Judging livestock is a skill that takes years to hone, and countless hours studying.
Scott Pruitt of Keenesburg, Colo., was selected to judge the largest Boer show in the country — the American Boer Goat Association National Show.
For the first time in the history of the organization, the ABGA National Show was held in Nebraska, at Fonner Park in Grand Island. This year was one of the largest shows ever held, with nearly 1,100 entries in the open show and 455 entries in the junior show.
Pruitt was one of three judges selected by a membership vote to judge the open show.
“I was very honored that the membership trusted in my abilities and integrity to judge this show. First off, the quality of the animals is tremendous. It’s a lot of fun,” he said.
He continued, “This was my first experience with the three-judge process. We had to shorten out our final lineup and work together to come to a consensus on placing opinion. I really enjoyed the people that I worked with, and I have a lot of respect for them.”
Pruitt has been judging livestock since he was in first grade, and became an ABGA certified judge in five years ago.
“I wanted to be able to judge the sanctioned shows. I did a lot of market shows and county fairs, but I wanted to judge more of the registered breeding animals,” he said.
He loves what he gets to do when he judges.
“I enjoy judging livestock, period. It’s a challenge. You are trying to use your knowledge and ability to find the superior animals and identify superior genetics, theoretically. I’ve sure enjoyed the goat world, and this arena. There are a lot of great people in the Boer goat business,” he explained.
In addition to judging, Pruitt also raises goats, and now has around 50 breeding does.
“We started out with a few commercial goats, and we did that for a few years. Then we decided we wanted to have more of a Boer influence. We can’t run 6,000 head of commercials in this area, so the idea is to try to really concentrate on quality, not the big numbers. That led us to our goals of raising top quality Boer goat,” Pruitt stated.
Their breeding program focuses on seedstock operation, but they do sell some wethers as well. Market wethers are not a business that we pursue, but we do sell some market wethers. To us, a good wether is a byproduct of a successful breeding program. If they are not to the standard of a breeding animal, they should be good quality market,” he explained.
He enjoys goats, and likes the challenge they present.
“I enjoy the critters. I enjoy spending time with them. It’s also a challenge thing. I am always challenging myself and my animals to be better with each successive generation,” Pruitt stated.
Many breeders from Colorado attended the show. One of the most successful exhibitors was Madessa Hoffer-Dye of Fort Collins, Colo. She ribboned in 13 of the 15 classes she showed in.
“This was my first national show, and I thought it was incredible seeing all the amazing animals, and all the people you see on Facebook who win major shows and being able to meet them. I was in heaven all week,” she said
She continued, “I liked seeing how my herd stacks up against the national goats. I felt that we did really well and I am incredible proud of my herd and how they did.”
She started preparing for the show early on.
“About a month before the show, I started working with everyone, making sure they would lead and stand and working with the hair. I would spend several hours every day after school when I had the chance,” she said.
Hoffer-Dye has raised goats for many years, and over the last several years has transitioned from wether production to show stock.
“We have worked on getting the muscle and size, and breeding a more refined animal but still be a Boer. It took a lot of culling and a lot of bringing in new animals. I basically did a herd overall several years ago,” she explained.
She loves to be in the show ring.
“I’ve always enjoyed it. I’m a very competitive person, and I can focus that into there and be constructive. It’s also a partnership with the animal as well,” she stated.
She continued, “I have always been drawn to Boers. They are incredible and gorgeous. They are also very easy to work with, and I don’t have to worry about getting hurt.”
Hoffer-Dye just finished high school, and will be attending Colorado State University this fall where she will be pursuing a degree in animal science and agricultural business.
“I’m really interested in the artificial insemination and flushing of goats I would love to start a reproduction center in the area for goats,” she explained.
The show was held from June 9-14, and exhibitors competed in the Junior American Boer Goat Association (JABGA) National Show, the JABGA Bred & Owned Show, as well as the ABGA National Show.
In the JABGA National Show, the overall national champion buck was Newton Farms Back To Square C197, owned by Kent Hollingsworth of Indiana. The overall reserve champion buck, owned by Trey Chavana of Texas, was MCR Power Surge.
The overall national champion fullblood doe was Newton Farms Ima Smokin’ Star C242, owned by Sydney Lewis of Indiana. The overall reserve champion fullblood doe was 2M Boer Goats Sophia, owned by Noah Teel of Oklahoma.
The overall national champion percentage doe was Newton Farms Squared Blonde C175, is also owned by Teel. The overall reserve champion percentage doe, MFR1 Sunday’s Best, is owned by Raelyn Butler of Texas.
In the JABGA Bred & Owned show, the overall national champion buck, Teel JB Man of Steel, and is owned by Teel. The overall reserve champion buck, MADI Bernie, is owned by Madison Fenton of Washington.
The overall national champion fullblood doe, OLA Prim C20, is owned by Cole Hammett of Missouri. The overall reserve champion fullblood doe, MADI Bellanca, is also owned by Fenton.
The overall national champion percentage doe, MFR1 Sunday’s Best, is owned by Butlet. The overall reserve champion percentage doe, Teel Loaded Beauty, is owned by Teel.
The overall national champion buck was EGGS Fixin’ to Party, and is owned by Samuel, Iris and Deanna Lerena of California. The reserve grand champion buck, also owned by the Lerenas, was STS1 Windy Acres Triple D.
The overall national champion fullblood doe was TST1 Windy Acres Precious Jewel, who is owned by Taeah Fisher of Oklahoma. The reserve grand champion fullblood doe was AABG Busy Being Fabulous, who is owned by Bailey Bergherm of Indiana.
The overall national champion percentage doe was BGBG1 Cranberry Ice, owned by Knox Larner of Texas. Larner also owned the reserve grand champion percentage doe, named AGNEW Just Showed Up.
Throughout the show, several youth events were held such as public speaking, a judging contest, boot scramble, costume contest and a live and silent auction to raise money. This year, $13,103.50 was raised for the junior association.
Each year, the ABGA also picks a cause to raise money for, and this year money was raised for the American Diabetes Association, through the sale of T-shirts. A total of $1679.86 was donated.
This was the 20th celebration of the ABGA. Each year, the national show is held in June, where the best compete for the title of National Champion. ❖