Youth Sheep Exhibits at NYS Fair

2024 Entry Procedures

All entries must be submitted on the NYS Fair website by 11:59 on August 2, 2024.

  • NYS Fair 4-H Animal Science Show Entries must be completed via ShoWorks on the NYS Fair website by Friday, August 2 at 11:59 pm.
  • When registering different species, separate forms must be completed.
  • Exhibitors must receive endorsement of a county 4-H Educator, FFA Advisor or other breed organization to compete at the NYS Fair. Any entry that does not receive endorsement may be scratched.  Exhibitors should contact their local CCE Association before you enter to make verify eligibility and carefully follow any instructions provided.

Contest Rules and Premium Books

Official NYS Fair contest rules, information, schedule and Premium books are updated regularly. Exhibitors should regularly consult the NYS Fair How to Enter website for the most recent changes and deadlines.  Youth exhibitors should contact their local CCE Association before entering to make verify eligibility to participate at the State Fair and follow carefully any instructions provided.

Youth Sheep Show Information

  1. New York State Dept. 51 entries must be quality endorsed by a 4-H Cornell Cooperative Extension Youth Educator or by an Agricultural Education (FFA) Advisor or by an authorized representative of a qualified related youth organization before they can be accepted by the NYS Fair. 4-H’ers may send their entries directly to the Fair as soon as the entry bears the endorsement of a county Cornell Cooperative Extension Youth Educator or other party designated above to endorse its entries. Youth are encouraged to submit their animal entries within ten days after the member’s County Fair closes.  
  2. All Youth Sheep entries must conform to the Animal Health Regulations of the Department of Agriculture and Markets.  The entire scrapie ID must be recorded on the CVI.  For example:  NYKCM/B1A0 or NY75003/1333.
  3. All Youth Sheep will be housed in the Open Class Sheep Tent.  All Youth Sheep will be shown in the Open Class Sheep show ring.
  4. All Youth Sheep must have been owned by the exhibitor by no later than June 15 of the current year.  The owner must show their own animals, except if they have more than one animal in a class, in which case they may have another Youth show their second animal.  A Youth is limited to exhibiting two animals per class.  See Department 51, General Information, item F. For non-ownership rule.  Youth showing larger breeds may be allowed to have another youth assist in showing their sheep.  This will not apply to market lambs.
  5. Out of respect for the exhibitors and the spectators in the Sheep Barn, five head show stands should not be used in the aisle ways near or around the Show Ring.
  6. Any exception to the above rules must be approved by the Superintendent prior to Show Day.
  7. All Youth Sheep entered in breeding classes must be properly identified.  Registration papers must be in the exhibitor’s name except as noted in Department 51, General Information, Item F. Ownership Rule.  Registration papers must be presented for all sheep entered in those classes limited to registered sheep.  All sheep must have official scrapie ID tags or tattoos in ears with ID number. 
  8. Lambs entered in breeding classes may not be shown in market classes, nor may lambs entered in market classes be shown in breeding classes.  Only wether and ewe lambs may be shown in market classes.  Market lambs must be sheared after August 1.  It is recommended the shearing of wool be done during the week of the Fair.  Market lambs must be penned and shown under proper show rules.  No artificial stimulants, stretching, etc. will be allowed.  See the Superintendent for more details.
  9. All Youth Sheep exhibitors must enter one of the regular showmanship classes.  Youth are encouraged to participate in activities at the Wool Center .
  10. Youth Sheep may be entered in open classes by pre-entering in accordance with Open Class rules and regulations and must be pre-entered by Open Class Deadline.
  11. All Youth Department Sheep participants staying overnight on the New York State Fairgrounds are to sleep in the Youth Dormitories.  No Sheep Youth Department participants may sleep in the Youth Department animal exhibit areas. The only exception for these overnight rules is for parents or legal guardians to stay in area hotels or campers on the State Fairgrounds.  Parents and legal guardians who choose this option must turn in the Housing Exception Form available from their local Cornell Cooperative Extension Office.  This exception does not include lodging or staying in an animal barn.  Parents or legal guardians will assume full responsibility for the action and well-being of each of their children for whom an exception is requested and approved. 
  12. Youth Sheep exhibitors will be required to clean their own pens at departure time.
  13. Additional premiums based on placings and the number exhibited in each class will be paid from a fund of $500 donated by the New York Sheep Improvement Project and matched by the NY State Fair.  The exact schedule of premiums will be available at the time of the Fair.
  • All sheep must have official scrapie ID ear tags (or tattoo) with ID number. 
  • All sheep must be inspected by a vet at the Vet Check Station behind the tent.
  • Original health papers must accompany the animal for inspection upon arrival on the Fairgrounds.  Health papers must be presented to the superintendent before sheep may be unloaded.
  • 4-H Sheep exhibitors who desire to enter open class must pre-enter by the date for Open Class entries 
  • Registration papers will be checked. 


All exhibitors are urged to dress in long pants/slacks, wear socks, and lace shoes/sneakers.  T-shirts will be provided for Showmanship and should also be worn for the Breed classes.  Anyone interested in making donations as a sponsor for the t-shirts should contact theYouth Sheep Show Superintendent for information.

Regular Fitting and Showmanship Classes

All exhibitors must enter one of these classes and may show a “breed sheep” or a market lamb.

  • Class 300 – Novice Showmanship – Never been in Showmanship Contest at State Fair.  Halters permitted, but not recommended.
  • Class 301 – Junior Showmanship – not yet 14 years of age as of January 1 of the current year.  No halters permitted.
  • Class 302 – Senior Showmanship – at least 14 years of age as of January 1 of the current year.  No halters permitted.

Note:  All sheep shown in the Junior and Senior Showmanship class must be fitted by the exhibitor.  No assistance from other fitters will be allowed.


Team Showmanship (Optional)

This event will be a showmanship contest with two exhibitors showing an animal.  The sheep must be owned and fitted by at least one of the exhibitors.  There will be two classes, a junior class and a senior class.  There will be no novice class.  However, first time exhibitors at the New York State Fair are encouraged to enter in their age groups.

If you do not have a partner at the time entries are due, you may create a team after arriving at the Fair and enter at that time.

  • Class 401 – Junior – Both team members are not yet 14 years of age as of January 1 of current year.
  • Class 402 – Senior – One or both members of the team are at least 14 years of age as of January 1 of current year.

Breeding Classes

Base dates are September 1 and January 1

Youth Exhibitor’s Flock.  The flock will contain from one breed a ram and two ewes.  The three sheep may come from the same age class or from different age classes.

Market Class


  • Class 500  - Market Classes – Single wether or ewe market  lamb.  Should be shown slick sheared.  Market Lambs should be shown solo, one exhibitor per lamb.
  • Class 505 – Pair of Market Lambs
    • Groups will be determined by a sort of the weights of the entered animals.  Based on this sort, entries will be divided into approximately four equal weight groups (light, medium, intermediate and heavy).


Fleece Classes

  • Class 149 – Fine Wool (64’s and finer – 22 micron)
  • Class 150 – Medium Wool (50’s thru 62’s –22-30 micron)
  • Class 151 – Long Wool (48’s and coarser – 31 micron)
  • Class 152 – Colored Wool
  • Premiums:       
    • Blue Ribbons - $4.50
    • Red Ribbons -  $3.00
    • White Ribbons - $1.50

Awards include Champion and Reserve Champion ribbon.

Fitting Contest


Class 600 – Sheep Fitting

  • Contestants can be in any age group and will be able to have a “helper."  The helper must be a Junior and the helper will not be allowed to do any shearing either electric or hand shearing.  They will be allowed to card, trim hooves, clean ears, etc.
  • Sheep must have at least 1” of wool before the contest and meat breeds should be washed beforehand.  (Allow 6 – 7 weeks of regrowth for 1” of wool on most breeds.
  • Sheep must be supplied by the exhibitor and may be of any wool or meat breed.
  • Judging of the fitting job will occur at the conclusion of 90 minutes of fitting.  Prizes will be awarded to the Champion Fitter at the exhibitors’ meeting on Sunday.

Sheep Herdsmanship

All youth exhibitors will be responsible for the herdsmanship of their animals, pens, aisle area in front of their pens and display area above the exhibitor pens.  Expectations will be discussed at the exhibitors’ meeting.  Be sure to show off your farm  in your display.