ELLERBE — Youth from more than 20 counties gathered at DeWitt Farms in Ellerbe Saturday with their prize goats in tow to compete in the 4-H Farm Credit Showmanship Circuit goat show.
“This is our biggest show we’ve ever had in Richmond County,” said Tiffanee Conrad, agricultural extension agent. “We had 56 kids to register, and 111 goats.”
Goat shows, similar to dog shows, offer owners an opportunity to show off their animals in numerous competitive categories and win prizes.
“We still have four or five more goat shows, then some lamb and heifer shows,” Conrad said. “Then, a lot of our kids will go to the state fair where they’ll sell their market animals. And then we have a banquet at the very end in November where they can win belt buckles and banner ribbons. This year it will be in Pittsboro, Chatham County.”
Kali Mabe of Stokes County won with two of her goats in two separate categories.
“This show’s part of the Sandhills circuit, and that’s part of a show string throughout a bunch of counties in the Sandhills,” she explained. “Where I live, we don’t have a circuit so I come down here for the show.”
Mabe stood with one of her goats watching as younger children competed in the corral.
“This is Prissy,” Mabe said, introducing the goat. “She is a doe, and she’s judged mostly on her conformation,” Mabe said. “That just means she has to be correct, able to make babies, and she has to be able to carry them for the five months that she does. But we also have wethers, and a wether is a castrated male goat and you judge them on their carcass quality. Mostly it’s the tenderloin cut and the ham cut.”
She said the showmanship category is similar to what people might watch during a dog show.
“We are judged on how we set up our animal and how we handle the animals to make them look the best they can,” she explained. “The does are split up by their ages. You have the younger does and the kind of middle-aged does, and the older does. Then there’s an intermediate class, which is what Prissy’s in. There’s two heats of it because there are so many of us.”
All of the goats in the competitions belong to a special breed, she added.
“These are called Boer goats, and they’re originally from South Africa and New Zealand,” Mabe said. “We brought them over here in the middle-1900s, but I’m not positive about the time. We brought them over here as frozen embryos and we bred them to the Spanish brush goats that came over here before. They used to have more of a large frame, they were huge. But now they are much smaller than they used to be.”
Conrad released the names of top winners on Monday:
• Senior Showmanship — 1st place Kali Mabe
• Intermediate Showmanship — 1st place Weston Houck
• Junior Showmanship — 1st place Laura Jessup
• Cloverbud Non-competitive Showmen — Addison Farris, Anna Agee, Bayze Beck, Gracelyn Brame, Josey Pulaski, Katelyn Hewitt, Kody Fisher, Lexi Reep, Morgan Rabon and Onalise Jonas.
• Grand Champion Doe — Coleman Berry
• Reserve Champion Doe — Rylee Schofield
• Grand Champion Wether — Kali Mabe
• Reserve Champion Wether — Savannah Shepard
Reach reporter Melonie McLaurin at 910-817-2673 and follow her on Twitter @meloniemclaurin.