Wayne America

Rise in goat interest makes for more show opportunities

Alexis Frye adds some hay to the feeder for her dairy goat, Chloe, in one of the pens set up in the new goat and sheep barn on the Wayne County Fairgrounds. An increase in the number of goat entries in previous years helped fuel the need for a new building to house goats and sheep at the fairground this year. (Photo by Michael Carnes)

Goats are making something of a comeback at the Wayne County Fair.

An increase in the number of goat entries in previous years has helped fuel the need for a new building that are shared by goat an sheep entries on the county fairgrounds, and that has helped add another class of competition for the younger goat showmen.

Close to 35 entries are expected for this year’s goat competitions, with classes for dairy, pygmy, market meat and breeding meat classes scheduled, as well as junior and senior showmanship competitions.

Mary Paustian, one of the assistant superintendents for the goat competition, said the goats are a great option for younger kids to get their start in animal show competitions.

“They’re easier to take care of and aren’t as expensive as cattle,,” she said. “They’re a quicker turnaround and are easier for the younger kids to handle, so a lot of the beginners are starting with goats and getting their start in showmanship there.”

Eric Frye, another assistant superintendent whose daughter, Alexis, is showing dairy goats, said the number of entries are above and beyond what he saw when he showed goats as a kid.

“When I was young, I showed goats and we had pretty good numbers at that time, somewhere between 15 and 20,” he said. “Those were good numbers for goat showmanship back then, but the last few years the numbers have really come around.”

Frye said that the Boer breed, a goat that is raised more for its meat, has shown an increase in previous years as more meat goats are being entered alongside their dairy counterparts.

“Now we have a meat market class like they do with cows and pigs, so it’s added another class for goat showmanship,” he said.

The increase in numbers facilitated the need to add a junior showmanship class this year, Paustian said.

“We added the junior showmanship because in the past we’d only had a trophy for one showmanship class, so with all the younger kids coming in, we decided to give out a senior and junior showmanship trophy,” she said.

The increase in numbers meant for a nearly full barn in the goat and sheep barn that was put up this year just to the north of the cattle barn.

“We got the pens set up a couple of weeks ago and didn’t enough at the time to accommodate the sheep and goats, so we’ve had to add more pens,” Faustian said, noting that about 48 pens are in place for the sheep and goat entries at the Wayne County Fair this year.