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Youth Market Turkey Show

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2022-YMTS_Pamphlet About The Youth Market Turkey Show 

The Youth Market Turkey Show is an opportunity for youth to raise and show a market turkey at the N.C. State Fair. The competition is open to any NC youth between the ages of 5-18 who will be in grades K-12 on the day of the show. The youth will register in March, pay a $20 entrance fee, pick up three poults at the university in June, rear their birds at home, and bring back their best market turkey to the N.C. State Fair show in October.

2021 Show Results

Congratulations to all the winners!

2021 Grand Champion Results

Apply for the 2023 NC State Fair

Livestock Scholarship!

If you have shown a turkey at the Youth Market Turkey Show, you are eligible to apply for the NC State Fair Livestock Scholarship each year you are enrolled at an institute of higher learning at a minimum of 9-course hours per semester. This includes community colleges and technical schools. You may receive this scholarship a maximum of four times. Apply by March 1, 2023.

New applications will be available at the start of 2023!

2023 YMTS T-shirt Design Contest

The winning design will be announced soon. Thank you to all who submitted their artwork.

Congratulations to our past T-shirt Design Winners:

      2022 YMTS T-shirt design winner:  Ava Proctor

2021 YMTS T-shirt design winner: John Tucker

2020 YMTS T-shirt design winner: Camille Clark

2023 YMTS Pen Sign Contest

🎨🏆🦃Art/Pen Signage Contest Rules 
     1) Anyone participating in 2023 YMTS is eligible to enter. The prize will be Ribbons, T-shirts, and Free & Guaranteed Registration for next year’s contest.
     2) Award will be given to the most creative, eye-catching signage for each of the Lil Gobbler, Junior, and Senior Age Categories.
     3) Sign should be made a standard 12″ x 6″ size (this is the size of a license plate), made of turkey-proof material like wood, heavy plastic, or heavy cardboard, and displayed in the upper right corner of the pen. Make sure to have some way to secure the sign to pen-like predrilled holes and zip ties. Not responsible if turkey curiosity removes or damages the sign. Extra credit is given for upcycling/recycling materials.
     4) Information that needs to be on the front of your sign is Your Name, Age, Number of Years you have been doing the YMTS, and Turkey’s Name. Everything else is up to your artistic license.
      5) Sign will be judged night of Oct. 5th; you must bring and install your sign the day of Weigh-in.

YMTS Youth Ambassador Program

Congratulations to our first Youth Market Turkey Show Ambassador, Maggie Blevins from Davidson County for the year 2020. She did a terrific job under most unusual circumstances!

Important Dates

Drop Off/Weigh In – October 5, 2023,  8 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Each participant’s turkey can be dropped off at the location TBD anytime between 8:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.; the date will be finalized by TBD. Drive into the fairgrounds through Gate 4 on Youth Center Drive to drop off turkeys. When you arrive at Gate 4, signage will indicate where you will need to go.

Your bird with be checked for health and weighed. Your turkeys must be transported with bedding like shavings/straw (non-slick surface) to prevent slipping. Birds with infections or weighing less than 15 lbs. will not be accepted for show and will be returned to the exhibitor. Once birds are accepted, they will be numbered with a leg band and put in their cage. You will be asked to bring feed and water and provide it for your bird.

Turkey Show – October 6, 2023, 8 a.m.

The show starts at 8:00 a.m. in a location TBD.


Registration will always open on the first Tuesday in March. The first day of registration for 2023 will be Tuesday, March 1 at 9:00 a.m. Please be sure to have the following information for each participant: full legal name, county of residence, physical address including city, state, zip code, age, and t-shirt size.

The age divisions, based on age as of June 1 are:
Gobbler (5-8)
Junior (9-13)
Senior (14-18)

Youth Market Turkey Show Registration closed image


If registered for the 2023 show (and not wait-listed), you will receive a link to a Cashnet resource to submit payment using Credit Card or Check. Cashnet will ask for the names of participants and your billing information. You will have the following Credit Card payment options:

If you are paying by check, you will still need to complete the Cashnet form. The Cashnet Form will generate an invoice. Checks should be made out to North Carolina State University. To submit payment for registration, please mail a check or money order with a copy of the invoice to:

NC State University
ATTN: Maxine D. Shelton
2711 Founders Drive; Scott Hall – Rm 229
Campus Box 7608
Raleigh, NC  27695

The name of the youth to be registered needs to be included with the check. Registration is $20/youth. A group check from a county office is acceptable if all registrants’ names are included.

Turkey Show Information

download information pamphlet button

Poult Pick-Up

Poult Pick-up for the 2023 Youth Market Turkey Show will be June 21-22, 2023 from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.

A schedule for pick-up will be sent to participants by email on Wednesday, June 8 at 9 a.m. If you have questions, please contact Mary Fosnaught.

The location of pick-up will be a drive-through at the Poultry Teaching Unit, 3841 Inwood Rd, Raleigh, 27603.

In the past, when parents brought their children to Poult Pick-up, they may have provided their child’s Social Security Number (SSN), full legal name, and address to N.C. State Fair personnel (Cheryl Jenkins and Carol Grant); this information is necessary in order for the state to issue prize monies. This year such information will only be collected through the state fair livestock group using Blue Ribbon Systems during the summer.

If you do not want to provide your child’s SSN, you may sign a form agreeing that you are opting not to receive prize monies.

University policy prohibits employees from handling SSNs. If you are an agent picking up poults for youth, those participants will need to have their parents call Cheryl Jenkins (919.839.4522) or Carol Grant (919.839.4531) at the N.C. State Fair office between TBD from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. and provide the SSN of their child and verify their full legal name and address.

Courtesy of the NC State University Feed Mill Education Unit, each participant will receive 5 lbs. of feed to get the birds off to a good start.

Checking In

All youth who register for the show must enter their entire legal name that matches their social security card on a Youth Market Turkey Entry Form. Bring the form with you when you check your hen in at the Poultry Tent at the N.C. State Fairgrounds to prevent any check distribution delays.

Be sure to enter your name and current mailing address on the form. The form will also be sent to online registrants with paid fees.

The social security number is not required until the day the hen is brought to show.

Poult Pick-Up Questions

To help make the poult pick-up process easy, see our Q&A:

QUESTION:  Is this where we normally pick up poults?  

Yes, poults will be picked up in the Poultry Teaching Unit which is the same place as previous years. However, the address was listed as 3901 Inwood Road, and the actual address is 3841 Inwood Road (3901 is the swine unit next door; Poultry Teaching Unit is the first building on the left after turning onto Inwood Road).
QUESTION:  I am a 4-H Leader picking up poults for my club members. How do I handle SSNs?
Parents will need to call N.C. State Fair personnel (Cheryl Jenkins at 919.839.4522 or Carol Grant at 919.839.4531) between TBD from 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. to provide SSN and verification of full legal name and address of their child. University policy prohibits employees from handling SSNs.

Preparing for the Show

Each turkey will be judged on a rubric that evaluates the Confirmation and Fleshing of the bird and Management by the participant based on the Market Turkey Score Sheet.

Prior to birds coming to the state fairgrounds for the Youth Market Turkey Show, you should do the following:

Weigh your bird

Each bird must weigh a minimum of 15 lbs. If your bird does not make weight, it will be sent home. Your 15-week-old Tom is expected to weigh 26-30 lbs. A bird’s almost 50% of its target weight indicates a disease and/or welfare issue. You are encouraged to weigh your bird throughout its lifecycle to ensure you are on track for bringing a successful market turkey to the show. You can weigh your turkey by holding it while on a bathroom scale.

Check Birds for Disease

Do a visual health check of your bird. Birds with overt signs of disease will not pass the health check at the weigh-in and will not be allowed to be shown. Diseases like Fowl Pox or Upper Respiratory Infections can be identified at home.

Bathe your bird

Yes, give your bird a bath at least 1 week prior to showing! Your bird will present better at the show. A grownup will need to assist with this process. Pick a warm day. Get two large totes and fill them with warm water. Use a small amount of Dawn dish liquid in the first tote and vinegar in the second tote (1/2 cup vinegar to 5 gallons water). Gently immerse the bird into the first tote with the dish liquid being careful of its wings. An old towel can be wrapped around the bird to keep the wings secure until its immersed. Slowly pour water over all parts of the bird except the head. Use a rag to wipe any soiled areas moving in the same direction as the feathers. Carefully pick up the bird and move to the second tote with the vinegar; the towel can be again wrapped around the bird to prevent flapping and injury. Again, slowly pour the vinegar water over the bird (avoiding the head) to rinse. Again wrap the bird with a dry towel to absorb water and move to a clean, sunny area until the feathers are dry. If it is cool, a hair dryer can be used but be careful not to put on too high of a setting.

Turkey Show Location

The Youth Market Turkey Show is in the Poultry Tent next to Gate 4 at the North Carolina State Fairgrounds.

View the map and download or print a copy.

Turkey Judging

Participants are evaluated on the overall weight of their turkeys, the muscling in the breast and legs and how well each participant has taken care of their bird.

See how turkeys get judged with this video (1:54) featuring Dr. Carm Parkhurst.



Game Bird Guidelines
Southern States Feed Guidelines
Aviagen Turkeys Feeding Recommendations for Commercial Stock ATI Feeding Feeding Turkeys for Meat Yield


Raising Turkeys
University of New Hampshire

Want to know more about all things turkey? Check out the National Turkey Federation website.


A special thanks to the Prestage Department of Poultry Science at NC State University for making this event possible.

Thank you to Prestage Farms and Butterball for providing poults for each participant.

For additional information contact

Dr. Mary Fosnaught

Phone: +1 919.515.5529