"Sign here, and here and here and here and.....", It goes own forever. The stacks of papers grow bigger.
Finally we are given the keys to a small blue house in the middle of thirteen acres of raw cut over land with
brush, briars and brambles as high as our heads.
We go to survey our magnificent homestead in northeast Georgia. Reality rolls over us like a tidal wave. "How
can we hope to turn this rough land into lush pasture?" I ask. With goats of course! Were we in for some
The good old Georgia "briar" goats lead to the bigger dairy goats and then we bought a Fullblood Boer buck.
I know now he was a pitiful excuse for a fullblood buck but he increased the size of our kids so much, we had
to see what a really good Boer goat looked like. We had to have some of those marvelous animals.
A year later... BBBBBZZZZZTTTTT!!!!! The day begins as the alarm clock goes off at 4:30 a.m. I get out of
bed, slink into the shower. After the shower ritual, I don clean goat grubbies. I moan, " What am I doing?
This was not our original the plan!" The goat owner's day has begun: today I will be showing goats. This is a
quick way to find out if our breeding program is heading in the right direction.
I pry open the other eye. Skip the coffee? Me? Never! Coffee is the novice showman’s enemy. It raises the
probability of needing to use the rest room. Sometimes the classes are arranged so that you need to go hours
before you will be able to use the rest room. This leaves the exhibitor in a situation that they would not be in if
they had not drunk that last cup of coffee. (This is also good excuse to leave if just round the corner is the
exhibitor your goat stomped in the last class!)
There are many very generous goat people in my area. I am very fortunate to know Nancy England of C & N
Farm in Gainesville, Georgia. She was kind enough to let me help show some of her goats. Nancy purchased
the high selling buck at the Show Stopper sale in Tennessee and the high selling buck at the last Don Smith
sale in Georgia. Judy Stepp, an International Boer Goat representative, and her children Ashley and Loren
Armour showed me how they groomed their show goats and told me many great feeding tips. My goats and I
can hitch a ride with Nancy or Judy to the shows. I didn’t have to buy an expensive grooming stand, dryer or
a trailer to get started.
Having gone to a few goat shows before stepping into the ring, I was amazed at how much more you learn
when you decide to get in there and just do it. Some things that have helped me are trying different showing
and grooming methods, and comparing their effectiveness. Talking to the other people at the goat show.
Devote time to analyzing their showing strategy. It is rare to meet some one who won’t answer your
questions. One big bonus. They will remember you and may be a little more forgiving, if they know you are a
My list is checked once. My list is checked twice. Going to find out if we need a moving company. Oh, how
nice! I sigh with relief. This time, every thing seems to fit in the trailer. Do we have room for another goat?
Determined, I stuff just one more grooming gizmo into the tack box. I could never figure out if I should buy a
right- or a left-handed hoof trimmer. My husband had this habit of breaking any tool I handed him that was
sharp. I'm pretty sure he hid my box knife and confiscated my hoof file. I guess he takes my new toys so I can
not find a way to bleed profusely on a regular basis. This time we only forgot to bring the bread for the
sandwiches. The list gets longer after each show.
I had read you need to be as professional as possible. I try to dress well. The goats will enjoy trying to see
which one can ruin (over and over again) your appearance. Even sloppy dressing doesn’t keep you from
being an easy target. Goats seek out the novice exhibitor for practical jokes, and compromising situations.
Staying clam and able to redeem yourself after your goat pees in your shoe in the show ring or decides to
sneeze in the judge’s faces as the he checks the teeth are good skills to develop. Sweating is allowed only
between classes while cleaning up the next goat. I have at least one extra change of clothes and shoes if all
I prepare for battle. An exhibitor’s day is nothing less than that. Is your strategy better than the goats? One of
your main responsibilities is keeping control of the goats! Since keeping control of a goat is tough enough for
the best, you need every advantage that you can get. Goats will attempt to get at you in every way possible: if
you leave a window of opportunity open to a goat, they will take advantage of it. Turn your back and they are
out of the pen or eating the extension cord. Favorite goat games are: who can get the most goat pills in the
clean water before you get back with the feed, how much pawing does it take before the feed is on the
ground, and who can get the biggest, greenest manure stain on their sides just before the next class.
I know this doe leads perfectly at home. Why does she insist on plowing up the ring? The Judge checks her
teeth. She rolls her eyes, spins her tail, but not a sneeze or a snort. The judge picks up one of my doe’s back
feet. Screaming, she leaps forward over the goat in front and takes a mid air swipe at the judge. Karate Kid
would be jealous of her style. "I am so sorry." I murmured apologetically, struggling to untangle our leads. No
self-respecting goat would pass up the chance to embarrass you just because you feed and care for them.
People still tend to duck when I get near them with a goat.
If you learn from your failures, I now have a Ph.D. Success has to be just around the corner. Showing gets
easier with experience. Your eye for a goat will definitely improve as you look up that long line of goats that
placed ahead of yours. Each judge is different. There is one who will like the kind of goat you like. Know the
standards of the breed. Correct structure of the goat is the key. Every judge’s comments, every show helps
me work towards the ultimate goal of the perfect meat goat.
"This is supposed to be fun." my Husband reminds me as we load to go home. It is if you will relax and enjoy
the show. There are many more times when showing has been a delight rather than a disappointment. I recall
the compassionate and kindhearted way Dawn Benz (wife of Stan Benz, from Bell Buckle, TN) took time to
finish clipping a goat for a woman who had an accident and had to go to the emergency room. I got to see
goats and meet people you read about in the goat magazines each month. I'll remember a funny story. I will
tell my goat owning friends, they'll laugh, and we will be ready to return to the shows. I will have good show
days. Now if I can just take a break long enough to take pleasure in them!
Fair warning! I’ll be there next year.