The goat business can expose one to all facets of life. Those exposures include the good, bad and ugly along with large doses of things that are just commonplace.
Our exposure to the "Good" came Thursday morning 6 January 2005, when the ranch phone rang. Normally I allow the ever-present answering machine to take the call and then I call folks back when things slow down around the place. Well, after hearing the words, "this is Rodney Comrie with CBS News" from the speaker I jerked up the phone and took the call "live". Well, it was a real CBS News Television Producer on the phone. He indicated they had a correspondent in Dallas who was winding up her week, and they wanted to do a story on the growing meat goat industry. As we were fairly close to Dallas, would we be available for an interview and "shoot" to be done at our ranch including some goats in the pasture? Since we only run about 140 head, they also wanted to interview someone running approximately 1,000 head. The phone discussion also centered on the fact that USDA has designated Mills County, where we live, as "the Meat Goat Capital" of the U.S.
After agreeing to do the "shoot and interview", I asked how CBS decided to call us? The Producer related he did a web search and our site www.texasmeatgoats.com popped up.
We also were able to arrange for Marvin Shurley, President of the American Meat Goat Association, and Kody Sutherland of Silvergate Farms, a large meat goat producer here in Mills County, to be involved in the interview.
The remainder of Thursday included a couple of more calls regarding directions to Goldthwaite and the ranch, times we could be available, and that they would try to do the "shoot and interview" on Friday before the correspondent returned to New York City.
Morning dawned bright and cool here in the upper reaches of the Texas Hill Country on Friday. Several more phone calls-the visit was on, the visit was off, and at 10:30 am the visit was finally confirmed for around 2pm. Then there were the phone calls to Marvin Shurley and Kody Sutherland to keep them in the loop regarding the changing status of the interview. During the early afternoon I received a couple of cell phone calls allowing us to monitor the News Team’s travel progress, give them the approximate location of a highway sign they could film welcoming travelers to Mills County along with the notation "Meat Goat Capital of the U.S." and additional directions to the ranch.
Finally, around 4pm we saw an unfamiliar Suburban coming down the county road at one heck of a clip. Immediately we realized it had to be the TV Crew, as the locals don’t normally drive that fast on a coliche road. Upon their arrival we went directly to the pasture as only an hour and a half of good daylight remained. Guess you’d say the interview process was interesting as the correspondent and I walked among the goats while the cameraman was getting his footage. The goats cooperated pretty well during the interview and filming process, with a few exceptions. The exceptions included several "bottle baby" does who are now fully grown, wanting their 15 minutes of fame on TV and two of the bucks. Our "in charge" herd buck "Raphael" who craves human attention since his show ring career, tried to eat and pull Marvin Shurley’s pants off during an on camera interview. The final phase of interruption came when "Texas Rascal", one of our younger "paint" herd bucks, made every attempt possible to screw up the voice portion of the interview by bellering every minute or two.
The interview and filming ended just at sunset. After thanking the crew for the opportunity to participate in their story we watched them pack up and head down the county road, called Kody to apologize for there not being enough remaining daylight to make it to Silvergate, gave Marvin and Wanda Shurley a warm send off back to Sonora, fed some does with kids here at the house and tried to reflect on what had just taken place.
The Good - having a web site that gives an opening to your business for anyone who is interested and allowing the story of our growing meat goat industry to be introduced to "mainstream America".
The Bad - having a herd buck whose idea of entertainment is eating blue jeans while someone is standing before a camera being interviewed for TV.
The Ugly - me trudging around in a herd of goats while being filmed and interviewed by a National Broadcast TV Crew.
Many thanks to Mr. Rodney Comrie- Producer, Mrs. Sharyn Alfonsi - Correspondent, and Mr. Max Stacy- News Photographer, all with CBS Evening News, for selecting our ranch as the site for their story.
At the time of this writing, we believe the interview will broadcast via CBS National News sometime in February 2005, probably on a Saturday evening. How much of the film and interview will wind up on the cutting room floor is anybody’s guess.
(note: Texas Meat Goats and Texas Goat Herd are assumed names on file in the office of the Texas Secretary of State)