Love was in the air Tuesday night at the Manatee County Fair’s goat show. An honest affection between 4-H and Future Farmers of America students and their goats was apparent, and at least one goat didn’t make it into the show because she had a new baby to love.
Just hours before the show was to begin, the baby wasn’t going to wait, and a number of people gathered around to watch it take its first steps as mama lovingly introduced her baby to the world. But it is a love for the animals that draws a lot of young students into the FFA and 4-H. Goats, in particular, appear to have a strong appeal for those students wanting to show them.
Faith Seiler comes from a veteran family of goat showers from Lakewood Ranch High School. The five Seiler siblings were highlighted in last year’s show, but as they start to graduate, only Faith and Zachary showed in this year’s fair. Faith said goats are way more fun to show than most other animals.
You give them a little attention and all they want to do is rub on your leg.
Faith Seiler, winner of the senior showmanship division
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“They are really easy to take care of and they are more fun and loving,” Faith said. “You give them a little attention and all they want to do is rub on your leg.”
Faith likes the fact that the goats aren’t sold for eventual food after the fair like the swine and beef cattle. Even many of those kids like to pretend that when they are loaded on the trailer that they are going someplace else. The Seiler family raises their goats for as long as they can and sell the milk to pay for their feed.
Faith ended up beating out her brother in the senior showmanship division and won the blue ribbon. Zachary wouldn’t have it any other way although the siblings have always been more competitive with one another than anyone else. Zachary, who has shown swine as well, said goats are “much easier,” in terms of preparation and handling.
The Seiler dynasty is coming to an end with three of the siblings heading to graduation, but a new family is more than willing to make the annual goat show their new tradition and start a family dynasty of their own.
Goats are fun, but it’s a lot of work and not all of that is fun. But sometimes my goat gets to sleep with me and I like taking naps with her.
Joshua Wells, 9, showed his first goat at the fair
Palmetto’s Joshua Wells was showing his first goat in Tuesday’s show. The 9-year-old is the oldest sibling of six and although he didn’t place in his first fair, all of his siblings want to follow their brother who said he is following in his mother’s footsteps, who showed goats for a decade during her school years.
“I wanted to show last year, but I wasn’t old enough,” said Joshua. “Goats are fun, but it’s a lot of work and not all of that is fun. But sometimes my goat gets to sleep with me and I like taking naps with her.”
Tuesday’s show featured a new judge with a new style for the first time in a quarter century. The contestants were not only judged on their goats and their relationships with the goats in the ring, but also were grilled with various questions about a goat’s anatomy. That threw off even some of the veterans, but not all.
Faith took home the blue ribbon in the senior showmanship division with Caitlin Colwell taking second and Katelyn Dumas taking third. Samantha Ogline won the intermediate showmanship division with Olivia Oliver taking second and third went to Sophie Hecker. Lourdes “Luly” Capote-Dishaw won the junior showmanship blue ribbon with Xander Cochran taking second and Orian Dukes winning third place.
The show went on into the night and the remaining results were not available as of press time Tuesday.