Judging & Contests

The Houston Livestock Show™ hosts several contests and judging competitions for students to sharpen their skills. While the majority of the contests are only applicable for Texas 4-H and FFA members, the Public Speaking Contest and Agricultural Science Fair are open to eligible Houston students. 

Agricultural Mechanics

Agricultural Mechanics

The Agricultural Mechanics Project Show highlights the many talents of Texas 4-H and FFA members. These individuals build gates, hay haulers, trailers and more. These items can be seen on display in NRG Center — an awe-inspiring display of amazing workable works of art.


Agricultural Science Fair

Agricultural Science Fair

Students study 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.

This contest is open to all students in the Houston area who meet qualifications.

Ag Robotics Contest

Ag Robotics

The Ag Robotics Contest is designed to allow members to demonstrate their robotics, engineering and problem-solving skills. From a set of challenges, six revealed prior to the contest and two revealed at the contest, and within an allotted amount of time, teams of three to six members build, program, and test their robot. Teams then attempt to earn points by completing as many challenges as possible.

Beef Quiz Bowl

Beef Quiz Bowl

4-H and FFA Beef Quiz Bowl Contest
In this tournament-style contest, teams are tested on their overall knowledge on beef cattle production, including nutrition, reproduction, and cuts of beef. Each state can enter up to three teams in the competition.

Commercial Steer

Commercial Steer

Exhibitors in the Junior Commercial Steer Feeding and Management Contest learn actual beef production practices from raising, to feeding and selling the steers. Along with raising a pen of three 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. Lastly, steers are sold at a special sale.

Judging Contests

Judging Contests

The Houston Livestock Show™ hosts judging contests that provide junior high, high school and college students an opportunity to establish a solid foundation for cultivating and practicing decision-making skills.

4-H and FFA
  • Dairy Judging
  • Floriculture
  • Horse Judging
  • Livestock Judging
  • Nursery Landscape
  • Meat Judging
  • Poultry Judging
  • Range and Pasture Plant Identification
  • Wildlife Habitat Evaluation
  • Wool Judging
Intercollegiate
  • Livestock Judging
  • Meat Judging
  • Wool Judging

The top 30 high-scoring individuals participating in the 4-H and FFA livestock judging contest and the top 20 in the 4-H and FFA dairy judging contest receive calf purchase certificates to be used toward the purchase of quality beef heifers or market steers. These contest winners, along with their animals, then become part of the regular calf scramble program.

Poster Contest

Poster Board

Projects in the 4-H and FFA Poster Contest focus on the conservation or enhancement of Texas wildlife habitat affecting multiple species or the preservation or enhancement of a particular Texas wildlife species. 

Projects are judged on the quality and accuracy of the information presented and the relevance of the project to the preservation or enhancement of Texas wildlife.

Public Speaking

Public Speaking

Speakers give a presentation on one division topic — Western heritage, natural resources, animal science, agronomy science, agribusiness, agricultural policy, agricultural technology, agricultural communications or livestock show ethics.

The Public Speaking Contest is open to all students in the Houston area who meet qualifications.

Tractor Technician

Tractor Technician

Start your engines! Teams race against the clock to 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.