Sam Griffin not only won the Grand Champion Market Boer Goat category Monday at the Delaware County Junior Fair, but he also has won this year for goat showmanship and the goat Skillathon.
“I’ve been working him out a lot at home, just about every day, calculating his feed, and I showed him the best I could in the arena and won,” Griffin said of his winning entry. “It was a little hard to train him at first, but eventually I got him to do what I wanted him to.”
Griffin said the Boer breed is a meat goat, and the judges are looking for good structure and a straight back that is hard and not squishy. He said he braces the goat to make its muscles pop out more. It’s a technique that has the exhibitor holding the goat’s head and leaning a leg against the goat’s neck and front quarters.
“To brace, set the feet up square and then push into your goat,” states a pro tip on the Weaver Livestock website. “Your goat will naturally want to push back against the force, thereby flexing its muscles.”
Prior to the fair’s start, Griffin competed in the Skillathon at the Coliseum on Sept. 11. He explained that it is a written quiz about your animal, but unlike showmanship, the animal isn’t with you.
Griffin said he’s been showing market goats for at least five years, but he’s also shown dairy goats. He said the main difference is that instead of bracing, the hind legs of the dairy goats are “set up” by hand but the animal is not over-stretched.
The Junior Fair’s animal shows were back to normal this year, Griffin said, echoing the opinion of other competitors.
“Last year I couldn’t do the showmanship for goats, they didn’t have it last year because of COVID,” he said. “Everything is not so restricted as it was last year.”
Griffin, who lives on a farm in Sunbury with his parents and younger sister, is a sophomore at Big Walnut High School. He attends Future Farmers of America meetings and is weighing options for a possible future career in agriculture.
Griffin said he’s a member of the Critter Run 4-H Club out of Galena. He likes the club because “it’s very well organized, the people are nice, and they taught me everything I know about goats.”
When The Gazette caught up with Griffin, he had just finished competing in the Supreme Showman Contest on Wednesday afternoon.
And a fair warning to the competition: Griffin said he will “probably keep showing until I’m aged out of 4-H.”
Gary Budzak may be reached at 740-413-0906 or on Twitter @GaryBudzak.