Weld County Goat Extravaganza continues to grow
May 5, 2014
Showing goats can be a fun, rewarding experience for people of all ages. Goats come in different colors, sizes and shapes, and serve different purposes.
The Weld County Goat Extravaganza celebrates all things goats, providing education and allowing people to compete against one another.
The WCGE was held in Greeley, Colo., at Island Grove Park on April 26 and 27. Producers from across Colorado, Wyoming and Nebraska competed at the event, and the show was bigger this year than in the past.
"We had a big group of fiber people come over from the Western Slope, so we saw that show almost double," said Larry Hooker, 4-H youth development and livestock agent in Weld County.
Added Hooker, "I thought it went really well. We did dedicate our goat extravaganza to Karen Helus, who recently passed away. She was a key family in beginning 13 years ago with this extravaganza. We did a presentation for the family thanking them. That was a highlight."
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 pee-wee, novice, pre-junior, junior, intermediate and senior divisions.
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On Saturday, participants could also take part in a variety of workshops, including a feeds and nutrition seminar and a seminar on common infectious diseases of goats.
"We had two great speakers for our educational component. Goats are beginning to be a very popular project. There are a lot of new families who come out to the show," said Hooker.
He continued, "When the show was started, that's what the committee wanted to do — have it be more than just a show. We wanted to be able to educate people in several areas. I think that's always an important aspect and we want to teach people information that can help them. If we can't educate along the way, then we are falling short. That's a mission within Extension. It's important to all of us."
Dinner was provided to the participants on Saturday night with local goat meat. 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 of the attendees to this year's show was Witt's Rio Vista, owned by Randy and Minda Witt, from Lamar, Colo. They raise wethers and breeding stock Boer goats.
"I thought it was really good show. They did a good job. The vendors were good and the show was well run. The kids that went with me had a good time," said Minda Witt.
Witt's goats were shown in the ABGA show, the JABGA show and the prospect market wether show, as well as in showmanship.
"They placed well in the classes. I liked the weight limit on the market show so it was a true prospect show," she said.
Some of the students that she brought showed their own goats as well.
"They are starting to show their own projects. I like to get them to have both. That's what I like about extravaganza, being able to show both does and wethers," Witt stated.
All of the goats the Witts brought were shown by youth who work with the family.
"I love breeding them, growing them, fitting them. They love the ring. It gives them a good chance to show," Witt said.
She continued, "It's what I do. I like to make sure that the kids that get my goats know how to show them. I want to see them other shows than the county fair. I want them to work. A lot of them have families that aren't livestock oriented, so I take them and take care of them on the trip," she explained. "It's fun when it's a big family experience."
The Witts are truly dedicated to young people and the success of their projects, and work closely with 4-H or FFA market project buyers to ensure they choose the best prospect wether or doe for their project. They also take the time to make sure the exhibitor knows how to feed, fit and show their market or breeding goat to its greatest potential.
Developing youth is important to them for several reasons.
"Obviously they are the future of the industry, and that's important, but really I just think youth from an agricultural background have so much to offer that kids without that life experience just don't get the opportunity to develop. Helping kids that love agriculture is at the heart of all we do. I just can't even imagine where our world would be without the great youth that are involved in one of the most important life pursuits they could undertake," said Witt.
One event that was new this year was the addition of the Junior ABGA (JABGA) show.
"I think they should keep that up. I love that the kids can enter both shows, and it gives them more experience in the ring, and more chances to win. It's a super good experience," said Witt.
The WCGE also offers vendors for participants to shop.
"We had pretty good vendors in terms of what we are trying to do. We have 12 different vendor booths up," said Hooker.
This year was also the first year that the show was up online, which was exciting for attendees and show planners.
"The new website this year allowed people to have instant access to the forms and not have to wait on the mail," said Hooker.
The committee starts planning for the extravaganza in the fall, and local goat producers are on the committee from all of the different breeds.
All of the different breeders gained valuable information and connections during the weekend.
"All-in-all it was really good, and we anticipate things will go on well for next year. People seem to like the show. It's low key, but offers all four goat species and that's always a good thing," said Hooker. ❖