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4-H General Rules from the Handbook



All exhibits must have been made since last year’s fair.

  1. 4-H members should enroll in a project or division of the project for which he or she is best suited and would give the most assistance to the family.  A member always exhibits in the highest division completed. 
  2. A boy or girl living in one county may be a member in another county if it is more convenient.
  3. Membership: Youth may become 4-H members when they enter the third grade and continue through grade 12. They may continue membership for a maximum of ten (10) consecutive years. An individual will be considered in the grade they are classified regardless of the time of year they enroll in 4-H and will advance in grade when they enroll in school the next year. 
  4. Local clubs have their own requirements decided upon by the club members through a voting process.
  5. Hamilton County 4-H exhibits- All members will follow the instructions of their leaders for preparation of their projects for exhibit, transportation, and release of projects. The project exhibit is prepared according to the    4-H manual and Hamilton County Handbook.
  6. Placing in all projects will be done on the Danish system. An exhibit may receive a blue, red, or white ribbon depending upon the quality of exhibits as indicated by the judge. All livestock exhibit classes will be placed first through final place, (Swine one thru ten) in addition to the Danish ribbon placing. In order for an exhibit to receive a Champion ribbon, an exhibit must be a blue ribbon exhibit and worthy of a Champion as indicated by the judge. 
  7. There must be three (3) entries in a section or class for a Champion to be selected unless the judge warrants a special Champion.
  8. After Champion is selected, the second place exhibit in that same class automatically becomes eligible to show for Reserve; likewise a Reserve Champion to an exhibit selected for Grand Champion becomes eligible for Reserve Grand Champion.
  9. Club Projects- A Champion will be given to a group or club exhibit but the exhibit will not be considered for a Grand Champion.
  10. All exhibits must remain in place until officially released which will be on JULY 20 from 9:00-11:00 a.m. and 5:00-7:00 p.m. This does NOT include non-sale livestock which are released from 7:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. on JULY 20. Cats, dogs, and pocket pets are released after judging
  11. EARLY RELEASE PENALTY - A 4-H’er who chooses to take their 4-H animals home prior to the fair animal release time, will incur the following penalty: 4-H’er will not be allowed to participate in the 4-H livestock auction of the current fair and will not be allowed to exhibit in the project at the next year’s fair but will be            allowed to complete the project the next year.
  12. ALL MEMBERS MUST ENTER AND SHOW THEIR OWN ANIMALS. Exception: If the member has more than one (1) animal in a class. 4-H’er must get permission from Barn Superintendent to have another Hamilton County 4-H’er show their additional animal.
  13. Records must be complete to be eligible for State Fair entry or to be eligible for Champion selection. Prior to judging, 4-H leaders will notify the Extension Office of incomplete records from their club (by Tuesday, JULY 6, 2021) and the highest ribbon received will be a red ribbon. Also those exhibiting livestock with incomplete records in addition to the above will be ineligible to participate in the livestock auction.
  14. Doors will be closed to the public during all closed judging. See project requirements.
  15. Poster Rules: All posters must be 22” x 28” (displayed horizontally) and have a hard backing (foam board, paneling, plywood, etc. are acceptable backings). Please note: Foam board may not be sold in the appropriate size. Measure foam board before using. All posters must be covered with clear plastic to protect them from dirt, etc. Plastic sleeves and foam board are available at the Extension Office for purchase. Plastic may be removed if the judge so desires. Poster board may be white or any color.  (Mat board requires hard backing.) Displayed Horizontal – 28”, Vertical – 22”. Frames are not encouraged, and if used must not exceed size requirements (22” x 28”). A small information label approximately 2” x 3” should be located in the lower right hand corner of the poster under the plastic. Information label should include: name and club (unless specified otherwise in your project manual). Boards used as part of a larger exhibit are not considered posters. Fair Exhibit Tag should be placed on the outside of the plastic on the front of the poster. This is a separate tag (available from your leader or at the Extension Office).
  16. Late entries or incorrect exhibits will receive one (1) ribbon lower than the judge’s decision. Leaders in charge of each project should write “late” on the label if the exhibit arrives after entry deadline. No late entry can receive more than a red ribbon. All Exhibits must be finished before entering the building for check-in.
  17. Any project condoning or promoting the use of alcoholic beverages or illegal drugs will not be accepted for exhibit.
  18. No item/project will be accepted after judging has occurred
  19. No overnight permits issued
  20. All unauthorized personnel will vacate premises by midnight.
  21. Any exhibitor using excessive abuse on his exhibit animals will be eliminated from the show. Excessive abuse shall include burning, stabbing, gouging, punching, use of electric shocker, etc., which is considered cruel and inhumane treatment of show animals.
  22. No alterations to the buildings will be allowed without prior approval of the Buildings and Grounds Committee.
  23. No pets or livestock are allowed on the 4-H Grounds unless being shown with the exception of practice times and nursing animals.
  24. No riding of bicycles, rollerblades, skateboards, scooters, or hoverboards on 4-H Grounds (bike racks located west of O. V. Winks Building).
  25. No personal golf carts allowed on 4-H grounds.
  26. Judging will be based on workmanship, preparation of articles for exhibit, suitability for purpose, beauty, and originality of design as well as harmony of colors and materials.
  27. No exhibit will be released before the published release dates and times.
  28. No article can be shown with a for sale sign.
  29. No alcoholic beverages allowed on 4-H Grounds.
  30. No smoking in any of the Buildings located on the 4-H Fairgrounds
  31. The Hamilton County Fair, Hamilton County 4-H Council, Purdue Cooperative Extension Service, and Hamilton County Extension Homemakers assume no liability of claims for the safety or damage of exhibits while on the 4-H Grounds. All entries are tendered and accepted upon that condition.
  32. 4-H members will be expected to follow the behavioral code of conduct.
  33. Records must be complete to participate in the livestock auction.
  34. 4-H animals exhibited after the animal enrollment deadline (May 15) at any show by anyone other than the person listed on the Indiana 4-H animal enrollment form will not be eligible to be shown in the 4-H show at the Indiana State Fair. This term/condition does not apply to siblings and parents, who may show each other's animals at any show during the year without jeopardizing state fair eligibility. This policy applies to all 4-H animal projects. For animal projects without enrollment forms, the person who enters them in the Indiana State Fair 4-H show is the equivalent of the enroller of the animals.
  35. All equipment being used at the Fair must be safe to 4-H members, livestock, and the general public. Unsafe equipment will be removed from the 4-H Grounds.
  36. Livestock Rule: This rule will apply to all Beef, Dairy, Goats, Poultry, Rabbits, Sheep, and Swine exhibitors. No 4-H animal exhibit may be maintained at a professional fitters facility. A pre-approved committee of Hamilton County volunteers will be available during the Fair for each specie for those 4-H members wanting to learn, needing advice, and/or assistance in preparing their animal for exhibit. Contact the species superintendent for assistance.
  37. Recommended proper attire for 4-H livestock exhibitors to wear when exhibiting livestock in the show ring: Livestock exhibitors are strongly urged to dress in a manner appropriate to show livestock. Examples of such appropriate dress would include button down shirts, golf shirts with collar, jeans or long pants, and, if possible work boots or work shoes to protect feet. It is suggested exhibitors not wear tank tops, T-shirts (other than those approved by the club), midriffs, halter tops, baggy pants, tops with spaghetti straps, shorts, cut offs, sandals, or tennis shoes.  The judge may use these guidelines as a criteria for final placings.
  38. Recommended Proper Attire for 4-H Open Judging Exhibitors: Open Judging Exhibitors are strongly urged to dress in a manner appropriated for your Open Judging Exhibit. The judge may take into consideration your attire when deciding final placings. Examples of such appropriate dress would include the following
    Boys: Dress slacks or shorts, nice jeans, button down or polo type shirt with collar. It is suggested that exhibitors NOT wear tank tops, baggy pants, or cut-offs.
    Girls: Dress slacks or shorts, nice jeans, sundresses, skorts, skirts- all with appropriate tops. It is suggested that exhibitors NOT wear halter tops, baggy pants, cut-offs, midriff tops, or tops with spaghetti straps.
  39. No clothing may be worn by an exhibitor that identifies farm name and/or breed during judged competition.
  40. All posters, notebooks, and display boards must include a reference list indicating where information was obtained, giving credit to the original author, to complete the 4-H member’s exhibit. This reference list should/might include website links, people and professionals interviewed, books or magazines, etc. It is recommended this reference list be attached to the back of a poster or display board, be the last page of a notebook, or included as part of the display visible to the public. A judge is not to discredit an exhibitor for the manner in which the references are listed.



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