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NC State Extension

Public Speaking Contest

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The public speaking contest is designed to help youth develop skills, confidence, and poise in speaking to groups through the use of an interesting and familiar topic while expanding participants’ horse knowledge and increasing their research and study techniques. Additionally public speaking will help teach participants how to organize thoughts and express ideas in a logical and concise manner, increase participants’ knowledge and control of the English language in expressing ideas and reward and recognize participants for accomplishments they have made in a friendly and competitive atmosphere.


Each participant must be an actual 4-H club member interested in horses. Members are not eligible, however, to participate in a horse public speaking contest if by the date of the district contest they will have participated in official post-secondary competitive events of a similar nature in the same subject area. Neither can the participant be undergoing preparation for such an event. Participants do not need to own their own horses.


The horse public speaking contest will be divided into three age divisions (8-10, 11-13, 14-18). Each county will be allowed to enter one individual in each division in the district competition during District Activity Days. Senior participants must have reached age 14 but not age 19 before January 1 of the current year. In all divisions, the first and second-place finishers will both move on to the state finals. The state contest will be held during State 4-H Congress. District Activity Day rules will apply towards participation in other activities.

Read more at District Activity Day rules will apply to participation in other activities.

The state winner and runner‑up in the Senior Division will be eligible to represent North Carolina in the Southern Regional contest. The state-winning Senior Division individual will be eligible to represent North Carolina in other national contests if such contests are offered in accordance with the rules of those contests. The state is not responsible for paying expenses to these contests but will attempt to assist.

Previous state winners of the Junior Division will be ineligible for future Junior Division competition in horse public speaking. Previous Senior Division state winners or participants in national (QH Congress and Eastern Nationals) contests are ineligible for further competition. An NC State Champion can not come back and compete in the state contest even if they did not compete at Eastern Nationals.


Speeches must pertain to any area of the horse industry. Refer to the list of suggested topics in the NC 4-H Horse Program Official Rulebook appendix.

Notes may be used. Speakers should not read their speeches or give speeches that sound memorized. No visual aids or posters are allowed.

A public speech must be a minimum of 4 minutes (Junior Division) or 8 minutes (Senior Division), and no longer than 10 minutes. One point will be deducted per judge for each minute, or fraction thereof, under 4 minutes (Junior) or 8 minutes (Senior), or over 10 minutes. References are not to be included in the time limit.

NC 4-H Horse Public Speaking Scoresheet

Please thoroughly read the Horse Public Speaking Contest section in the NC 4-H Horse Program Official Rulebook (updated annually) for additional information on contest rules, regulations, etc.