This show year is done and in the books. There were a lot changes and trends this past year in the goat world.
1–Best of the West Labor Day sale. I said that this was the best sale in Oklahoma in terms of overall quality. Was I right? Yes. Reserve grand at OYE–Helms, reserve grand at Enid–GT and class winning premium sale wether at OYE–Kelln. Plus, numerous county winners, Woodward and Enid premium sale wethers and numerous high placers at OYE sold through this sale. What about the two high $ wethers that I sold? One was 3rd in class at OYE and the other got shot full of holes due to unforeseen circumstances and lack of management. But that wether still managed to place at OYE. This sale was way good this past year. It will be even better in 2013. Helms will bring a set. Tyke’s breeding program keeps getting better (see twins–kids and goats). Ralph and Steve will have a set and Rumour Has It that I will have a goat or two. You better put this sale on your calendar.
2–Helms trip–Lots of discussion about me buying so many goats on one trip. Was it worth it? Well, it hurt to write a check for that many goats at that price, but let’s look at the results. Grand & Res. grand at OK State Fair, div. 2 ch. & res. wethers at OK State Fair, div. 2 ch. doe kid at Ok State Fair, premium sale wethers at Tulsa, Res. grand at Lone Star Elite, Grand doe at Champion’s Choice, Grand wether at Woodward, Grand wether at Enid, 3rd overall doe at Enid, res. div. 2 wether at OYE, numerous class winners & premium sale wethers at OYE. Not to mention a buck. Throw in an “imaginary” hog hunting trip where we managed to find 4 wethers (3 premium sale wethers at Tulsa & 1 at Woodward). I think we found these goats because we didn’t use dogs and a guide.
3–Quality–I thought the overall quality of goats was deeper top to bottom. There were a lot of good goats getting Easter colored ribbons. They were good, there were just better ones there. However, I didn’t see that magical wether that made you go WOW! The goat that won the Lone Star Elite, Champion’s Choice and San Antonio was obviously a good one, but you could nickel and dime him if you wanted to. In terms of cash flow generated, that one was a great one. Why do I think that top shelf wether wasn’t around? They got their nuts left in them. A lot of breeders kept bucks for financial reasons. Look for more of that in 2013.
4–Champion’s Choice Jackpot–This show was top notch in terms of quality this past year. The grand wether at OK state fair, Grand & Res. Grand wethers at Lone Star Elite, Grand at San Antonio, Grand & Res. Grand at Enid, Grand & Res. Grand at Woodward and the Grand & Res. Grand at OYE were all at this show. Plus numerous other premium sale goats. The doe show was wicked good. There will be improvements, added money and added breeders in 2013. This show will be way good. Plus, every breeder will be selling a goat in the Champion’s Choice Jackpot online sale in June. What did this little, first time online sale produce last year? Res. div. 1 wether at Tulsa (Book), res. div. 4 wether at Tulsa (Kelln) and res. div. 4 wether at OYE (Kelln).
5–Kelln Bucks–Bucks that I own, sold, or own part of produced all year long. Joe Dirt proved himself as the most consistent wether sire in Oklahoma with grands at Enid & Woodward and wethers in the grand drive at Tulsa & OYE. Rainman had division champs at Tulsa and OYE, wethers and does. Freak On A Leash sired the grand at OYE. Black Jack had a res. div. doe at Tulsa and Pocket had a div. champion doe at OYE. Fade2Black had numerous premium sale wethers at Tulsa, Woodward and Enid. Look for more of this in 2013.
6–Online Sales–This form of marketing came to the forefront this past year and will continue to evolve. To be successful, a breeder must have good photos of good animals. The animals must be well presented, but not fake. It takes work to get these little goats broke to show for a photo/video. A suitable backdrop is a must. A quality photographer is a requirement. The animals must be quality in order to generate repeat customers. It is best if the animals are better in real life than what is in the picture. Those that offer animals that feed will love the online option. If they don’t produce, this might not be the sale for you. It takes as much work to hold an online sale as it does a live auction. But you can reach new customers via this option. Even if they don’t buy a goat, people are clicking on those banners and looking.
8–Fitting/Showmanship–I like a show animal. No matter the species, I want the hair/hide right. I want them to shine. I want them well presented. A quality showmanship job goes a long ways in my book. I don’t like seeing a judge help a kid show their animal. If they can’t show it, then they DO NOT deserve to win. I don’t like dirty animals with wood chips in their legs or on their bellies. Sometimes, I am guilty of having the animals looking to good, but that is part of it. The Okies are the best at showing and fitting animals. Like the Dos Equis most interesting man in the world, “when I want to see a good livestock show, I watch an Oklahoma stock show.”
9–Spare Tires–It seems that there are a lot of spare tires left in houses and goat barns across NW Oklahoma. Hhmm?!
10–Next Step–I like watching kids take that next step that is required to win. Chesley Comstock and Lexi Vanderwork did it this past year and their hard work paid off as they realized some of their goals. Bree Taylor has become money. Darcy Peach continues to weigh about 60 pounds and she wins classes with 120# wethers. Chanse Alexander can show with any of them. Braden and Halie Schovanec have taken goat showmanship to a whole NOTHER level. It was fun to see Tanner Miller, Tyler Lenhart and Kory Dietz excel this spring. Duke works as hard or harder than anybody. He has to, he lives with me. Duke can get a wether shown. Of course, he might rather be out hunting sasquatch than in the show ring. Of course, I would too. I want to catch that dang squatch because then I could find that ever-elusive grand at OYE trophy, a unicorn, a pot-of-gold and Nessie. That would be worth some jack.
10–Happy Dance–We all need a happy dance. We need to have fun, otherwise we need to go do something else. Britt Taylor has a happy dance. She always puts everybody else in a good mood. She doesn’t win a class, its okay. “I didn’t have a ribbon this color.” Her sister wins Woodward, Britt about lets go of her goat in the grand drive jumping for joy. The only time that I have been upset with her was at Woodward, as we were getting goats ready to go, she wanted Brooke to go to wal-mart and get Reeses’ Easter eggs. It was time to be focused. Not send the moms on a mission for chocolatey/peanut butter Easter eggs. I said, “No.” However,I love those dang eggs. They are way good. Maybe, we need to slow down and eat a Reeses’ Easter egg. I don’t remember ever being in a bad mood when eating those things.
11–Judges–I’m not going to bash any judges on here. We saw some good ones this past year and we saw some inconsistent judges. We saw some that were as expected and others that I hadn’t seen before and don’t really care to see again. I just want a judge to be consistent in type and kind in class, from class to class and in the final drive. I want the reasons to match the animal. It seems like there is a limited pool of good judges in the goat world. I do think there needs to be new ones tried, but they need to be tried at district or jackpot levels before they end up at a big show. I didn’t hear many conspiracy theories surrounding wether shows this past year. They all seemed pretty straight up. The doe shows, however, that is an entirely different discussion.
12–Doe shows–This past year proved to me why I don’t enjoy showing does. The judging is so insconsistent from one show to the next. A good goat should be a good goat. Grand one show, sift the next. Plus, it seems like there is a stench that comes from the politics involved in the doe show. I don’t mind getting beat by a good one, but I don’t like playing dirty pool. I would rather slam my head in a car door than show a doe. If you see Duke showing a doe, then one of two things happened–1)Dad, I want to show a doe (ERNGH!?!) or 2) Somebody, pissed me off. Really pissed me off. Our crew had two good does at OYE. Weighed them both out. One we didn’t see coming, she only needed to drop one pound over two days. Never happened. And Braden’s, well, we got caught speeding. Only missed it by one pound. Unlike horseshoes and hand grenades, close doesn’t count. Looking back, I’m glad they weighed out because I would have been upset when they were 3rd in class. Plus, I really llike does fitted to show. Not very many make them look right in my opinion. It takes work and skill, but it can be done. More people should spend time working hair and showmanship on does.
13–2013–It’s here. Online sales are already going on. We are already seeing online sales being taken to the next level. People are planning on where to go look for their next champion. How much do we spend? Will they cost more this year? Prices are going to be high, but there will be some bargains out there. But I plan on finding the bargains. Study your genetics. Ask questions. Then, most importantly feed, work and care for those animals better than you did last year. It is 2013 and like OSU football, it will always be better next year. Learn from this past year, but don’t look back anymore. It is time to look forward. And don’t forget to bust out your own happy dance. Good day.