By Sarah Pridgeon
More goats than have likely ever before been seen together in Crook County were on display at the fairgrounds last weekend. The first Black Hills Dairy Goat Association (BHDG) show took place on Friday and Saturday, attracting 210 entries from 35 exhibitors/herds representing Wyoming, South Dakota, Montana, Colorado and Nebraska and 21 youth showmanship exhibitors.
“We did not know there were that many goats – anywhere!” jokes Tanja Miller, Director of BHDG.
“We pretty much used all our available pens. We filled the sheep pens, the pig pens – we set up 108 pens and we had them full.”
Not only was it a busy event, Miller says, it was also well received, including by visitors and participants who did not hail from Crook County.
“People were really excited. They loved it, they loved the community, they thought Sundance was so nice, hospitable and pretty,” Miller says. “They really loved the whole thing.”
The two judges, Jay Rudolph and Lorelei Hallock, came all the way from Iowa – and they, too, were impressed with what they saw.
“The judges thought this show was run at a national level for efficiency and on time. They said you don’t usually go to a small town and find it this well in order, this nice and this clean,” Miller smiles.
“They were great and they had a good time.”
Miller is confident that next year’s repeat of the show will be just as successful.
“We had a lot of people leaving saying, ‘OK, see you next year’,” Miller says.
“I had people saying how on-time it was but still laid back, which is nice. I had people tell us that it was so nice to have it well run but still enough time to visit. I had local people come and tell us that shows are usually really competitive and a little catty, but this wasn’t – they couldn’t believe what a community it was and how everyone jumped in and helped everybody.”
Asan example of the community nature of the event, Miller notes that, “The kids that show will show for a different herd”. If you, as an exhibitor, have too many goats in one class and need a hand, for example, it’s typical that one of the kids will willingly agree to jump in and show for you.
“It gives them experience – they get to show more goats than they even bring,” she says.
The artificial insemination portion of the event, courtesy of Capra Gia Genetics, also went well, Miller says.
“They came in and collected bucks and AI-ed does and they stayed longer than they had anticipated because they had so much fun,” she says.
“On Friday night, they sponsored the costume show because we all got such a giggle. It was so darn cute you couldn’t help it.”
The community event included assistance from many local businesses that helped out with showmanship awards. Sundance FFA was heavily involved in the event thanks to Mr. Kennah, who sent kids in teams of two for an hour each throughout the day. The kids helped to set up pens and did a tremendous job assisting with the event, Miller says – as did Kennah himself.
“We really appreciate that he gave the kids extra credit for coming in on Friday and watching the collection, because that’s not something you see very often,” she adds. Steve Schelling and daughter Mandy were also instrumental in helping to put the event together, she says.
Next year, Miller is hoping that more local kids will find themselves inspired by the growing popularity of goats in this county and will join in the fun at the show.
“This is not the end of it. If you need any more information, you can talk to me about it,” she says.
To find more information, visit the “Black Hills Dairy Goat Association” page on Facebook. Contact Miller at 290-2324 if you wish to speak to her about upcoming opportunities.