The exhibitors' ability to show off their animal — that’s what the judge was looking for in the showmanship category of the dairy goat show at the Frederick Fair Youth Livestock Show.
“It starts with the cleanliness, how well they’ve clipped their animal and prepared it for the show,” said judge Bobby Fogle. “And then how well they work with their animal, how well their animal works with them as they work around the ring, as they stop and set up — and then it’s their knowledge about their animal, about other animals.”
Laura Dutton, 18, won master showman in the showmanship category Wednesday.
Fogle said what made Dutton stand out was her smoothness in the show ring, her ability to get her animal presented and her overall knowledge about both her animal and other animals.
Dutton said both her mother and her sister were in 4-H.
“[My sister] started it,” she said. “She already had dairy goats, so I got into it and for the longest time, my sister and I would be competing against each other until she aged out, so then it was just me. And now, … I have goats, sheep, horses and rabbits too.”
She’s been in 4-H since she was 8-years-old. And while things are different this year, Dutton said she was very excited to find out that she could show for one more year.
“I don’t know what I’m going to do with my year now that I don’t have 4-H,” she said. “This is what I focus my whole life on, is my animals and my projects, so now that I’m aging out, I'm really sad that I can’t do 4-H anymore. I can still show in open but it’s not the same.”
Dutton said a lot goes into preparing a dairy goat to show.
“To get them ready for the show, you have to clip them and wash them and just clean them, and for the show, the judge checks all of this and it’s worth points,” she said.
Dutton enjoys getting the goats ready for showing and seeing the before and after. She said the dairy goats are just like any other pet, no matter how many you have.
“They’re still my little babies,” she said, adding that she uses the milk from the goats to make cheese, ice cream and soap.
And for Fogle, as a judge and a member of the Frederick County community, the show itself has been great, too.
“I grew up at the Frederick Fair,” he said. “I worked here for 18 years. I grew up through the 4-H/FFA program and … it’s all about the kids, and these kids have worked hard all year long for this special day.”
Fogle said the show is kind of like the reward at the end of the year.
“Very thankful that I was asked to be a part of it, but really glad that the kids had this opportunity to come out and exhibit and do what they like to do,” he said.