Fair wraps up today with cattle show, last chance for rides and eats
By Sarah Campbell
Jackson Noble spent about two months training Desert Rose for Friday’s dairy goat show at the Rowan County Fair.
But the 13-year-old has been taking care of the animal for years, feeding her daily and grooming her coat as needed.
His hard work paid off Friday when he won first place in the senior division of the contest, beating out cousin Hannah Baysinger and Tripp Oliphant, who placed second and third.
Noble, whose family has been raising goats for about seven years, said goats have dispositions similar to people.
“They have good days and bad days,” he said.
That’s why it can be tricky training them.
“The first thing you do is walk them around and try to get them to follow you,” he said. “Then you want to get them used to what they are going to do in front of the judges.”
Baysinger said working with goats is never dull.
“They all have really different personalities, which is neat,” she said.
Barn director David Correll said Friday was the first time the fair has hosted a dairy goat contest. The event was added in response to requests from goat owners throughout the county.
“We continue to look for new shows and find new ways to get different youth involved,” he said. “The goat show seemed to be a good way to get those involved who might not have room for cattle at their homes.”
Correll said it’s up to the children to make sure the goats are ready for the show.
“When you’re exhibiting an animal, the showman’s job is to make the goat look the best they can, he said.
That’s why so much time and effort goes into making them look great and perform on command.
Cullen Owen of Madison County’s Spinning Spider Creamery judged the contest.
First he looked at showmanship, then honed in on the actual goats themselves.
Maddie Noble, 11, took home top honors in the junior division. Amelia Baysinger, 9, Audrey Oliphant, 9, and J.D. Basinger, 9 placed second, third and fourth.
Six children, some as young as 3-years-old, competed in the pee-wee division. They all received purple ribbons for their effort.
Correll said there are a lot of benefits associated with raising and showing goats.
“It teaches (children) a lot of responsibility at home because they care and feed for them,” he said. “There is also humility there, because you’re not always going to win, so you’ve got to be as gracious in loss as you are in winning.
“There are just a lot of life lessons that you can learn.”
Maddie kicked off the goat show dressed as Snow White, leading in the pee wee contestants and their Nigerian dwarf goats.
Gail Lovick had a blast watching the show from the bleachers Friday.
“I grew up on a farm, so I always look forward to events like this at the fair. It’s just so much fun,” she said. “It’s also great to see young people invest their time in something like this.”
Dairy cattle show today
People were prepping their dairy cattle Friday for the competition that begins today at noon.
Gracie Hagen, 10, and her mother, Monica McMaster, gave Erica, a brown Swiss heifer, a bath and cleaned her ears.
“A lot goes into this,” McMaster said. “We’re usually tired when it’s all over.”
Along with McMaster’s boyfriend Jonathan Ward of Fisher Ward Dairy, they’ll show 11 cows during today’s show.
The Lexington family said they enjoy taking care of the animals together.
“We just love it,” McMaster said.
Chris Martin and Ryan Sloop, both of Mount Ulla, worked to get Brownie, an 8-year-old brown Swiss, ready for the show by clipping her Friday. That means shaving excess hair to give her a more sleek look.
Martin, who has two entrants in today’s show, said it’s pretty easy to train them to do what you want after they’ve been halter broken.
Correll said 152 dairy animals will compete in five categories during today’s event.
“That’s a record. We’ve never had the many cattle in the barn,” he said. “It’s really exciting that so many people are coming to the fair and bringing their animals.”
Correll said some owners are so dedicated that they spend the night in the barn with their animals to make sure they are tended to 24/7.
High school students had a little bit of fun with their heifers Friday, dolling them up for the annual dairy cattle dress-up contest.
April Lamb, president of Carson High School’s Future Farmers of America, came in first place with her Jersey heifer Molly, who went by Heifer Potter for the night.
The cow donned a black cape, red and white scarf and round-rimmed glasses like the popular wizard Harry Potter.
Lamb said she got the idea from a friend who is a bit of a Potter fanatic.
“She already had all of the stuff, so I just borrowed it from her,” she said.
Joey Ashley, a South Rowan senior who is a member of FFA, dressed up Bella, the school Jersey heifer, in a red, white and blue attire. She wore a sign that said “Bella for President, help me ‘moo’ve into the White House.”
“We were trying to think of something current,” said Laura Allen, an agriculture teacher. “We’re not taking sides, so it’s fun.”
Final day of festivities
The fair will open for it final time at noon today, with rides starting up at 1 p.m. It will close down for the season at midnight.
Those who prefer to skip the rides can check out the Circle C petting farm, chow down on fair delicacies such as funnel cakes, browse the exhibit halls and catch magics shows, cooking shows and pig races.
West Rowan High’s cabinet and furniture making classes will also be on hand doing demonstrations. They’ll be turning wood on a lathe.
Teacher Richard Taylor said the school’s masonry class has been taking part in the fair for years so when his class was asked to come out he couldn’t pass it up.
“This is good exposure for us,” he said. “This is an art that’s not done anymore.”
Senior Cassie Menard said it’s been exciting to be at the fair this week.
“People have stopped to see what we’re doing and kids have been amazed by it,” she said. “Not a lot of people have seen this done before.”
Menard said she enjoys the sense of accomplishment she gets when she completes a project. She’s made everything from tables to benches to headboards during her three years in the class.
Jeremy Weaver, a junior taking the class for the first time this year, said he was a little bit nervous about being at the fair.
“We haven’t had much time to practice since we’ve only been in school a month,” he said. “It’s been interesting though. I like working with my hands.”
The fair runs from noon to midnight. Cost is $7 for adults, $4 for senior citizens and $3 for children under 12 years old. Children young than 6 years old are admitted free. Parking is $1. A wristband for unlimited rides is $20.
—- Circle C Petting Farm open: Noon
—- Dairy cattle show: Noon to 4 p.m.
—- Rides start and food vendors open: 1 to 11:30 p.m.
—- Amazing Rex & Dana: two shows between 6 and 10 p.m.
—- R & S Wood Carving: two shows between 6 and 10 p.m.
—- Health System Cooking Show: two shows between 6 and 10 p.m.
Contact reporter Sarah Campbell at 704-797-7683.