GOUVERNEUR The 162nd Gouverneur & St. Lawrence County Fair kicked off its opening day with a 4-H goat show Tuesday morning in the sheep barn.
Dressed all in white as part of a goat-showing tradition, children and teens from across the county showed off their animals to the crowd of families and friends.
The show was organized into different classes for fitting and showmanship, determined by the age and category of the goats.
These are mostly dairy goats, said John A. Hunter, Gouverneur, superintendent of the sheep, goats, rabbits and chickens building. Right now the judge is working with them, trying to see which one of them handles their animal the best and shes asking them questions about the conformation of the goats to see if they know what the parts of the animal are.
Darlene A. Nason, Brushton, was the judge for the show. Ms. Nason has been a goat farmer since 1979. Although shes been judging 4-H goat shows in Franklin County for 30 years, Tuesdays event was her first time judging at the Gouverneur & St. Lawrence County Fair.
Its great for the kids because it shows them so much responsibility, Ms. Nason said. It is tough for kids to come in and handle a goat that doesnt want to behave.
She said goat shows are a good way for youngsters to get started caring for animals.
Goats are a beautiful small-animal project that give the kids self-confidence, responsibility, respect and it takes a lot of guts to get in there, Ms. Nason said.
Tuesday marked the first time Emily J. Ames, 9, Canton, participated in a goat show, which is now her favorite aspect of the fair. She and her 3-month-old goat, Debbie, took home a ribbon during the junior showmanship competition.
Passing out ribbons and trophies to the winners was Camryn V. Chester, 12, Madrid, who was named the St. Lawrence County Dairy Princess in June.
Naomi A. Moon, 12, and her goat Leah brought home a first-place trophy for junior showmanship. Naomi said the goat show is her favorite part of the fair because she gets to spend time with the animals.
Brother Seth J. Moon, 17, also went home with a first-place trophy. He and his 5-year-old goat, Amber, won the showmanship round. Seth said hes been showing goats at the fair for 10 years.
Ive gone to over 50 shows throughout my life, so I had a lot of experience for this, he said. I like the challenge that the goats present, and getting them ready for the show.
Mr. Moon said his family owns Moon Valley Meadows, a goat and sheep farm in Gouverneur.
We have worked very hard over the years to promote goats and sheep because theres a lot of benefits to having them, said Anna E. Moon, Seths and Naomis mother. The kids are excited every year to come show and see how well they can do.