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VAGMA Annual Show and CAGBA Annual Show, Lewisburg WV, June 2004
I took my two 2004 kids to the annual Virginia Angora Goat and Mohair Association (VAGMA) meeting to see what I could learn. The National Colored Angora Goat Breeders Association show was co-hosted at this show, so there were plenty of national contenders for me to meet and learn from.
At the time, the kids were just under three months old, so I took their moms along too for support and nursing. I was so proud and silly, I rented a separate pen for each doe-kid pair and hung laminated signs on each one saying "Giant Cricket Farm Presents: " with their pictures and names. I took a whole bale of hay and two bales of straw, which was serious overkill for four goats at a three-day event. I did remember water buckets for each pen, too.
The show judge, Joe David Ross, was fantastic. He spent time with each owner explaining what he was looking for in the conformation, fleece, and color. He always had something positive to say, even when explaining how one goat was not quite as good as another.
The show was organized into colored and white days, with classes within each color. The way Mr. Ross judged the animals, he would tell some owners to take their goats "across the line," which was basically his first cut. About half of any class was sent across the line for a closer comparison and judging.
Loki competed in the "junior buck kid" class, for buck kids born after February 1. There were over 20 entries in the baby buck class, so Mr. Ross split the class again into "peewee" and "junior" by size. Loki was moved into the peewee class, but did not make even the first cut. Because of how Mr. Ross explained his judging, I wasn't all that unhappy even if Loki didn't place because his fleece wasn't uniform from neck to side to britch. Mr. Ross recommended I let my buckling grow up a little and see if his fleece evened out a bit more, and complimented Loki's good ears and head.
Aerin competed in the "junior doe class" for female kids born after February 1. Aerin made the first cut, of which there were six doelings. The other five were awarded ribbons. So while some people could say the glass is half empty, I say that Aerin placed six and I'm happy enough with that. The compliment from Mr. Ross was that she is a "fancy doe" with lots of curl and good body profile.
Above: Loki's neck fleece is being examined by Mr. Ross. Note how Mr. Ross is holding his tie. He used his solid-color tie for background contrast while looking at fleece fineness and uniformity. He would compare three or four goats at a time on his tie. We all noticed that the longer a goat's fleece stayed on Mr. Ross's tie, the higher the animal placed in the competition.
There is another picture of Mr. Ross judging Loki on the CAGBA web site. http://www.cagba.org/national.shtml
Above: Mr. Ross is taking a look for kemp in the fleece on Aerin's side.