As I finished chores in the barn tonight, many thoughts were swirling in my mind about this industry that some love and others find their happy moments.
I’m good at getting does kidded out and babies born alive. However, the Dragon Lady is great at getting those babies going. Supplementing quads, getting slow starters fired up, first time mommas used to nursing, etc. It’s kind of fun to watch her as she lets the babies run in the aisle of the kidding barn. The babies hop around. She laughs. And laughs some more. Duke and I stand there shaking our heads. It’s all good. These are the things that make this deal work for us.
As county and district shows are wrapping up in OK, I wonder if wether weights are trending upwards? It seems like most people have a 110 pounder or two on feed. A 89# wether is not truly a light weight, but….that may be where we are headed.
I did like the sound of thunder, the flash of lightning and the 42 rain drops that I heard hit last night. I did not like the slick stuff on the road this morning. Even worse, I did not like the moisture that froze the doors of the ag pickup this morning. There was just enough moisture to get in the cracks and freeze.
I stood in the kidding barn this evening with a bit of a blank stare as I rolled goat genetics around in my skull. Recently, I had a guy ask me to do the math on a genetic matchup that had a lot of 191. It came to 10 shots of 191. WOW!! However, with 191 being sired by Animal (which was a triple bred 900) that takes the count of 900 to 30 in that pedigree plus a shot of 900 coming from 612. That means there were 31 shots of 900.
The fall of 2005 was the first time that I went to Texas shopping for goats. It was September and I needed wethers. So, I found a sale. Some place called Kelly Meat Goats. My $150 to $250 orders for Fairview kids did not go very far that weekend. I did however buy a $500 wether for Kela out of some buck called Mozart. After the sale, Mike had a pen of chronics and other misfits that he let me sort through. I gambled on a couple of Yellowjacket kids. One of them won a class at OYE the next year. Another was 4th. Both kids made the sale at our county. On that trip, I got to see a young buck prospect that was not yet big enough to breed does. They called him 900. This was the first of many trips to that place.
One of my favorite livestock sightings of all time–regardless of species–took place in the summer of 2006. Tom Lamle, Fred Slater and I made a tour of goat herds. At one of the many stops that week, we found ourselves near Eldorado, TX at Claire Powell’s place. I’m not sure if Eldorado is the goat capitol but if they ever build a goat museum, it should be right there in Eldorado, next to that motel. I distinctly remember seeing a mature Bingo walk up to the fence. That was not a good goat. That my friends was just damn good livestock! Sound, big, balanced, plenty of muscle and a look. I have yet to see another goat that was as complete of a package as Bingo.
I distinctly remember attending numerous wether sales that weekend. But the funnest was the Schleicher County Select. There was a pair of ladies that needed help tapping a keg. Lamle and I stood there watching them as they struggled to get things hooked up. One of them, turned to us and said, “Is there any chance that either of you know how to do this?” We looked at each other, comments were made and the kegs got tapped. Good sale.
Extreme set of wethers. Some extremely good–some not so good. It was the first time that I met Ralph Shafer. It was also the first time that I saw Hutto sell wethers. He had just dominated TX majors and he had a set of S66 prospects that were primed to sell. And sell high they did. Fred accidentally bid at $5,000. Not to worry as it quickly passed the $10K mark.
At the end of that week of goating, we ended up back at Kelly’s. As the sale started, Mike Thompson and I were standing together. I thought lot #1 would bring a huge chunk of change. The next bid was a $1,000. Thompson was like “WTH? Should I bid?” I was like, “If you don’t, then I am.” He bid once and got him. A few lots later, I got the one that I wanted at $700. Roll into Tulsa that October, Chance Greenroyd had champ div. 1 and Kela Kelln had ch. div. 2. Both were 900 sired goats. We both learned a lesson not to take wicked good little goats to Tulsa again. AND that was the first and obviously not the last of the 900 genetics that we fed. It was also the last time Mike Thompson ever asked if he should bid or not at Kelly’s.
Several years later, Fred, Thompson and I were at Joe Raff’s. They were looking at wethers and I was looking at buck prospects. There was a couple of little ones that would be offered in a few weeks. One was wicked cool and the other was just really complete. I called a friend about them and told him he better be there on sale day. He was. Those two goats became known as Colt and 191. Mistakes were made that day. It seemed like a lot of money. Why didn’t we just buy them both? Hhmm. It probably wouldn’t have worked out but it did lead to other adventures.
August of 2006. Pfeiffer’s first sale. There was a good set of livestock. But there was a few June born kids that I wanted. I had recently had my ass chewed by the Dragon Lady. Kela allowed that she was no longer playing basketball. Tammy allowed that my low rent crap was done when buying goats for our daughter. “Whatever you spent on basketball camps, you better spend on goats!” Have I mentioned that my wife successfully played a lot of basketball? Including JUCO ball…right up till being pregnant with Kela got in the way.
That was the point when I did some math and realized that showing top-shelf livestock is actually cheaper than playing high school ball. At least there is a chance for some return on the investment. Nobody questions ball camps, shoes, t-shirts, gloves, etc. But, dang, when I gave $1,400 for that sale topper that August, you would have thought that I broke the bank to do it. Very few Okies had seen a $1,000 paid for a goat. Now, they average that much on 70 head. That wether was shown 4 times. He was grand at a jackpot that paid $500, grand at Major County, then grand at Enid District and he was ch. div. 3 at OYE. Okie x Harbour doe. I bought 6 Okie x Harbour wethers that year. We won 5 classes at OYE with them. The twin to Kela’s died of a kidney stone while we were showing heifers at Tulsa or it would have been 6. That was also the same OYE that Kela bought Sasha as a puppy from Tanner Miller.
These are just random thoughts of an old dude that has been a lot of miles with very little maintenance and proper upkeep. Kela got her first show animals in the fall of 1999. Duke will finish in the spring of 2019. Tammy and I can see the end of decades of being stock show parents. Pigs, broilers, heifers and a crap load of wether goats. The feed, the miles, the dollars, the heartaches, the hours, the kids and families that we have had the opportunity to work with, hunh? I don’t like a lot of the things that have changed about this industry, but I do enjoy most of the people, some of the memories and can even rationalize that the dollars were a solid investment. Don’t know if we could do it again, but it has been worth it.