MOUNT VERNON — The exhibitors leading goats into the arena during the Monday afternoon Market Goat Show and Production Meat Doe Show never let the judge see the nerves which they worked to calm before entering the ring. At showtime, even the youngsters who were showing goats for the first time looked cool and collected.
While appearance in the ring is what counted, most exhibitors admitted to some jittery nerves.
“Sure, I’m kind of nervous,” 14-year-old Kathryn Frye of Danville said while preparing to lead in her Boer goat, Jasper. “I’m between nervous and excited.”
Having watched older sisters show goats in previous years, this was Kathryn’s first time in the goat show ring.
Danville resident Aubrey Hazen, who at 17 has been showing goats for eight years, said each year it gets easier.
“The nervousness goes down, so it’s easier,” she said, adding that goats can sense how nervous the exhibitor is becoming, and they act accordingly.
“When you get nervous, the goat acts up,” she said. “They probably sense it.”
As Marian and Randy Douglas watched one of their daughters, they explained that goat behavior is not always predictable.
“They either cooperate with you, or they don’t,” said Randy, who, with four of his seven children showing animals this year at the fair, has seen his share of nerves in children and animals.
“They’ve got character,” Randy said of the goats. “Even when they’re belligerent, they’ve got character.”
Bob Miller stood outside the ring watching his grandson, Marshall Stull, work to get his goat to cooperate in front of the judge. Struggling with a goat nearly his size which did not want to pose for the judge, Stull spoke to the goat, trying reason when just pulling wouldn’t convince the animal to move.
“Sometimes he just lays down and bawls and he doesn’t want to cooperate at all,” Miller said.
In the end, Stull’s pleas and pulling worked, and they ended up placing fourth in their class.
Doug Bayliss of Logan County, a livestock judge with 30 years of experience, told the crowd the level of competition in Knox County is high. He told the competitors an animal that won sixth place at the Knox County Fair could walk away the champion at other county fairs.
Bayliss gave each youngster encouragement and constructive criticism as they stood before him.
“I hope that I had a kind word to say to each of these young people, giving constructive criticism in a kind way,” he said.
In the end, Banbury sisters Taylor and Madison, veterans of many Knox County Fair shows, took first and second place.
The goat shown by Madison, 13, was named Grand Champion. Taylor, also 13, showed the Reserve Champion.
Once the male goats had completed their show, the does took their turn in the spotlight in the Production Meat Doe Show.
Bayliss was once again complimentary. During the Born, Bred, and Raised class, he told the crowd it is a great accomplishment to develop a breeding program, produce kids, and go on to complete them for market.
Eleven-year-old Kaitlyn Gibson of Gambier took home highest honors with her Grand Champion 2 1/2-year-old doe, Miss Merry. Gibson had family from as far away as West Virginia cheering her on.
Mount Vernon resident Carlie Hashman, 14, showed the Reserve Champion doe, which she named Megan.
A complete list of winners will appear in the results tab in the Aug. 5 edition of the News.