contest involves identification of a minimum of 50 grass samples and range plants. Their value, either beneficial or detrimental to livestock and wildlife, is determined and recorded by each contestant.
The Public Speaking Contest is open to all students in the Houston area who meet qualifications, as well as members of Texas 4-H and FFA. Speakers present talked on one division topic — Western heritage, natural resources, animal science, plant science, agribusiness, agricultural policy or agriscience.
Each three-member team in this contest must locate and correct five deliberately placed malfunctions in diesel-fueled tractors. Each team is given two minutes to review a service work order, and, 25 minutes to complete the task. If successful, a designated driver then starts the tractor and drives it around a predetermined course. Each participant must complete a 100-question written exam and an evaluation of 20 tractor and implement components.