Youth show livestock skills

Freedom New Mexico: Alisa Boswell Quinn Boles, left, and Ryan Perkins struggle to hold their goats still Wednesday afternoon at the Junior Market Goat Show at the Kevin Roberts Show Arena at the Curry County Fairgrounds. Boles won fourth place in the lightweight division and Perkins won fourth in the middle and heavyweight divisions.

Alisa Boswell

Along with the week-long highlights of a street magician and a lumberjack show, one of the highlights of the third day of the 2011 Curry County Fair was the Junior Market Goat Show held at Kevin Roberts Show Arena on Wednesday afternoon.

Children and youth ranging from 9 to 19 years old fought to hold their goats still as they lined up in the arena.

Bryan Bernhard, a graduate student in animal science at Texas Tech in Lubbock judged the event.

Bernhard said he judges junior livestock events across the country and this his second year judging at the Curry County Fair.

“I enjoy working with the kids,” Bernhard said. “I grew up showing and it was really important for teaching me responsibility. And it’s fun to see these kids growing up showing livestock too.”

Bernhard said the goats are judged first by their muscle and, second, by their structure and general appearance.

“I find the top three or four that have enough meat and within those try to find the ones that are the nicest in structural design,” Bernhard said.

Ben Crist, 12, received the grand champion prize for the goat show, which included a double-ribboned certificate and a belt buckle.

“I enjoy it all,” Crist said. “It’s really fun. I get to hang out with friends then after the show, hang out with my family.”

Crist said caring for the livestock is hard work. He said he gets a lot of help from his father and older sisters.

“He’s been working with them all summer, so it’s really rewarding for him to win,” said his 18-year-old sister Delanie Crist, who is in her last year of showing.

Madison Belcher, 11, won grand champion reserve, making her the second place overall champion for the afternoon.

Belcher also received a certificate and belt buckle.

“It feels good,” Belcher said of winning. “I love being closer to animals, because most kids don’t have the advantage to be.”

She said being with her family is the most enjoyable part of the event for her.

“It’s hard work,” said Joe Van Ruiten, her grandfather. “She puts a lot of work into it and she shows them well.”