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By Emily McAfee
NEMOnews Media Group
The show ring is a place where an exhibitor has the opportunity to shine and show off their best livestock. Showing is about character and how you present your project to the best of your ability. Your animal’s demeanor in the ring is just as important as your skills as a showman.
Some of the toughest competitions can be found at the open shows, but the experience of seeing other animals, making new friends, and seeing the preferences of different judges is priceless.
Tri-Bak Boer Goats
Tri-Bak Boer Goats officially started in 2013 when Joanie Baker and Vanessa Triplett bought their first fullblood Boer goats. Boer goats are meat goats and have become popular in the United States in the last few decades.
Joanie’s farm is located north of Memphis. She has lived in Scotland County her whole life and currently has 70 does that she breeds. These does are either commercial, percentage, or fullblood Boer goats.
Joanie and Vanessa’s kids are the ones who show the goats. Joanie’s kids are Layla and Hugh. Hugh is 16 and he shows in 4-H and FFA and Layla is 13 and she shows in 4-H. Vanessa’s kids are Anna and Beau. Beau is 15 and he shows in 4-H and FFA and Anna used to show in 4-H and FFA.
Tri-Bak Boers has a variety of registered and commercial goats that they raise.
“At our place, they only get registered if they earn their place. I feel like they either have to look good or produce well to get the registration. I want to only have the best and I don’t want a bunch of registered ones that are not quality,” Joanie said.
She does this because it is expensive to register every goat in the herd and she wants the best quality goats to produce on her farm.
Joanie decided to purchase goats in 2005 after she attended an ag conference in Springfield.
“I first got into this because I was teaching ag from 2000 to 2005 and they were just becoming popular in south Missouri because they came up from Texas. We had our ag conferences down there at Springfield and Beth Walker was there and she’s been instrumental in getting goats going and she did a presentation at one of our workshops on goats. I told everybody there that I’m going to have some of those… and I did,” Joanie laughed.
She doesn’t regret starting with commercial goats in 2005, because she learned a lot about raising goats.
“I did this from 2005 to 2013 just commercially and I learned a ton. I would not want to learn what I did and have some of the losses I did on high dollar registered goats,” Joanie stated.
Joanie and the kids go to local fairs, state fair, and open shows. They have shown in Missouri, Iowa, Illinois, Nebraska, and Wisconsin.
When traveling to open shows, the family takes three or four goats. At the Missouri State Fair, they usually take 10 to 12. They also take a few more head to the local county fair because they also exhibit wethers there.
The kids also show at ABGA or JABGA open shows. ABGA stands for American Boer Goat Association. The organization registers fullblood and percentage Boer goats and also holds open shows where people can gain show points by winning.
Tri-Bak Boers has several head of goats that have earned show points. In a year, they go to at least six or seven ABGA shows.
Joanie and the kids have attended the National ABGA show three times. They first attended the national shows in 2013. Every time that they have attended it has been held in Grand Island, Nebraska.
There are multiple types of shows at nationals that are split up each day, including Showmanship and Bred and Owned. The ABGA also has a Junior show that gives kids an opportunity to compete against each other.
At the national JABGA show Tri-Bak Boer Goats placed 2nd in the 6-9 month Fullblood Doe class and 3rd in the 3-6 month Fullblood Doe class. They have also won the Reserve Overall FFA Buck, Reserve Champion 4-H Fullblood Doe, and the Reserve Overall 4-H Percentage Doe at the Missouri State Fair.
The family has also won at many ABGA shows, including Grand Champion Overall Percentage Doe at the Poweshiek ABGA show, Grand Champion Overall Percentage Doe at the Adams County ABGA show, Grand Champion Overall Fullblood Doe at Adams County ABGA show, and Champion Junior Percentage Doe at the Spring Spectacular ABGA show.
Joanie decided to compete in bigger competitions because she likes to show in the ABGA shows.
“I like that they are judging by standards. That’s how I choose my goats. I want them to meet those standards. Not that we don’t enjoy going to the 4-H and FFA shows with the kids, but it’s a different type of judging. It’s also a great experience for the kids to go meet all these kids from other states that are interested in the same things that we are,” Joanie said.
Joanie chooses which goats to exhibit by watching the goats on the farm and this helps her determine the best one to show. Selecting a goat can be difficult, but Joanie says a goat knows when it is great.
“They have a presence and a presence in the show ring makes a world of difference. Just because they are fat, big, or bold does not mean they have that show presence that catches the judges eye every time.”
Tri-Bak sells some of their goats at three production sales during the year and they sell wethers to local kids. This last year, they started to export goats with a company called Ag World.
“Anything that we are not showing or keeping they pretty much want for other countries for breeding purposes. They want to try to make a herd that will be able to produce meat for their country,” Joanie said.
The whole family enjoys showing livestock and each one of the goats has a different personality.
“Goats just have so much character and that’s what makes them so fun. They are all different and they all have their own attitudes and demeanors.”
The kids enjoy showing the goats and they like the competition. They also enjoy meeting other people in the Boer goat industry.
Joanie has some advice for families that might be interested in raising goats in the future.
“I would say there is a big learning curve to goats. Don’t get in too deep before you try it out. Start with a few, because you probably couldn’t sit down and learn everything that you needed to know from somebody. There’s a lot to figure out and there’s never been a lot of research on goats because they didn’t come here until later.”
Boer goats are one of the smaller types of animals a kid can show in 4-H and FFA. They are easier to handle and are great companions.
“I think that they are good projects for kids to get attached to and learn about them. They are animals that you easily form a bond with,” Joanie said.
Tri-Bak Boer Goats are most proud that all of the animals that they show are born and raised on their farm.
The family usually starts showing goats in April and they stop showing at the Missouri State Fair in August. Their first show will be in Sedalia this year, where they will also sell some of their goats.