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Fairs like ‘family reunions’ for participants

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Caleb Scott of Roswell preps El Nacho Libre Supreme for the meat goat show Tuesday afternoon at the Eastern New Mexico State Fairgrounds. (Lisa Dunlap Photo)

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The blow-drying, brushing and applying the “So Sexy Hair” mixture are only some of the last-minute preparations Caleb Scott takes before he shows his fourth meat goat, whimsically named El Nacho Libre Supreme.

The third official day of the Chaves County 4-H and FFA (Future Farmers of America) Fair included youth showing their market pigs and meat and dairy goats. It continues today with judging of breeding sheep, market lambs, poultry and dairy heifers.

“I love showing goats,” Scott said. “My first year showing goats, I didn’t really want to; but, after my first year, I just stuck with it.”

The 15-year-old who will attend Goddard High School and belongs to the 4-H Kountry Kids Club, is participating in the fair for his fourth year. He received initial encouragement in the activity from his father, Robbie Scott, whose family has a farm. The father showed as a child, and he urged both his son and daughter, Caleigh, to participate.

Scott, who won the best-in-show award for his Californian rabbit Monday, began by showing a pig and goat. He stayed with the goats but also raises rabbits and chickens now.

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“People all see these goats that are always getting first and they don’t think they can do it, but the people who raised them are humans, too,” Scott said. “People who don’t do this stuff also don’t understand how much hard work and effort goes into this.”

His mom, Amy Scott, agreed. “It is not just cute, furry animals,” she said. “It is a lot of work to get the animal to where it needs to be by show day. But it is worth it in the end. Win or lose, it is worth it, because you learn something.”

She added that among other important lessons youth receive, the kids gain an understanding of the importance of taking care of other living beings.

They said Caleb Scott has spent 90 minutes to two hours each day working with the goat, teaching it how to walk, turn and stand. He also has fed and cared for the goat, helping him grow from 35 pounds when he got him a couple of months ago to the 66 pounds he weighed in at for the fair. (In addition to how the goats handle and how they are groomed, they are judged on their muscular and skeletal structure and fur condition.)

Scott didn’t place this year with El Nacho, but even before the judging of the 33 entries and four weight classes by Lane Hall of Borger, Texas, he was philosophical about his experience.

“Just because I don’t make it this time doesn’t mean that I won’t have the next fair where I can show,” he said.

He explained that if he was not one of the top six entries eligible for the Friday night livestock auction, that he would keep the goat until the Eastern New Mexico State Fair in October, where he can try again.

If the goat doesn’t sell then, Scott most likely will sell it to some other family or business.

“Win or lose, they know they are either feeding our family or another family,” said Amy Scott.

Scott said he plans to study agriculture in high school and participate in FFA, but he isn’t sure whether he will pursue a career in agriculture.

He also said that he considers fairs like “family reunions.”

“This is a lifestyle for these kids,” said Barry Dixon, the 2019 director of the meat goat show and a volunteer leader with the fair for many years who has helped kids exhibit their animals. He also talked about the important values kids learn by participating.

“Unfortunately I have to admit it is a dying lifestyle,” he said. “There are fewer and fewer kids. It is so much easier to buy a lawn chair and sit on the sidelines of a soccer field and say, ‘Go, Go.’ These parents out here, there is no summer vacation. When you are showing, this is your summer vacation.”

Senior Writer Lisa Dunlap can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 311, or at reporter02@rdrnews.com.