I got to the fairgrounds at 9:00am and started off by dumping out wheelbarrow full of poop from the goats and Jen’s cows. Once the stall were clean I put food into all the goats pens, except for Sparky, who was Jordan’s responsibility. While the goats were eating I noticed that Ellsa had a poop stain on her back. Under normal circumstances this wouldn’t have bothered me but since I was showing her I needed to clean her off immediately. Once she was washed again I started to dry her off only to realize that I have 15 minutes before I need to be in the show ring so I get Donna to finish drying Ellsa while I changed into my showmanship attire (a white polo and khaki pants.) Once I was changed I dried Ellsa off one more time then walked up to the ring.
The obligatory showmanship attire mirror picture
Going into the ring I felt pretty confident. I was making consistent eye contact with the judge and I was able to answer her questions but by the time I got to the end of the show I got tired and started slipping. At one point Ellsa was standing diagonally, which is exactly what you don’t want during showmanship. In the end I did fairly well, I came in third place out of five people. Jordan unsurprisingly came in first place for both our class and he won Grand Champion for Meat Goat Showmanship. The judge commented on my lack of energy at the end of the show, which taught me something that I never considered to be a part of showmanship, eating a good breakfast. My breakfast left me feeling sluggish and I didn’t get as much sleep as I would like and those two things combined definitely did not help with my lack of energy in the ring. Another thing this brought up is how I have to practice my showmanship more. If I want to do better than Jordan at Hereford Junior Farm Fair or at the Baltimore County 4-H Fair next year then I need to be putting in more time with my goats. The judge also thought I was wearing tennis shoes in the ring, which is a big no-no so while talking about the placement she said “It seems like some people decided to wear sneakers into the show ring.” I can’t be 100% sure that this didn’t affect how I was scored so in future shows I should get some nice western boots for the ring.
A picture of me walking Ellsa in the ring during the meat goat show. Courtesy of Baltimore County 4-H’s instagram.
After I left the ring I put Ellsa back in her pen and waited till the buck classes were over to grab Eve. When I showed Eve in the Doe 3 years old class, which is a class for goats born from September 1, 2013 to December 31, 2014, I came in third place. This isn’t too bad because the first and second place does looked much better in terms of muscle mass. One thing that was interesting about this judge is that she allowed us to use halters instead of show chains, which isn’t usually the case but since Eve is easier to walk on a chain I just rolled with it.
When Donna handed me Scarlett for the Doe 2 year old class the only thing she told me was that Scarlett was in heat so I had to hold on for dear life and try to avoid touching her hind legs. That caused some problems in the show ring because part of setting up your goat is making sure that their legs are in the right position. Scarlett doesn’t like to have her hind legs touched to begin with so every I tried to set her up she would jump and run around in a circle. At one point Donna yelled from the side of the ring “You need to set her up so the judge can see her,” which I tried to do but she just kept jumping around. At one point the judge put Scarlett and I at the front of the line, which means that she thought Scarlett should place first, but then she moved me to second place. When she was explaining her choice her reasoning was basically that Scarlett was never set up well enough for her to tell if my animal was better than the animal in first place. This just goes to show that I need to be spending more time up at the barn with the goats.
Showing Ellsa in the Intermediate Doe Kid class went seamlessly. In fact, Ellsa came in first for her class, which was exciting. After Ellsa was awarded the first place ribbon for Intermediate Doe Kid, she had to compete against all the other does that won their respective age groups. Unfortunately, Ellsa lost out to a three year old doe but the judge said that she has a lot of promise when she gets older, which is a good sign.
As soon as I left the show ring I left Ellsa with Shelby, another 4-H et that shows beef steers and swine so I could grab Eve for the Dam and Daughter class. As I was slipping the halter over Eve’s head Shelby brought Eve back to the pens because the other contestants dropped out of Dam and Daughter so I automatically won.
After putting Eve and Ellsa back in their pens I helped with the last fair tour. It was a group of 30 or so kids in early elementary school and their four chaperones. When we were showin them the animals they had a lot of questions, which seemed to be a theme for the tour. During the indoor exhibit section of the tour the kids had so many questions about how to enter exhibits to the fair and they also needed to constantly be reminded not to touch the entries.
After The tour wrapped up I watches the pig show with Caroline and Santana. I’m glad Santana was there because she’s shown swine before so she explained to us what was going on. Apparently swine judges will sometimes kick sawdust from the show pen onto the animal to see how fast the 4-Her brushes it off. Since Santana is a was telling us about all the different animals she shown (she shown every animal possible except for alpacas and goats) and her favorite animals to show. She talked about how she would love to start leasing her cattle to 4-Hers but since she’s at college it is a bit more difficult for her to start a leasing project. I threw my name into the hat for people who could potentially lease animals because she knows I’m interested and responsible.
Left to right: Santana, Caroline, and I watching the swine show.
After the swine show I walked over to the scarecrow building contest only to realize that the scarecrows were being judged Saturday morning instead of being due Saturday morning. I of course had left all my scarecrow building materials at home
Once I returned to the fairgrounds Caroline and I got to work. I took one pair of tights and stuffed them with straw. Then I shoved the hay into the bottom until it formed feet, legs, and eventually a torso. Caroline made the arms and head but the tights were so long that the arms dragged down to the knees. In order to fix this problem we tied part of the arm to itself and crossed the arms, which made the arms look less ridiculous. Once the scarecrow was in scrubs we tied him to a pole so he could stand up. In my humble opinion I think my scarecrow will come in first place because it looks the best and you can tell what it is immediately but I guess I’ll have to see what the judges say.
The scarecrow’s body before clothes.
The finished product