Our 2013 fair felt like the busiest yet. All three older kids had multiple competitions over 5 days....I estimated that we spent 70+ hours at the fairgrounds this year.
Were we crazy? Don't answer that....
Not only did we do our usual market and showmanship competitions, but all three made it to the livestock auction and one made it into master showmanship.
More on that later. In this post I basically want to recap the fair.
This year our goat stalls were in the same spot as last year. Each person in the project makes a board describing themselves and their goat. Each of them also answered a question about scrapies; a rare, nasty, neurological disease that goats can get.
We had the goat weigh in and we all made weight. (between 60 and 115 pounds) Bookworm's goat was 68 pounds and Mr. Lego's was 74.
Then it was time to do some last minute fitting....trimming the tail, touching up the hoofs and horn nubs, and making sure they looked well overall.
The day of competition we were up bright and early, giving the goats their bath.
Things progressed pretty quickly after I snapped the above photo. I walked back into the barn to get something and I heard the names of all the kids in our project being called over the loudspeaker....a sound no one wants to ever hear.
Apparently the handbook schedule we had printed out from online was not the one our fair was following and they had bumped the market competition up by an hour and a half.
So the kids literally threw on their whites and brought their goats, still a bit wet, to the ring.
Bookworm was in the first class.
When you are walking your goat you want to make sure to keep it even with your body and its head up.
Here they are lining up and you can see Bookworm, driving her goat, to show off his meat.
You have to constantly keep your eye on the judge, and never ever get between him and the animal. If he is looking at you from the front you also have to let him see the front view of your goat, which is what she is doing above.
And the result of the first class? Bookworm and another of our project members were 1st and 2nd. Which meant they had to wait through the other three classes for the championship round.
Mr. Lego was in the next class and did a great job.
My stupid camera was having a hard time with the light and this was the only good shot I got of him, but he drove his goat correctly, walked well, and got 2nd in his class.
Waiting in the stalls.....
Here they are in the championship round, doing a great job showing. They didn't place from here, but just getting to the finals was great, and put them in an optimal spot at the auction.
I knew this was going to be my insane day and just about 10 minutes after we finished goat I ran over to rabbits to shoot these photos of Dasher in the market rabbit competition.
There were seventy-eight 4-H market rabbits and they only placed the top 8. She did have one of her rabbits disqualify because it was under 3 pounds, but the other one was judged to be market ready.
Back to the goat ring for goat showmanship. In the market competition the judge is looking at the goat's conformation or muscle and bone structure. In showmanship, it is the competitor who is being judged on how well they show their animal.
Bookworm was up first as a novice (first year showing goat) junior (9-13 years of age).
She did very well, and took 2nd place in novice. At our fair, both 1st and 2nd place get bumped up to the next level which meant she would compete against experienced juniors.
She was in the first round of juniors and took second place again, which meant she was going to compete in the final round of juniors.
Things were starting to get intense. The one problem the judge kept saying about her and her goat was her goats' unwillingness to walk.
She would drag that thing behind her and finally get him to walk, and by then it would seem that the judge was looking the other way. Then the goat would stop walking and the judge would look straight at her.
I wanted to jump the fence and throttle the goat.
The last couple of times around in the final round he did walk, and the judge started asking them to all line up. He usually pulls most of the kids to the side and then leaves the 3 or 4 better showman in the front. Then he gets the microphone and goes from the bottom up, giving encouragement and advice and explaining why they weren't at the top.
Bookworm was in the small group at the front still working hard.
He went down the places, 4th, 3rd, 2nd.....and Bookworm had won junior goat showmanship.
I usually go to my friend's fair in June and take photos of her kids as they compete and now I know why...what you see above is the extent of the photos I took of showmanship. I was too into it and watching to take more photos.
But I did get this one.
Mr. Lego was in seniors and went next. There was only one class of seniors so the first placings would stand.
He did a great job, driving and walking his goat. His goat Pippin, was the most laid back of all our goats; his one fault was that he would try to jump up and put his legs on your shoulders when you drove him. Mr. Lego worked hard with him to stop this annoying habit, and he didn't do it once during the competition.
There was one showman there who was in her senior year and was incredible so she took first, the other girl from our project took second, and Mr. Lego took third in senior goat showmanship.
But the day wasn't finished yet.
We had rabbit showmanship.
The girls were together in junior showmanship and, for the photographers sake, stood together.
Posing the rabbit....
Showing the underside.
Answering the judges questions, which seemed especially tough this year.
In Juniors both girls did a great job and Bookworm took 6th place.
One thing we all liked so much better about the goat competition is the judges feedback. You know right then and there (actually everyone knows, since he has a microphone) why it is you weren't at the top. In rabbits, there is no feedback at all, just a ribbon if you place.
Here is Mr. Lego waiting in line to show with the rest of the seniors
He did very well and even thought he answered the questions right, but didn't place.
This next photo was shot while we were watching Mr. Lego compete and was taken at 10:30 pm.
Yes, it was my insane day.
On the other days there were rides.....
Yummy things to eat, like the garlic fries, that tortured us for 5 days until we succumbed.
Our annual Friday night Little Caesar's Pizzas, brought in by My Sweetie.
And our rabbit potluck dinner. At least we didn't eat in the barn.
We finished up the week of competitions with Rabbit Bowl. Dasher and Bookworm were on the same team and took third place.
And Mr. Lego was on the first place senior team.
It was a crazy, fun-filled, lessons-learned, 5 days.