Robyn Scherer: From the Edge of the Ring 5-7-12
There are few things that I love more than the smell of clean livestock, fresh shavings and show sheen. I realize to some this is very bizarre; but to me it’s heaven.
This past weekend I got to experience all those smells with my goats at the Weld County Goat Extravaganza in Greeley, Colo. Goat producers from across Colorado, Wyoming and Nebraska came to show off their stock and network with other producers.
I took five of my girls: an American Nubian and a recorded grade Alpine, and three Boer goats. Showing both dairy and meat goats can be a challenge because the shows run at the same time, but it worked out just perfectly.
Several days before the show my preparations began. I needed to clip and wash everyone, which worried me because of the rotten weather. However, I was able to find several hours each day when it wasn’t raining and the wind wasn’t trying to blow me over.
Halfway through clipping my first goat, a full blood Boer named Tara, my clippers died. It never fails that when you really need something to work it doesn’t. So I had to put her away half clipped, with a fuzzy butt and back. Thankfully she wasn’t a kid in school, or she would have been teased endlessly.
The search for clippers began. After being unable to locate a pair to borrow or buy, I headed to the local pet store to see what I could find. I ended up buying a pair of dog clippers, which surprising worked alright.
Four hours later I finally had everyone clipped and clean. The dairy goats could only be clipped on their tails, back legs and udder. This created a small problem because the hair on their back was roughly 4-inches long, and trying to blend it didn’t work. So instead of looking clean and blended they looked like I had tried to clip them blindfolded. Oh well!
The day before the show I washed them again. Then we loaded up and off we went! Once we got to Greeley and through the vet inspection, I got them in their pens and settled for the night.
The next day was the big show, and I arrived just as it was starting, since I didn’t have any goats in the first few classes. This gave me time to watch the others, and the young does on the Boer goat side. Watching the 0-3 month old class is always my favorite, because the kids are usually uncooperative and still very small. However, they are also very, very cute.
After several more classes it was finally my time to show. I took my big 3-year-old doe, Gerty, and walked into the ring. She behaved very well, which I was impressed with because it was my first time showing her. She ended up being the Reserve Champion Senior Percentage Doe, and I couldn’t have been more excited.
However, my excitement was quickly taken away. In breed shows, the champion and reserve champion always need to have their tattoos checked so that the judge can make sure the goat listed is the goat being shown.
I made one fatal error when prepping my does. I didn’t check to make sure their tattoos were legible. It turns out hers were not, and she was disqualified. It was the first time I had done that well with one of my Boer goats, and to have it disappear as fast as it came is frustrating and embarrassing.
I did learn a very, very important lesson during that show. That lesson is to check everything before you go, even if you think it’s going to be right. Sometimes it isn’t, and you don’t find out until the end.
When the championship drive was happening for the percentage Boer does, I was walking my doe back to her pen. I was mad at myself, but knew there was nothing I could do except to get my next goat ready to go.
The next doe I showed was Gerty’s doeling, Tara, who I had the originally clipping problems with. Her class was packed with 17 goats, and very competitive. After the initial evaluation the judge pulled the half of the class he wanted to keep, and Tara barely made the cut. She ended up ninth out of the 17, which for me was great, considering I’ve only been raising Boer goats for two years.
Once I finished with the Boer goats it was on to the dairy goats. I decided to just show my yearlings this year, so that’s what I brought. I did the best with my percentage Alpine, who was the Reserve Grand Champion recorded grade.
After the show, I sent my Nubians to a friend’s house down South of Denver, Colo., to be bred. I decided that I wanted fall babies this year, so that I was milking in the winter when I’m not as busy, instead of the summer when there are shows and county fairs to be attending.
I’ll be excited to have more babies, and I am expecting Nigerian Dwarf babies at the end of this month. On the ultrasound it showed that she had triplets, and I can’t wait to meet those little babies.
That night I also ultrasounded the pigs that I bred at the end of March, and they are all due to farrow in the middle of July. I absolutely love little pigs, and hopefully some of these babies can grow up to be great show hogs at the National Western Stock Show. It will be my first year to breed for this show, and I’m excited to see if I can get some of them shown there.
All-in-all I had a good weekend. I got to show my goats, which I love doing. More importantly, however, I got to meet other goat producers from around the area, and listen to their experiences and learn about their operations. I think that part is even more fun than showing. I look forward to more shows and babies this summer!