The Sestili siblings — Kendall and Brady — were again the big winners in the goat divisions at the 2020 Delaware County Junior Fair. Brother and sister have had quite the winning streak over the last few years.
Parents Molly and Greg Sestili said Kendall has won reserve in 2017 and grand champion in 2016, 2018, 2019 and 2020 in market boer goats; while Brady won reserve in 2015 and 2017, and Grand Champion Dairy Wether in 2018, 2019 and 2020.
Kendall Sestili said this was her 11th year of showing in 4-H.
“I started off with rabbits and then shown goats for the past six to seven years,” she said. “So, we’re actually doing both, but I always wanted to show large livestock because my grandparents are farmers. They farm 800 acres. I grew up around cattle and large livestock, and I always wanted to show cattle. We only live on an acre (in Delaware), so we don’t have room. We went to goats as a smaller livestock and that worked for us.”
This year’s contest was similar to past years, despite the COVID-19 pandemic, Kendall said.
“The only thing that was an issue is the goat show was moved up early. For us, the rabbit show is in the morning and the goat show was at night. It was more crammed. It was honestly almost the same for the 4-H aspect of it.”
What was different was the post-show vibe. In years past, Kendall could hang out with campers, attend dirt bike races, or walk around the grounds and get food. Not so this year.
“The atmosphere after you show wasn’t there, which is kind of a bummer,” she said.
The market goats are shown more for meat, Kendall said. They can be trained to add muscle, and judges look at the bone structure of the goat, muscular hind, shoulder width, and a filled-out rib cage.
Kendall said she has another year left of eligibility, but she hasn’t decided whether she’ll be back due to her softball schedule. Currently a freshman majoring in biology at Otterbein University, she plans on becoming a large animal veterinarian.
Brady Sestili said he and Kendall have been fortunate to win shows on a yearly basis.
“We train our goats, feed them the best, we gotta get them to where they need to be before we show them, and that’s what we do every year, and fortunately enough for us, we end up winning,” Brady said. “So our first year doing it we weren’t really experts on it. During that year, it was a process of learning what the judge looks for in all these goats and then what they want from us as showmen as well. And as the years go on, you just progressively know what you need to win. You keep learning until you know what is standard for a grand champion dairy wether or a boer goat.”
In the case of the dairy wethers, Brady said they aren’t trained to gain muscle like the boers. In addition, the wethers arrive sooner to the contestants than the boers, he said.
“Pretty much all you need to do with the dairy wether is go out there once a week and walk it around and train setting it up and getting them used to putting your hands on it and moving its feet around.”
This year’s fair was a bit different due to the pandemic, Brady said.
“The show aspect was pretty similar, but just like the fair part, it didn’t feel like fair that much because you go in one day and you’re out that day. The show aspect we usually have one or two days worth of all our shows, and this year, it’s you moving your animals and you go and show and you’re out. Everything went by so fast.”
A sophomore at Dublin Jerome High School, Brady said the one-day schedule was good because the high school doesn’t allow for students to be excused for the fair.
He said this may have been the last year the siblings show rabbits.
“With Kendall gone, it’s just a lot of work because we have a lot of rabbits at our house. We usually have 60 to 70 rabbits the month before fair because of all the babies.”
However, “for goats, I do plan on continuing to show. When I go to the fair I just love the atmosphere. It’s just a lot different than what I’m used to (at school). Going out there in that ring with your goat and showing, I just love it. It’s a great experience.”
Gary Budzak may be reached at 740-413-0906 or on Twitter @GaryBudzak.