10/16/05 — Elizabeth Rowe at State Fair

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Elizabeth Rowe at State Fair

By Turner Walston
Published in News on October 16, 2005 2:16 AM

For some livestock show competitors at this year's North Carolina State Fair, having one animal to shepherd around the ring will be enough.

Elizabeth Rowe, 13, of Dudley will guide five goats during her stay in Raleigh -- although not all at the same time.

Elizabeth is preparing this weekend to participate in the Junior Meat Goat Show at the State Fair Tuesday. She will show five goats -- Clover, Lilly, Star, Snickers and Champ -- in five different competitions.

Star will be her goat for the showmanship competition, which tests how well a competitor is able to manage her animal, and how much she knows about.

Elizabeth said behavior is the reason Star will get the showmanship nod.

"She walks better than Lilly does," she said.

A member of the 4-H Southern Wayne Silver Stirrups, Elizabeth has been working hard to get the goats ready.

"We have to wash the goats, trim the goats, and make sure the goat box has all of our supplies to be prepared for the time to show," she said.

She also spends several hours a day feeding and working with the goats. Ideally, she said, each goat would gain about a half-pound per day.

"She gives them a good nutritionally-balanced feed, and we keep them in a small pen," Elizabeth's mother, Vivian, said. "She tries to work with them and handle them on a daily basis."

Her father, Thomas, takes care of the morning feeding while Elizabeth completes her home-school lessons.

After school is over, she is out in the practice ring.

"I work on leading them -- that's the main thing," Elizabeth said.

And then there is the preparation necessary before the goat meets a judge.

"You've got to get them used to having their legs handled," Mrs. Rowe added.

Although she has shown horses since age 3, last year was Elizabeth's State Fair goat show debut.

"Last year, I was more nervous because it was actually my first year," she said.

Mrs. Rowe said the family will load up the trailer and head to the State fairgrounds Monday night to be ready to show Tuesday morning.

Tuesday's show will be the culmination of this year's Eastern Carolina Meat Goat Circuit. Children from all over the region have participated in the circuit, earning showmanship points at every event.

The person with the most points will earn a coveted prize after the state competitions.

The Rowes are keeping their fingers crossed.

"We don't know where she is in the points, but we're thinking she's at least in the top five," Mrs. Rowe said.

And they will not be the only ones keeping an eye on the standings.

North Carolina Cooperative Extension livestock agent Eileen Coite said more than 20 youths from Wayne County will participate in hog, goat or horse shows at the State Fair this year.

"I think we've got a real good representation of children up here, probably as many as we've ever had in the years that I've been in Wayne County," Mrs. Coite said.

Mrs. Coite said livestock shows are rewarding for the children.

"They get to meet new people, and they get to learn from one another and help each other," she said.

The State Fair will bring together children from all over North Carolina.

"I think it builds friendships and relationships, and gives them a good environment to learn from one another and have a good time, and enjoy the fair, too," Mrs. Coite said.