NC State Fair Horse Shows, Livestock Competitions & More
Fall is in the air and sooner than you know it the annual N.C. State Fair will be in full swing, with all the fun, food and entertainment that make our state fair one of the best in the nation. October’s 10-day event promises, once again, to have something for everyone, including some of the most competitive livestock and horse show competitions in the state.
How to Enter an NC State Fair Competition
The rules for entering a General Competition at the state fair in such categories as Fine Arts & Photography, Bees & Honey, Graphic Design, Heritage Tobacco Harvest and Specialty Cooking vary greatly from rules and applications for entering in either a Livestock or Horse Show Competition. A simple form must be filled out and submitted online, mailed or hand-delivered to the NC State Fair Entry Office, with exhibits accepted at the fairgrounds several days prior to the start of the fair.
Because there is such a wide variety of livestock being shown at the fair, entry deadlines and fees, show dates, health regulations, prize amounts and rules and regulations vary greatly. Junior Competitions require that all exhibitors be able to show their animal without assistance, and each competitor must be able to show that they have worked with the animal for at least 60 days prior to the show date. Extensive additional requirements exist for all non-Junior or -Youth events, including information on the animal’s breed associations, breeding, and overall background.
In order to enter a horse show competition, the form, again, is very complex, and the schedule of entry fees and actual competitions is long and detailed. Horses are required to meet certain health, size and age requirements and an extensive list of rules and regulations is published regarding all aspects of housing, training, feeding, and otherwise caring for the horse.
Livestock competitions take place in either the Fairgrounds’ Exposition Center, the Kelley Building or Jim Graham Building, during every day of the fair. Awards shows, senior showmanship displays, and – a favorite – the Jr. Dairy Cattle Costume Class Show take place the final day of the fair. Some of the more interesting competitions include the following.
- Pygmy goats. Pygmy goats must be registered with the National Pygmy Goat Association, and each goat will compete either in the Costume Class, the Obstacle Course, Best Mother/Daughter competition, the Get-of-Sire contest (three females owned by one individual showing superior traits and consistent quality) and the Exhibitor’s Trio (three goats are required to show consistent style and structure and be perfect examples of their breed).
- Wool Breeds Sheep. Sheep must have been owned by their owners for at least 30 days beforehand and are judged according to the grade of their wool (fine/medium, long/coarse or dual-coated animals) and class (sex and age). All sheep must have at least 2 inches of fleece, and the sheep’s owner must be prepared to provide the animal’s breed or cross-breed.
- Market Gilt. A purebred or crossbred gilt – or, young female pig that has not yet been bred – is required to weigh between 230 and 290 pounds upon check-in and have at least a half-inch of hair.
- Open Dairy Cattle. Over $100,000 in prizes are awarded to the wines of this popular category. Show dates are broken down by breed – Ayrshire, Brown Swiss, Guernsey, Holstein, or Jersey – and the animals judged according to superior breeding and age and group classifications… Spring Heifer Calf, Summer Yearling Heifer, Dry Cow and Best Udder, for instance.
Around thirty college students and high school students every year are named recipients of Stair Fair Youth scholarships. The number of recipients varies slightly year to year based on qualified applicants and funds available, but all scholarships are for $2,000 and are highly prized.
Although the vast number of horse competitions take place daily during the fair, one competition – the important Hunter Jumper Show – takes place earlier, from October 2nd through the 6th. Remaining events occur October 16-27 and never overlap so that all who wish to see each event might do so.
- Oct 16-19 Saddlebred, Morgan, Hackney, Roadster, Friesian, Academy and
Carolina Summer Circuit Championship
- 20, am Mules/Donkeys, Mini Mules/Donkeys
- Oct 20, pm Draft Horse pull
- Oct 21-22 Draft Horses 7 Light Draft Horses
- Oct 23 Extreme Trail Challenge
- Oct 25 Miniature Horses
- Oct 25-27 Open Youth Show
Find out more here –