LAUREN FITCH: Kicking and screaming

Its not easy: Even little goats can put up a big fight, and 4-H'ers have to practice and be patient when it comes time to show the feisty creatures. (Jim Crees photo/Herald Review)
Its not easy: Even little goats can put up a big fight, and 4-H’ers have to practice and be patient when it comes time to show the feisty creatures. (Jim Crees photo/Herald Review)

I’ve had very limited experience with goats thus far in my life. Yet, on Friday, I found myself crouched down to eye level with Bam Bam the goat, asking her to cooperate with me for the next five minutes.

She didn’t listen.

My editor Jim Crees set in motion the series of events that led to Herald Review reporter Karin Armbruster and myself showing a goat and sheep at the Osceola County 4-H FFA Fair last week. “Showing” is a generous term for what we did in the arena.

Four-H veteran Sabrina McKay gave us a quick tutorial on how to lead the animals around the arena and properly display them for the judge. Sherry Wood-Stieg was kind enough to act as the judge in our mock competition.

McKay, who shows basically every type of livestock you’d find at a county fair from what I gathered, made it look so easy to lead the animals while she smiled and maintained eye contact with the judge and got the goat and sheep to set up in the proper stance.

Then Bam Bam was handed off to me.

She jumped when I tried to lead her, twisted against her chain and generally resisted everything I wanted her to do — all the while bleating her disapproval at my incompetency.

Then came the sheep round, and I was paired with the more docile PeeWee. Turns out, sheep don’t wear a lead for showmanship. So I placed one hand under her head and one behind her ears to guide her around the arena.

That time, Karin had more difficulties as her lamb made a brief escape from the arena before returning for the rest of the show. I am in awe that young children and teens who show these animals — and even bigger animals like steers and pigs — each year. A little goat got the best of me.

After my brief glimpse into the world of 4-H, I definitely have a lot more respect for the youth who compete every year. I can see how rewarding it would be to work with an animal for months, getting it ready to perform in the arena. I also can see how frustrating it would be to put in all that work and then have the animal act up on show day.

I applaud you 4-H’ers, for your hard work, your dedication and your patience with your livestock. I think I’ll stick to writing.

Be sure to check out the video of our experience by clicking here.