Goat Extravaganza showcases all breeds and all ages
As soon as you walked into the barn, the sound of goats bleating could be heard. Hundreds of goats from dairy goats to Boer goats are penned across the building, and two show rings are set up in the middle.
This was the Weld County Goat Extravaganza, held in Greeley, Colo., at Island Grove Park on April 28 and 29. Over 500 goats competed at the event.
The WCGE was originally created 11 years ago. “It was originally created to provide opportunities for youth involved with a goat project and educational opportunities for youth and adults. We had a rapidly growing market goat industry at that time, and we were trying to address that need for education at that time. Now it’s about all of the goats, but it is still educational,” said Keith Maxey, Weld County Extension Agent.
Producers from across Colorado, Wyoming and Nebraska competed at the event, as well as 170 dairy goats, 130 market goats for the jackpot shot, 170 Boer goats for the breeding show and 31 goats for the fiber goat show. There were also pygmy goats that competed.
In addition to the shows, students also competed in showmanship classes. The winners from each division competed in a round-robin competition, showing market, dairy, pygmy and fiber goats to compete for the champion overall showman. Students were broken into age brackets that included pre-junior, junior, intermediate and senior divisions.
On Saturday, participants could also take part in a variety of workshops, including a showmanship and fitting workshop, a kidding seminar, carcass evaluation and characteristics seminar, goat parasite scoring and cheese making.
Dinner was provided to the participants on Saturday night. The local Weld County 4-H and FFA members helped to serve dinner at the show, as well as set up and take down everything for the show.
One member of the show’s planning committee who attended the show was Vicki Larson, owner of Harmody Alpines in Windsor, Colo.
When planning the show, education is still the number priority. “First off we tried to choose workshops and other educational seminars, especially for first time goat owners. We are always try to address that segment,” she said.
She continued, “I think there are new goat owners every year. Even if you have purchased your goats in the last few years, there is always a big learning curve. It’s good to offer educational workshops and help those people get their questions answered. It’s also a great way to network with other breeders. You can meet new people and learn from them.”
The committee starts planning for the extravaganza in the fall, and the 13 local goat producers are on the committee from all of the different breeds. “She believes that having the variety of breeds also helps all goat producers to learn more about each other. “It’s been great to work with the Boer goat people. It’s good to work with them so we each see each other’s side. I think it’s really important to have all four kinds of goats represented. It helps to provide good information for the people that come, on all of the different kinds of goats,” she said.
Much of the focus is also on the youth, because the event was originally created for them.
“In the beginning, one of the initial purposes of the extravaganza was for the 4-H and FFA kids. That’s why we have so many youth that attend. It’s important to address them, because they will be goat breeders in the future. We need to help keep them interested and help get them connected and give them good information,” Larsen said.
One of the best events for the dairy goat youth was the showmanship workshop and the show itself. The judge, Kris Fraley, worked with the students during the showmanship clinic and helped them learn how to better show their goats.
“The judge worked with the kids during the showmanship, and he did a really good job of helping the kids and helping them both during the clinic and during the show,” she said.
The Larsen family brought 20 goats to the event, and her kids showed their goats during the dairy show. She has a champion, and a doe in the best in show lineup.
Larsen raises purebred Alpines, and has 42 adult goats and 33 kids. She and her family have attended the WCGE since it started. She likes raising Alpines, and has done so for 14 years.
“They have great milk production, a great temperament and we think they are pretty. They just have a pretty look to them,” she said.
One Boer goat producer to attend the show was Ken Baty, owner of SAK Boer Goats in Loveland, Colo. He competed in the buck show, where his 3-year-old buck, Trailblazer, was the champion senior buck.
Baty has only been raising Boer goats for a couple of years, and he and his family are just getting into showing breeding Boer goats. He showed a buck that he bought, and his kids showed two bucks that they raised.
“We’ve had pretty good success with what we started with. I’m not really into breeding just for bucks. I’m looking to see where I’m headed and what I want to improve upon. However, it’s fun to be able to show these bucks,” Baty said.
“I like to go for good width and length. I look to see what my herd is producing in itself. I also like the genetics side of producing these animals. If I have does that need improvement in one area, I will look for a buck that will do that. I look at what I need to do with my herd to improve, and ask myself where do I want to be two years from now,” he said.
Shows like this allow producers to see what is being produced in their area, and find other breeders whom they may be able to buy animals from or lease bucks.
“The fun thing is today, going to the show, everyone helps out everyone else,” he said.
One pygmy goat breeder to attend the show was the Nequette family from Colorado Springs. Holly Nequette, a senior animal science major at Colorado State University, thought the show went very well.
“It was great. My family and I attend every year to show pygmy goats, and Boer goats if we have any,” she said.
“We did really well. We took best whether, reserve champion doe and grand champion buck. I would say we had a good weekend,” she said.
She has shown pygmy goats for many years. “I started in 4-H with my pygmy goat project and showed all through my 4-H experience. I like all goats, but pygmy goats especially are full of personality and attitude,” she said.
All of the different breeders gained valuable information and connections during the weekend. “Overall I thought the show was excellent. We were a little worried about the weather, but it turned out just fine. The judges did a good job with their shows, and we had good speakers for our educational opportunities,” said Maxey.
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