4-H Competition Policy
Competitive Programs, Contests, and Events
Competition in 4-H
Competition is one of many tools utilized by 4-H to foster education and positive youth development.
Age appropriate participation and competition is based on current research and national 4‑H policy. With this framework in mind, 4‑H competition is aimed at assessing youths progress towards mastery and emphasizes their reflection on personal skill development in the project. Focusing on winning the competition and not on developing the youth can lead caring adults to overlook the 4‑H mission.
4-H competition is focused on the principles of experiential learning (e.g. learning by doing; Do. Reflect. Apply). In all 4‑H project work youths should do their own work. Caring adults and older youths should provide developmentally appropriate support.
Levels of Competition: County, State, and National
In Arizona, 4‑H youth may participate in county-level, state-level, and national-level competitions. Often, a youth will need to qualify at one level in order to progress to the next level.
Eligibility for Arizona 4-H State-Level Contests
County-based 4‑H youth development professionals are responsible for verifying that members are enrolled in 4-H, have met all eligibility requirements (see individual contest rules for details about each Arizona 4‑H state contest), and that they are members in good standing prior to approving a member’s registration for a state-level contest.
Note: Youth participating in a 4-H competition must be enrolled in a 4‑H club in the 4‑H membership management system prior to participating.
All national 4‑H competitive programs and events require state qualification for eligibility to represent Arizona 4‑H at the national level.
All Arizona 4‑H competitive programs, contests, and event teams/individuals will be selected based on the criteria set forth in this handbook. Arizona 4‑H qualifiers for national events are determined by the Arizona 4‑H director.
The Western National Roundup is the official national contest for winning competitive teams in Arizona. All registrations will be coordinated by the Arizona 4‑H office.
- State 4‐H contestant(s) or team(s) must be selected by a recognized Arizona 4‑H process and be certified as the official state entry by the Arizona 4‑H director. The individual(s) or teams(s) may be selected by any procedure Arizona 4‑H director believes is appropriate.
- All contestants must be enrolled members of 4‐H.
- Individual team members must be a minimum of 4‑H age 14 at the time of the qualifying event and must not have reached their 19th birthday as of January 1 of the year in which they qualified for the Western National Roundup event.
- All contestants must meet the “good standing” requirements set forth by their county 4‑H program as well as all contest eligibility requirements. Prior to confirming their registration, county-based 4‑H youth development professionals are responsible for verifying that participants have met good standing requirements for their county and have met the contest eligibility requirements.
- Contestants cannot have participated in post-secondary (college-level) coursework in the subject area of the participating national competitive event, nor can they participate in post-secondary competition in the subject area of the national 4‑H competition.
- Please see specific national contest websites for most current requirements and rules. http://www.westernnationalroundup.org/index.aspx
Replacing Team Members for Designated County Team Events
If a team member (composed of members from one county) cannot attend the national contest, a replacement may be made by the county-based 4‑H youth development professional in coordination with the Arizona 4‑H office.
One team member may be replaced on a team. The replacement team member must have gone through a county elimination and have participated in the state qualifying event. Under no circumstances may two members be replaced as that would not be considered the same team that won the state event.
Each team member must be enrolled in the county they are representing in the national contest. National contest eligibility is determined by the rules of the specific contest.
Replacing Team Members for Designated Individual Team Events
If a team member (composed of top qualifying individuals) cannot attend the national contest, a replacement may be made by the Arizona 4‑H director. The replacement team member will be the next eligible top senior individual from the qualifying event.
Open Shows/Pee-Wee Shows/Non 4‑H Competitive Events
Participation is encouraged in other organizational activities outside of 4‑H. However, it is not appropriate to identify other organizational activities as 4‑H.
Field days, fairs, livestock and horse shows, and other events not promoted or identified as 4‑H and not identifying University of Arizona Cooperative Extension as the sponsor are not classified as 4‑H events. 4‑H assumes no responsibility for these events. County and state-level 4‑H rules may not apply at open shows/non-4‑H competitive events and vice versa.
At no time will a 4‑H event allow for a Pee Wee Show.
Progress/Prospect/Jackpot shows should follow certain guidelines to be considered a 4‑H event. For more information, consult your county-based 4-H