Goat might be the world’s most consumed meat, but “Faye,” Darby-Rose Patterson’s 8-year-old boer goat, will not be bound for someone’s dinner plate when the 60th Jefferson County Fair ends Saturday.
Faye, one of 125 goats entered in the fair this year, will return home with Patterson to Kearneysville, W.Va., as the Overall Grand Champion in the Youth Division for meat goat breeding classes, which were judged Wednesday.
“I don’t have any interest in eating goat,” Patterson said with a smile. Especially, not one of her own.
Patterson, who took seven goats to the fair, also netted the Overall Reserve Champion title with Cosine, a 1 1/2-year-old boer.
Minutes after capturing the top award in the division, Patterson admitted she was pretty excited to win the top award, an achievement that she hadn’t accomplished before.
Patterson’s interest in goats became apparent when she was young.
“When I was little, my parents couldn’t get me out of the goat barn,” Patterson said.
“Sweet Heart,” her first goat, was a gift from her parents on her 9th birthday.
While the goat has since died, her family’s boer goat herd has grown to about 40, according to Patterson, who also entered horses and sheep in the fair this year.
To ready the goats for show, the animals are put on a special diet in advance, their hair is clipped and their hooves are trimmed, she said.
Aside from this week’s fair shows, Patterson said she has taken her goats to other area shows, which she said are mostly held in the summer months.
With so much work to do, Patterson said she doesn’t go out much.
Friends she has made through the fair understand what it means to be in the barn and at shows, and Patterson said they cheer each other on.
While Faye will return home, Patterson said she intends to sell a market goat and a market sheep at the fair’s livestock sale Saturday and plans to put the proceeds away for college and in her bank account. The sale begins at noon.
The Jefferson High School junior said she has thought about studying animal nutrition, possibly focusing on food blends for horses.
While horses are particularly diet sensitive, Patterson said sheep are even more so.
In Sunday’s sheep show, Patterson said a ram she entered placed first in his class and a ewe she entered placed second. On Monday, she won two classes with two horses and placed third with another. And Patterson she still has one more event Friday when she rides in the English/Hunter horse show.
Between various shows and events, Patterson said she serves as FFA chapter secretary at Jefferson High School. Earlier this month, Patterson said she competed with the FFA chapter’s dairy judging team at Jackson’s Mill State 4-H Camp.
“It’s a huge job,” Patterson said.
Barbara Welty, the fair’s meat goat superintendent, said the total number of goats entered has grown significantly over the years.
“When we first started, we were showing Nubians,” Welty recalled at the end of Wednesday’s show.
Goat show judge Jeff Semler, who is the University of Maryland Extension Educator in Washington County, said the animals he judged, particularly those in Tuesday’s market goat show, were “really high quality.”