XENIA — A third-generation showman walked away from the market goat show Aug. 1 with a grand champion trophy.
And a reserve champion trophy.
Sixteen-year-old Gabe Caudill didn’t think his goats would place well in the show, let alone earn him a title — or two.
“I was nervous. I didn’t expect my goats to do well … They looked smaller than they usually did,” said Caudill, who is no novice in the show pen.
Caudill has been showing goats for six years and Aug. 1 marked his first big win.
“I was very surprised,” he said.
Because two of his market goats were exactly the same weight — which means they were in the same class — Caudill showed one goat while his friend Brad Eakle, Greene County Fair King, showed the other.
The judge originally placed his two goats in the second and third place spots, before bumping them up to first and second.
“She said she knows her grand champion goat as soon as she touches it. And looks for an identical goat for reserve champion,” Gabe’s mom, Susan Caudill, said.
Susan Caudill said she was surprised, too.
Allegedly, at the Greene County Fair, a 4-Her has never won both grand champion and reserve champion for their goats in the same year before.
“They were all crying,” Gabe said of his family.
When it comes to his family, goat showing is a tradition.
Or showing livestock in general — which over the years transitioned from cows to sheep to goats.
It all started when Gabe’s grandfather, Gene Straley, turned ten and entered 4-H.
“We followed the tradition of dad showing cattle,” Susan explained, noting that this year marks 65 years of involvement at the Greene County Fair for Straley.
“All three of us girls — Amy, Carrie and I — showed sheep. And they — Gabe and Natalie — all showed goats,” she continued, motioning to her children. “We just enjoy it.”
Gabe said he enjoys taking care of his goats every year and plans for two more years of showing.
“I practice walking them around and touching their feet so they don’t jump around,” he said, adding that his goats were a little jumpy in the ring, but eventually calmed down.
According to the teen, showtime means implementing techniques like “spreading them out, keeping their head up and making their body look wider.”
He has fears, too, he said, of events he can’t control — like a goat getting sick the day before the show. Which has happened to him before.
But this year was a good year with no incidents like that. It was such a good year, Gabe said, that he might show something new next year.
But for now, he’ll remember the 2017 Greene County Fair, particularly the hot day in the sheep barn when he left the show ring with two goats, two trophies, and three generations of family around him.
Contact Anna Bolton at 937-502-4498.
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