I was given the opportunity to judge the Big Butler fair's goat show this weekend, and to say I had a blast is an absolute understatement. This is the first show that I have judged in several years and it comes at a very unique time. Rob has been encouraging me to pursue becoming a carded ADGA judge. This is because I could sit and watch a goat show for hours upon hours on end without getting tired of it with a huge smile on my face, all while placing the classes in my head and very closely mirroring what the judge sees.
This show really gave me a taste of what it would be like, we judged the gambit of classes starting with pewee showmanship, moving to dairy goats, then to market goats and onto breeding meat goats. It was an absolute joy working with the kids and the breeders of these goats. As I left for the day I felt so energized and could not stop talking about my judging experience. The exhibitors all made my job quite difficult by bringing out some high quality animals and presenting them in a very professional way. We stopped several times to give the exhibitors a round of applause to acknowledge the hard work that has gone into getting them and their animals there. I think that is often overlooked the amount of back work that goes into having those animals into the show pen, from the breeding, daily care, clipping, feeding, trailiering and the list goes on. That as a judge it is your responsibility to give your time and reasons to these people that have brought their animals for your consideration and placement, while being kind and understanding! People are paying for your opinion and as a judge you should be aware of this and give them honest reasons that are applicable for them in their herds.
The breeding meat goats and the market goats were some of the biggest challenges for me. I grew up showing market
and meat goats, but I have been several years removed from this realm. So I did some homework to brush up on how to judge the goats and terms to use for reasons. I felt very confident in making my decisions for the classes and I looked forward to giving my reasons to the exhibitors. Some of the goats were very close in style and kind, which makes sense, seeing as they were from a herd unit, but it really made me have to split hairs as to why one should be placed over the other. I also received some very nice compliments on my judging from the exhibitors and that makes it all worth while.
Overall, I hope I have the opportunity to judge fairs again in the future, as it encourages the youth who are the future of our industry, but also gives me a chance to interact with other goat breeders and enthusiasts, which is my favorite way to spend the day. As fai
r season continues to evolve, I hope you have fun showing your goats at a fair or simply getting to watch a fair go on. Stay cool and Happy Goating!!