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Ribbons are typically used to reflect the performance, and thus placement, of participants in a contest. Different colors generally signify the order in which the individual placed. You can establish your own system but to encourage wide recognition of the order of placement in the contests, using the traditional color assignments is best. Award ribbons are used in a range of contests, from equestrian events to free-throw contests to science fairs to county fairs.
Establish how many ribbons, and likewise, how many placements, you want to award. Some competitions only award first, second and third place while others may want to be able to give a ribbon to every participant just for taking part.
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Award the color blue ribbon to the first-place winner for sports competitions and equestrian competitions, according to both SportslandTrophy.com and StockHorseShowSource.com.
Award red to the second-place winner for sports and other competitions and equestrian competitions.
Award white to the third-place winner of a sporting event or other contest, or gold/yellow in a riding, or equestrian, event, as is the tradition according to both SportslandTrophy.com and StockHorseShowSource.com.
Award the yellow ribbon to the fourth-place winner of a sports event or white to the person in fourth place at an equestrian event.
Award the traditional color of green to the fifth-place winner of a sporting event or pink to the person who places fifth in an equestrian event.
Create a board that outlines the different ribbon colors you are presenting, as well as their placement order, to clarify for the audience and participants. This is especially important if you are deviating from tradition with the colors.