There’s No Business Like Show Business!

Well! Last week was a busy, goat-filled week! It was a week to remember, a week filled with goats! I am a little overexcited, as you can probably tell. You see, last week was the American Dairy Goat Association’s National Show, and this year it was held right here in St. Paul.

There was intense goat judging, there was amusingly recalcitrant kid-showing, there was petting of soft ears, and there was even someone giving a baby goat a bath under a spigot.

There was also a truly MASSIVE amount of goat shit (not pictured). I don’t think I can possibly overstate this: the amount of goat feces on the sidewalks and “floors” and everywhere is such that you cannot possibly hope to avoid stepping in any, and I settled for trying to step in as little as possible. I am also reasonably certain that I was the only actual “spectator,” as in “person who does not own/breed/show goats.” I’d expected crowds of eager goat see-ers, and when we went the first day it was basically a ghost town. I saw my first goat and squealed “LOOK! A GOAT!” which, in retrospect, probably blew my cover immediately. There was no specific show going on at the time (because I had very much misunderstood what a “milk out” was) and I was so disappointed that twenty minutes in, when Simone started complaining of frankly understandable boredom, we left, because staying two hours until the next show seemed impossible. On the way out we met a very nice woman who let us pet her Saanen, whose name was Joyful, and I thought to myself “well, at least I got to pet a goat.”

And that would have been that if Scott hadn’t encouraged me to get up early the next morning and go to a show on my own while he watched the girls. It was everything I had dreamed it would be, and after that I went back again, three days in a row. (I am still kicking myself for going home that first afternoon and missing the Saanen Junior Show–the BABY division of my favorite breed!–but I suppose I will know better next time.)

Now the show has ended, but I will always have my memories, and a picture of the baby goat I want desperately to adopt, and a bumper sticker (HAVE YOU HUGGED YOUR KIDS TODAY?) and some lovely glasses, and a mug. Also, a lot more information than I wanted about the importance of teat symmetry when viewed from the back, mammary system capacity, and goat semen.

I am writing about the experience in more organized, essay-ish form, and when/if it appears somewhere, I will let you know. I suppose it is possible that no editor will be interested in my inside look at the American Dairy Goat Association National Show (which I have it on good authority is “the Westminster of Goat Shows”) but I choose to believe.



  1. Tamara says:

    I’m going to have to go with the Anglo-Nubian as my favorite breed, based on pictures alone. I’ve had a lot of experience with pygmies after working with a certain TV celebrity and found them delightful but stubborn, as one would expect. I, for one, would totally read a long form essay on the goat show.

  2. I am lobbying exceeding hard for a couple of pygmy goats in the back garden. SO HARD. J, alas, remains fairly obdurate (it is he who will have to care for them, inevitably); although I did detect fractional weakening earlier this evening when I was making a solid case for why the proposed zip-wire should be installed at A and run to B, across C, when he said ‘but I thought you wanted goats in that bit! You can’t have both!’

    If I ever succeed, you will be my first invitee for ear-petting, ocean notwithstanding!

  3. Jen says:

    That artificial insemination booklet is fantastically creepy. Is that…a “come-hither” waggle from the female goat’s tail?

    However, I do love the picture of the recalcitrant goat being dragged into the ring by its owner, and of dear Simone and her goat friend.

    We always visit the goat barn at our State Fair–I love all the pygmy varieties. My husband is instead partial to llamas and so I fear any goat acquisition scheme would have a firm llama/goat quid pro quo. So for now I admire from afar and consume vast and likely unhealthy quantities of their cheese. Glad you got 3 days of goaty goodness!

  4. Dairy goats…. so no pygmy goats? :(
    So sorry you missed the baby goats.
    (And an AI handbook with a four-tailed goat on the cover? Despite the teat symmetry it still looks wrong)

  5. Oh, surely you KID. I would LOVE to read said goat-filled essay.

    However, I am going to have nightmares about that insemination pamphlet. Did they have to make her tail so…swishy back and forth??

  6. nikwalk says:

    I went to a fiber fair to write an essay about goats once. I did not get a lot of traction on goats. I love goats so much. How could I fail? I wish you better luck in your essay endeavor.

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