NWSS market goat winners have passion and a will to compete
January 12, 2018
DENVER — Before the junior market goat show started Wednesday, Dakota Martin and her family prayed.
They prayed for a win, but also, if not a win, simply for God's will to be played out. Well, it just so happened to work out for the 11-year-old from Mason, Texas, who won the grand championship at the National Western Stock Show for her biggest win at a national competition.
"I love doing this, and it makes me happy," she said.
Dakota puts a lot of time and work into raising her livestock — she also shows pigs, sheep and cattle. Before Jan. 10, her biggest win was a grand champion at the Texas State Fair.
Dakota is home-schooled, which allows her family to travel to a number of livestock competitions throughout the year. It's her lifestyle.
She already was excited to win the middleweight grand champion, but when the judge, Adam Lira, went to shake her hand, tears swelled up.
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After swarms of congratulations and pictures with family, friends and competitors, thinking about that moment when she realized she won, the tears came back.
It was a big accomplishment.
However, no one expressed excitement after winning the way Karsyn Fetzer, 11, did when she won reserve grand champion. She also was reserve in the middleweight division behind Dakota.
As soon as she realized Lira was walking toward her, the tears swelled up in her eyes, and, after the handshake, shook her fist in the air with a huge smile on her face.
This year was the first time she showed goats at National Western, and only her second year competing in Denver. So simply winning division was great, but winning reserve was more than expected.
"It means a lot," she said.
Last year Fetzer, of Kersey, Colo., showed pigs, but the competition was really large for her, so she decided to focus on goats for this year. Thankfully, her goat was easy to work with. That doesn't mean she was able to slack when it came to working with her goat. It just helped the process go along.
Also in his first year showing goats at National Western was Riley Tade, 18, from Ashland, Mo. It was the last year he was able to compete, and he came away with the grand champion in the lightweight division.
For anyone, raising livestock is hard. Glen Martin, Dakota's dad, said it's key in the way he raises his kids. But Tade's situation is different.
Tade, while he's not a fan of talking about it, was born with a genetic disorder that affects his walking and talking skills. His mom, Jennifer, said it's just part of their life.
National Western is the final show of a few national competitions Tade competed in recently before he's too old to compete. The goal, originally, was to compete in 2016, but Tade had some medical setbacks that delayed them.
"For us to be able to compete is huge. Success is just a bonus," Jennifer said.
Tade's love is cattle, but it wasn't realistic for him to show them. Goats are small enough so he can work with them, with assistance.
In the show pen on Jan. 10, Dylan Hummel helped set the lightweight grand champion, with Riley leading the way.
Most families who show goats normally will work with animals for show a few months right after birth, but Riley starts working with them as the goats are weaning. It's important, because Riley can't handle the goats as others who show do, it's important the goats and Riley quickly get acquainted.
It's about making it work.
— Fox is a reporter for The Fence Post. She can be reached at (970) 392-4410, firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @FoxonaFarm.