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Putting on a show: After losing five goats in barn fire, beauty arises from the ashes

By Susan Shinn Turner

For the Salisbury Post

CLEVELAND — Sarah Moore was a city girl until she married her husband, Josh. Now they live on what they call the “Moore compound,” next door to her in-laws, and near her two brothers-in-law.

They fenced in a lot, and Sarah said to her husband, “Let’s get a couple of goats.”

“We fell in love with them,” Sarah says.

One thing led to another, and Sarah and her daughters began showing goats. Lucy and Laney are 12 and 13 now, respectively, and are students at West Rowan High School.

In 2018, Sarah won first place senior kid (an age class) for the goat that’s the mother of Lil Mtn Hosanna. “Anna,” as this goat is called, is the American Dairy Goat Association’s 2021 Nigerian Dwarf Junior Champ.

“That’s proof to us we are doing something right,” Sarah says.

The path to a national title has not been all smooth for Sarah.

“Six years ago,” she says, “we had a barn fire. We lost our barn and all five of our kids (young goats). When something tragic happens, you start questioning what you are doing. It was a test. But so many people came to help us build our barn back. God makes beauty from the ashes and that was literal for us.”

Josh grew up in the area, and Sarah embraced animals once they married.

“It’s been awesome to raise the girls on a farm,” she says. “You take care of and raise livestock, and that teaches responsibility. It’s very rewarding, but it’s a lot of work.”

Josh just completed a small salon next to the house for Sarah, who’s been a hairdresser for about 15 years. She also just started work as a first-grade teaching assistant at West Rowan Elementary School.

So with being a wife, mom, hairstylist, teacher and farmer, she says, “It definitely keeps me busy.”

The girls are also playing tennis and softball this fall.

Not only does she work around the girls’ schedule, she also works around the goats’ schedules.

“We plan our breeding schedules around the national championships,” Sarah notes. Those typically take place in June or July. The most recent championship was in Louisville, Ky. Next year’s is set for Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, then the next three years, they’ll take place on the West Coast.

“We have no plans to go that far,” Sarah says.

Showing goats take a lot of time, and requires a focus on the goat’s health and nutritional needs. Fortunately, Sarah says, one of her brothers-in-law is a veterinarian.

“You’ve got to have good feed and good hay,” she says. “We were very blessed to get a good start. You have to learn how to pair the right animals together for breeding. You develop an eye for what you like and what the breed standard is.”

She adds, “I dreamed this might happen, but I didn’t expect it.”

She says she simply got into showing goats as a hobby, something to do for fun. “I didn’t think it would get this big.”

A female goat is known as a doe while a male goat is called, you guessed it, a buck. For a senior champion, there’s a huge waiting list to buy kids, Sarah says. A junior champion means the doe has not had kids yet.

Sarah has developed good friendships with others who show locally. She has shown at the Rowan County Fairgrounds, the N.C. State Fair, and will show at the Cleveland County Fair on Oct. 2. She’s also shown at venues in South Carolina, Virginia, and Tennessee.

“It’s fun to have that in common,” she says. “We would not be where we are without the help and support of friends and family.”

She adds, “The Noble family in Cleveland have had numerous national champions over the past couple of years and have been very successful. They have been so kind and very helpful to us in so many ways.”

Sarah plans to take Anna to next year’s championships. She hopes to breed her this fall, putting her in the running for the senior championship level.

“Since she did so well, we want to take her back again,” she says.

For more information, visit lilmtnfarm.wixsite.com/lilmtnfarm.

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