School Excuse Letter

Stock show kids are some of the most intelligent, hardest working kids around. This comes through in everything they do: in the show ring, sports, in the classroom. Sometimes, though, they need to miss school to go to the show. If you’ve ever struggled with explaining to teachers or principals the importance of showing livestock, if you couldn’t find the words to tell them how much the stock show kid learns from their livestock projects, here is the answer: The Stock Show Kid School Excuse Letter.


Dear Teacher/Principal/School Administrator,

Please excuse (insert child’s name) from school tomorrow. He/She will be participating in the (insert livestock show).

We are fortunate that our children can experience showing livestock. You will be thrilled to learn that while he/she will not be present in the classroom he/she will gain many lessons during their time at the livestock show

As a parent, I understand the emphasis placed on reading. Reading is important and I’m glad my child is encouraged to read at least 20 minutes a night. He will keep up his reading time at the stock show. There will be livestock sale promotionals, stock show magazines, and Weaver show supply catalogues. He will read the description of the sale animals, articles about the latest bull, and explanations of the newest show supply equipment. He is interested in these things, so he will understand, ask questions when he doesn’t, and in doing so increase his reading level and comprehension skills.

According to our daughter’s homework she has been learning to count money. She’s doing well. This is due to your excellent teaching skills. It is also because of hands-on experience with her own money. Monetary premiums awarded at livestock shows have helped her to understand saving and spending. She understands that her livestock show animals, their feed and the equipment required to show them all cost money. She gets to keep some of the money. She must save some of the money. She will put some of the money back into her livestock project. This requires an explanation of percentages. Something she will not study until next school year. We are happy that she has a head start. This knowledge will also serve her well when she takes business classes.

Kids who show livestock are so lucky to be able to see firsthand the wonders they have studied in Geography class. From the Rocky Mountains to the Cumberland Gap livestock kids have the opportunity to see the beauty of their state and nation. Along their travels to the livestock show they will pass monuments and historical markers so History class is covered as well.

Special classes such as art and physical education are also important in school. Our kids will certainly engage in physical activity at the stock show. If you’ve never seen a bunch of stock show kids in an empty show ring, trust me when I say they could slay the presidential physical fitness test. Especially if “gate climbing” or “panel swinging” were added as events. Art class is also represented in the patience, focus and talent that fitting an animal for show requires. All lessons that our stock show kids are studying while at the show.

Beyond the basics, we are happy that our schools promote other lessons like humility, respect, pride and character. There is no better place to learn these lessons than in the show ring. At the livestock show our children have reveled in winning. They’ve also felt the sting of losing. In the midst of glory the stock show kid is proud. In defeat, the stock show kid will still shake the hand of the champion and of the judge even as their own eyes fill with tears. Stock show kids encourage and comfort each other. They have fierce rivalries and even fiercer friendships – with the same kids. These lessons in character will serve them for a lifetime.

Truly, I haven’t even scratched the surface of what our child learns from showing livestock. I haven’t mentioned the hard work, the dedication, the family time and team work that goes into making their projects the absolute best they can be. I haven’t mentioned the important lessons they are learning about agriculture, animal husbandry and anatomy.

No, my child will not be sitting at their desk tomorrow. But they are not skipping school. They are not taking advantage of a “free day.” Our child is learning lessons that are important. Curriculum found outside the walls of our beautiful school. Lessons that will aid them when they return to the classroom. Lessons that will follow them throughout their school career and into adulthood. Lessons we are proud to provide.

Thank you for your support and understanding. There is no greater gift we could give our children than to allow them to be stock show kids.

Proud Parent of a Stock Show Kid


-Kelly Thomas

Kelly and her husband, Chad, raise cattle, sheep and two children in the mountains of
southwestern Virginia. Their kids are the 4th generation to grow up on the farm and
show livestock. Some of the family’s very best days happen in the show barn. Some of
their most contentious days happen there too. Kelly believes that a kid will build life-long
friends showing livestock. After all, she is the girl that married the boy she met in the
show ring. She loves educating children, especially about agriculture. She believes that
even if a kid won’t grow up to work in agriculture the kid still needs to grow up to be a knowledgeable
consumer. Oh, and that ranch dressing should be considered a food group.


  • Lynda Ziegler

    I encountered this many times in my daughter’s show days. Her first grade teacher was especially against her missing school for livestock related encounters. The teacher told me that “my daughter would have to get it (showing) out of her system before she got into the upper grades”. I proceeded to advise this teacher that I would take my daughter out of school for anything I deemed to be educational and that she would learn many more life lessons and skills with me in 4 days than she would learn in the entire year in her classroom…..we eventually homeschooled her and she thrived in every respect. She has grown into a beautiful, intelligent, caring young woman. I have no regrets about anything that I did in educating my daughter. I wish I had had this note back then.

  • linda wallis

    As a retired middle school teacher I totally agree with everything you said in your letter. As a past parent of a show ring student,I wish k12 online had been available,as we would have used that instead of the standard public school system. Keep those kiddos doing what they thrive on,please!!!!!

  • Lisa Robey

    Great letter!
    Unfortunately First Flight Middle school in Dare Co. NC, would not excuse my daughter. I removed her from the public school system and homeschooled her. The livestock friends are the ones she will keep for life.
    She went on the hold a District Office in 4-H, and run her own business she started at age 9! She just finished her 10 year in business with Outer Banks Kettle Corn. Livestock kids are great!

  • John Koontz

    This is an amazing letter, you even expressed every detail that stock show kids venture through, our family has been showing for 31years , some of our most precious memories are in the show ring, it started with our children and now our grandchildren, our county fair is a family reunion for our family, thank you for sharing this .

  • Bobbi Rauch

    This is so true. Our son grew up in the barn and at the shows. He didn’t want to go to college but had his own company before he was 30 employing over 10 others and contributing to the community as well as running and growing his business. He learned most of the skills he needed getting ready for and showing at the fair’s. Business skills and personal relationships that will help him all through life.

  • Jill Patton

    Our local school district and teachers have always supported our daughters showing activities. California has passed a new bill which excuses a child from missing school if the activity is one that supports their future career goals. Your letter is fantastic!
    Thank you.

  • James Daniel

    My daughter been showing animals send she was 4 year old she 15 now love doing it they learn lots for it . In Arkansas they are excuse for showing animals it’s the law here. She been in 4-H send she was 5 and now that she in 9th grade she can join FFA she in both now. She love showing her animals

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: