County Fair 2019: Part 1 ~ Fitting, Tacking In, The Goat Show

This last week we lived at Cal Expo for our county fair. Well, we didn't sleep over or anything so I guess I can't technically say we lived there, but it sure felt like it. Each day for a solid week we were arriving at the fair by 6:30 to 7 am and some nights, not leave until 8 or 8:30 pm.

So yes it was a whopper of a week, but it was a good week. We learned lots, did some winning, saw places where we could improve, and basically had a great time.

We started out by fitting our animals. The goats at our farm were first - we have been very blessed to find a small working farm close to our home in our suburb near Sacramento.

My girls also help the other members in our project as well. But I have the kids in my project do as much as possible.

They all wash their goats, shave off most of the hair, and clip their hooves. This takes an average of about an hour per animal.

Next day we haul everything into the fair. My trusty mini van and my first load.

Our fairgrounds are a good half hour (if there is no traffic) so this really takes all day.

For the first time since I began the goat journey seven years ago, we were moved all the way down to the other end of the barn. This year we had one long aisle, with a couple of pens for tack. It was a bit different, but we made it work.

Setting up the pens with shavings.

We also strung lights all down our pen line.

My project members spend time making their stall cards.

We then attach them to my trusty fences.

These we attach to 2x4's and hoist them up to go over our pens.

Why do I go to all that trouble of getting them up? Because our goats would tear those stall cards apart if they could reach them. Check out what one did to a first place ribbon we hung from the top of their stall.

He had to stand on his tippy-toes to get to get his teeth into that ribbon. I also love being able to see our display, all the way across our massive barn.

By 7 pm we had all the animals safe and sound in their pens.

The next day, Wednesday, is weigh in day. Goats weigh in in the morning, and sheep are in the afternoon. Each youth does need to be present because their code of conduct and drug declaration forms are due. Yes, we do track every medication given to these animals and are very aware of withdrawal periods. And all of the animals made weight which was great.

We had some clipper problems the day before so my two daughters fit their sheep at the fair today.

Sheep have wool instead of hair so fitting them is a bit more complicated. The girls actually do it twice in the same sitting, since wool can flatten easily. They were doing this for at least a couple of hours while I helped to check in the rest of the breeding goats at our fair.

Later in the afternoon I had a project meeting with my goat kids. We talked about animal care at the fair, being exhibitors and how to deal with the public coming through, and then we did a short showmanship review.

Working hard.

My girls also know of a couple of other project leaders that they find during fair and ask advice from....I'll tell you that the other leaders at our fair are so helpful!

This is our only early night at fair, and we can eat dinner at home.

Next day - the first day that the fair is officially open - is goat show day. We are there at 7 am, to clean out pens and get our animals ready. This thing keeps coming through the barn before 8 am, cleaning out what we push into the main aisle.

Our club does a breakfast this day, since everyone needs to be here. This morning it was bagels and cream cheese, fruit salad, and a lovely egg and potato casserole that a mom made in her slow cooker.

We stagger and everyone gets their goats washed, blown out, and legs fit for the show. It's a little hectic because our show begins at 9 am.

My Sweetie got that shot by standing at the top of the stands at the sheep ring, right next to us.

And then this lovely shot of me, telling him to stop taking blackmail photos of us.

Nutsy, in her market class.

And she got 1st place! Ashley was in the next class.

And she also got 1st place! The top two are kept in the holding pens for final drive... by the end of all the classes I had four of my six project kids in the holding pens with their goats.

Final drive....

We didn't get reserve or champion, but the girls did great and were thrilled getting 1st in their classes.

Our club also competed in the chapter/club market competition and we actually won 1st place.

The breeders of our goats also came, and were very excited with all of their results.

These two are very special to us - Nutsy has been able to use their goats each year she has shown.

We had a short break before showmanship.

Nutsy won Junior Master Showmanship when she was 10 so since then she has had to show as a senior.

Senior showmanship.

The competition was steep here.

The girls ended up in the top five, and so the judge asked them some questions. I was excited that out of the top four, three of them were girls I had worked with in my project.

Final drive: and he placed Nutsy in 4th, went up from there, and Ashley won seniors!

The final competition was for the buckle. Our fair only awards one 4-H showmanship buckle per species, and so has the two top juniors go against the top two seniors for the buckle.

Ashley won the coveted buckle! And we finally saw a slight smile in the ring.

This is a BIG deal to us. The girls spend countless hours with their animals and our fair is pretty competitive, so getting a buckle is an amazing accomplishment. Winning this also put her into Senior Master Showmanship which was also quite exciting.

So very happy for these girls!

The Sacramento County 4-H Senior Goat Showman!

After all that, I sat up in the stands with other 4-H moms, enjoyed a glass on wine and watched FFA showmanship, while the kids and My Sweetie went to play cards games on the grass.

And dinner tonight was our annual pizza night.

We all chip in and send someone out to get some pizzas at Little Caesars. We found a nice spot to sit at outside to eat.

And we were done with day three! Four days to go.....

Part 2
Part 3