At the Routt County Fair: Stubborn as a… |

At the Routt County Fair: Stubborn as a…

Goats get unruly during the Routt County Fair

Eight-year-old Taylor Clyncke yanks her goat Bell into formation during Thursday's market goat show at the 2019 Routt County Fair. Taylor said keeping control of her animal, which weighs almost twice as much as she does, can be difficult. That is why she has spent the last four months taking Bell on walks and getting the goat used to her touch.
Derek Maiolo

HAYDEN — Eight-year-old Taylor Clyncke performed well during Thursday’s market goat show at the Routt County Fair, taking home a second-place ribbon and advancing to the championship round. 

She encountered just one problem — keeping hold of her goat doe Bell. 

At 76 pounds, the animal weighs almost twice as much as Taylor and was cantankerous enough in the show ring to break free from her young owner’s grasp, bee-lining for anywhere but where she was supposed to be.

Within seconds, Lysa Long rushed to the rescue, wrangling Bell and accompanying Taylor to help control the goat during the remainder of the competition. 

As sheep superintendent for the fair, it is not unusual for Long to lend a hand to younger, smaller children during livestock shows. 

“The little ones just get run over sometimes because the goats are bigger than them,” she explained.

Goats and sheep are the most stubborn of the livestock and consequently the most likely to try to overpower their owners, according to Long.

“Pigs, they just run around in the ring,” she said. “With goats and sheep, you have to brace them and hold their heads.”

To prepare their goats for showing, many 4-H members spend months training them to stand in formation, walk under restraint and, perhaps most difficult, follow commands.

Lysa Long helps 8-year-old Taylor Clyncke lead her goat Bell around the ring during Thursday’s market goat show at the 2019 Routt County Fair. Long said some of the more stubborn livestock, predominantly goats and sheep, can overpower their owners and break free. As sheep supervisor, Long occasionally steps in to help the competitors handle their animals.
Derek Maiolo

For Taylor, who just joined 4-H this year, asserting herself as the boss of her goat proved difficult. She has spent much of her summer vacation walking Bell, as well as a second goat Blue, up and down the streets near her home in Yampa.

“Sometimes they actually drag me,” she said.

Even when not in training, her goats cause mischief. According to Taylor, they often find ingenious ways to break into her family’s sheep pen to steal food.

Thursday’s grand reserve market goat champion was 12-year-old Hannah Koly. With five years of experience showing goats, she has developed her own techniques to groom her animals into ribbon-winners. 

When she first begins to train a goat, she simply sits in its pen to get it used to her presence. Then she walks the animal, first with a halter and, when it is tamer, with the chain collar 4-Hers use during competitions.

Come showtime, Hannah said goats tend to get unruly, especially with the noise from the crowd. 

“They move around a lot and don’t like it when you touch their feet,” she said. 

During the market goat show, Hannah had to constantly fiddle with her animal’s legs and hooves. Her goat, a wether named Cookie, reared its head in protest, but Hannah kept a firm grip on its collar.

“Sometimes, I talk to them while I show them,” she said, offering feel-good bromides like “calm down” and “easy, now.”

Judges like to see how well competitors can maintain control of their goats, according to Hannah. That helped her to win a blue ribbon in her market class and to take home the grand reserve banner — the best she has performed in the event. 

“You were good on the handle, and I thought it was just an easy winner,” judge Catharine Soukup said of Hannah’s blue ribbon award.

Overall, Soukup, a Hayden native who now lives in Fort Collins, said she was impressed to see the performance and quality of the market goats from her hometown.

“I have not had the opportunity to come back in awhile, and your goats are looking really good,” she told the competitors.

To reach Derek Maiolo, call 970-871-4247, email or follow him on Twitter @derek_maiolo.

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