Tom Ross: Hula goats have dangerous habit of nibbling on grass skirts |

Tom Ross: Hula goats have dangerous habit of nibbling on grass skirts

Lacey Lewis, from left, Cosette McLaughlin and Shannon Ragan have learned the hard way that if you don't keep a close eye on your hula goats, they'll eat your grass skirts.
Tom Ross

I headed over to the Routt County Fair on Friday morning naively expecting to cover a fall fashion show for barn animals.

Instead, I found myself interviewing a hippie Angus calf named Pee Wee, a Dalmatian named Geronimo that had horns like a rodeo bull, and a laying hen named Lollipop that wore a camouflage vest and rolled on its back to play dead.

And that’s not all. I met charming twin sisters from Yampa who insisted they were Men in Black and that their 3-year-old goats, Max and Gilmore, were space aliens.

Thursday marked a first in my journalism career – I interviewed a lamb named Farrah Fawcett. She was kind of cute.

To top it off, I photographed a pair of Polynesian hula goats that reluctantly posed with three wahines.

Yep, it was a memorable day. Officially, it was “Dress Your Animal” day at the fair. And frankly, I’m surprised that some of the animals didn’t run away from home when they discovered what their owners had in mind for them.

The first person I ran into upon entering the Multipurpose Building at the fairgrounds in Hayden was Tucker Sanford, 10. He looked as if he had just left a Woodstock 40th anniversary party. Tucker was sporting a peace medallion and had on a brightly colored headband. He was wearing his grandmother’s old fringed leather vest and a pair of leather moccasins that came up to mid calf.

“At first, I really didn’t want to do this,” Tucker said. “But my mom kind of talked me into it. Now, I’m just having fun.”

However, Tucker didn’t look nearly as outlandish as his coal black calf, Pee Wee. The calf weighed only 20 pounds when he was born on the Stanko Ranch this spring. Although he’s still pint-sized, he’s beginning to fill out nicely. But the brightly patterned T-shirt and the black wig he wore under a leather John Lennon cap Friday made him look like a miniature circus horse.

Brian Muhme’s camo chicken, Lollipop, was the strangest of all the strange birds I’ve met over the years. Brian, 10 and from Steamboat, tried to convince me that the 4-year-old chicken is a second lieutenant in the Army Reserve and is employed as a laying hen when it isn’t on active duty.

I didn’t believe him until he flopped the chicken on its back and gave an order to play dead.

The rust orange chicken spread its wings and its body went rigid until his owner signaled that the coast was clear.

Next to appear before my wondering eyes was 19th-century silver queen Baby Doe Tabor, parading through the show arena leading a lamb wearing a floral wreath around its neck. The lamb was named Farrah Fawcett.

Scout Reynolds, 10, of Steamboat, was dressed to the nines in a formal dress studded with roses to portray Baby Doe. She said she became interested in Tabor during a history unit in Mrs. Curtis’ class last year.

Grace and Katelyn Olinger, both 8, are raising space goats on their ranch south of Yampa, so they chose the “Men in Black” cinematic theme for their appearance at the county fair. Max and Gilmore, their best goats, had strange antennae growing out of their skulls.

However, the space goats didn’t have anything on the colorful hula goats accompanied by their human attendants, Shannon Ragan, 11, Cosette McLaughlin, 8, and Lacey Lewis, 12, all of Steamboat Springs.

The three girls have one important piece of advice for people interested in raising hula goats: Watch them like a hawk or they’ll eat your grass skirt.

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