Prairie View A&M University’s College of Agriculture and Human Sciences’ Cooperative Extension Program and Cooperative Agricultural Research Center components will host the 23rd Texas State 4-H Goat Judging Competition, August 7 from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Registration starts at 7:45 a.m. in the Carden-Waller Cooperative Extension Building.
4-H youth, ages nine to nineteen, from around the state are invited to participate in the contest. Registration is free and lunch will be provided at no cost.
Any students that are members of 4-H, whether they own a goat or not, are allowed to participate.
Scott Horner, extension research specialist, along with several county agents and other staff members of CEP and CARC have planned the event to not only increase youths’ knowledge of goats but also to help with decision making, reasoning and communications skills and self-esteem building.
Students will first complete a written test on general goat knowledge, how to use tools needed to complete the contest, and key terms. Next, they will play the role of judge and do their best during the individual competition to determine a good goat from a bad one.
Horner said students are taught to look for animals that will be productive for a long time. “Quality goats must have strong legs to withstand regular walks through the pasture, wide chests that give their lungs room to avoid pneumonia, muscular builds if they are meat goats, and big udders are needed for dairy goats.”
Senior 4-H members will later give an oral argument about the decisions they made.
“This presentation teaches the youth how to organize their thoughts, and any type of public speaking is good for them” Horner said. “This builds confidence, helps improve interview skills and trains them to be good observers and note takers.”
Winners will receive a trophy and bragging rights for the year. Horner added that it is a great resume builder for anyone.
Participants will also take part in the Goat Bowl, a Jeopardy themed game show, where they will develop teams and answer over 150 questions on goat trivia.
Horner said that Dr. Beverly Spears, program specialist – 4-H and Youth, started the program in 1987, and, since that time, participants have come each year in groups ranging from a few to more than 50 to gain both agricultural and life skills. Horner said he hopes to see at least seven or eight counties represented this year.
“There are a lot of young people with goat projects in the state. I would like to see them here. This contest provides more than just judging goats,” Horner said.
Horner said that Prairie View A&M University continues to host the event because of its population and quality of goats.
“Nobody else in Texas has anything like the Prairie View A&M University International Goat Research Center,” he said.
Of the approximate 500 goats housed at the PVAMU goat research center, Horner says they plan to provide 32 to 36 goats from eight to nine classes and two to three breeds so that there will be a variety for the youth judges.
“I wanted to find some obvious differences for the kids to pick out,” said Horner.
A free workshop is also offered on August 6 at 4:00 p.m. for any members of 4-H or the community who want more information on goats and their upkeep. Spectators are welcome to attend both events.
Now a licensed goat judge, Horner has been raising dairy goats since his youth and has even won a similar state competition in Washington State.
“Normal kids wanted a dog or horse and I wanted a goat. It’s always been that way for me ever since I saw it [goat judging] in a little gold book when I was three years old,” Horner said.
Serving as an extension research specialist since 1988, Horner has not only contributed greatly to the annual event over the years, but has also been able to help with scholarships, technology, 4-H youth development and community education. He often assists county agents
by giving presentations and workshops on goat information and helps agricultural research scientists and their graduate students with projects.
“I love the job because it’s something different every day,” Horner said.
Written By: Whitney Harris, Student – PVAMU