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Animals, owners take center stage at Monroe County fair

Animals-owners-take-center-stage-at-Monroe-County-fair

Nicole Krueger waits to show her horse, Mr. Bojangles, at the Monroe County Fair, which ended Sunday.

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When she was only 12 days old, Lady strutted her stuff at the Monroe County Fair.

This kid was born to be a star.

Lady, a baby Nubian goat with droopy ears and big brown eyes, made her show biz debut July 31 in the dairy goat showmanship competition. The newborn goat and her owner, Angelina Eby, 8, competed against 19 other teams in the event's junior class.

Angelina chose Lady to compete instead of her twin brother, Lord.

“Lady had an easier time being born,” the Ida girl said.

Angelina was as new to the fair as her furry friend. Although the rookie duo did not advance to the finals, Angelina said she plans to come back next year “with the same goat, probably.”

Leah Turgliatto of Temperance, another newcomer to the fair circuit, won second place in the junior class with her goat, Butter.

“I felt really excited after I came in second,” Leah, 8, said.

Butter is a rookie as well, and Leah said she had high hopes for future competitions.

“I'm going to try again next year.”

The junior class's top honor went to Bedford Township's Jake Howard, 10. Jake had experience on his side - he had competed in shows with his goat, Zagnut, twice before.

Angie Gazdag, who judged the junior and adult goat showmanship classes, said she was impressed with this year's youngest group.

“The kids did an excellent job overall. They had very clean animals; a judge's dream.”

Judges evaluate how well the animals respond to their owner's commands as they parade them around the arena, Ms. Gazdag said.

A few of the goats in the competition were a bit unruly during the event, refusing to walk or butting into other animals. Angelina had to resort to carrying Lady several times during the show when she couldn't keep up with the other goats.

“It's hard because it's a new friendship. The goats and owners are still trying to understand each other and find out who's in charge,” she said.

Along with observing how the kid pairs worked together, Ms. Gazdag asked owners about their animal's personal history and technical questions about goat anatomy.

She said her question about the location of the “cannon bone,” which lies between the knee and hoof, tripped up a lot of the children.

But tricky goat trivia didn't ruin the day of Nick Keesee of Temperance. He was having a great time at the show with his goat Ginger, a 1-year-old pygmy goat.

True to its name, this type of goat is smaller than other breeds. Adult pygmy goats are less than two feet high at the shoulder blade.

Nick and Ginger did not advance to the final round, but Nick, 9, said he will return with his miniature companion next year.

“I like trying to win,” he said.

Ms. Gazdag, who used to compete in goat shows as a teenager, said winning isn't everything.

“As a judge, you're trying to make the kids feel good about themselves and what they've learned,” she said.

Animal showmanship events are just one activity that children and teens competed in at this year's fair. The 4-H sponsors youth contests for almost any skill imaginable, from sculpture to home design to storytelling.

The 4-H even holds an annual contest to judge how well entrants of all ages can judge livestock.

Terri Lennard, a 4-H teen advisor, said the organization helps youth discover their talents.

“The kids use the fair as the payoff for the work they've done all year,” she said.

In addition to numerous youth activities, this year's fair had entertainment for the whole family. Events included a demolition derby, Supercross motorcycle races, and a concert by legendary country singer Kenny Rogers.

An estimated 153,0000 people braved the hot and humid weather to attend the fair at the Monroe County Fairgrounds.

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