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My Advice on Going to Goat Shows

As of July 2006, I have been to four VAGMA goat shows and shown goats in three of them. Every time has been a new experience. All sorts of factors (driving conditions, weather, goat attitudes, timing, etc.) influenced my trips. There are things I've learned from experience and from watching other people that might help whoever is reading this to prepare for your shows too.

1. Don't be in a rush.

Don't be in a hurry to go anywhere or do anything, especially when you are driving, walking around the goats, or talking to someone. It's too easy to make bad choices, scare a goat or child, or appear rude and uncaring. That's not good for anyone's safety or the marketing of your farm or your goats.

2. Be prepared and willing to both ask for and offer your help.

If you are a friendly and polite person, most everyone else at the show will be willing to help you unload or load your goats. You may not be in a position to help out the same people who helped you, but you should be prepared to offer your assistance to the next person, group or activity. Do your part to support the group, and people around you will see your worth. Remember that the angora goat community is not very big, and your actions will cement your reputation forever.

Even if I never get a reputation for fantastic goats, my goal is to have a reputation at the shows as a nice and helpful person. I may not get buddy-buddy with anyone, but I can strive to be someone that others want to include.

3. Go with the flow.

Schedules can change without much warning, and organization can be thrown by the wayside if something unique and wonderful comes up. One year, the judge invited anyone who wanted to "play judge" to shadow him through a couple of the classes. This slowed the show down, and threw the schedule off, but it also allowed a real educational opportunity to people who were interested in it.

4. Speak up when you think it matters.

One year the schedule changed when a competition was moved from Sunday to Saturday. This suited most everyone who wanted to leave early on Sunday. However, it had the potential of leaving out some late entries to the competition if things got started right away without much notice. A couple of people spoke up against starting the judging until it had been more widely announced and a few people had been specifically hunted down and asked about their participation.


Packing list:

For the goats and stalls

For your identification purposes at the show - if you wish to be identified at a glance.
Most places do not require signs, but it's nice to be able to point out your sign when people ask where your goats are penned. Note that all of the below either have to be goat-proof plastic/metal or hung out of goat-reach.

Other handy items:

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