09/29/12 — Handlers lead goats to victory

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Handlers lead goats to victory

By Ty Johnson
Published in News on September 29, 2012 11:58 PM

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Gabrielle Young shows her goat during the Open Junior Meat Goat Show on Friday night.

DUDLEY -- Seth Henderson's bottle-fed goat never gave him a chance in the novice showmanship competition Friday night at the Wayne County Fairgrounds.

The 5-year-old was nearly pulled to the ground during the first heat of handlers, but he wasn't surprised.

"She always drags me around," he said.

Seth, of Greenville, will have plenty of time to work on his skills -- and to grow a bit -- before next year, when he vows he won't let his charge get his goat.

"She did it this time, but she's not gonna do it again," he said.

For Gabrielle Young, though, there was never any doubt who was in charge in the ring.

The 9-year-old never took her gaze away from judge John Tart III throughout her heat and the championship round, keeping Edgar, her goat, square and in plain sight at all times.

Her smile began to grow as soon as Tart asked her and Edgar to stand near the front of the ring. She knew she was close.

"I thought I was going to win," she said after the event, still clutching her blue ribbon, even as Edgar occasionally eyed it as a meal.

In her second year, Gabrielle told Tart her favorite part of her goat was his loin and meat, and while she was knowledgeable, the judge highlighted her quickness and efficiency as what set her apart from the rest of those in the novice class.

He said it was a tight call, but nowhere near as close as the junior class where Sarah Jane French, 14, was awarded first prize.

An athlete from Virginia, she is sure to spend at least an hour a day with Little Man, balancing it with cheerleading, softball and volleyball practice, although he's benefited from being hauled to more than 20 shows this year.

"The goats are used to it," she said.

And that was a benefit, since Tart put the juniors to work for a solid 20 minutes to help choose the best of the class.

"I was looking for consistency so I kept them in there a while," he said after Ms. French was selected as the showmanship winner. "I like to make sure what they do one time, they do every time."