Since 2011, over 10,000 youth in NY youth have participated in nine animal-related skillathons during the New York State Fair. Species included beef, dairy, dog, goat, horse, poultry, rabbit, cavies (guinea pigs), sheep, and swine. Although contests may have different names such as the Dairy Challenge, Hippology, Rabbit & Cavy Science Decathlon, Poultry Judging and Dog or Livestock Skillathon, they are all Skillathons.
Skillathons focus on experiential learning and allow youth to solidify their learning with hands-on experiences.
In New York state, the objectives of livestock skillathons are:
- To provide youth with the opportunity to blend knowledge and skills acquired in livestock judging, demonstrations, care, and exhibition of animals into one activity.
- To provide youth who have no opportunities for livestock ownership with an opportunity to learn about the importance of livestock and their products to the environment and economy.
- To encourage youth to continue expanding their knowledge and participation.
- To recognize youth for their total involvement in and comprehension of the livestock industry.
- To instill ethical values, good sportsmanship, and product evaluation skills.