#039;Buff#039; goat earns title of grand champ
ROME TOWNSHIP - All goats are not, apparently, created equally.
Patches, a goat with "fine muscle tone" made her handler, Michael Hawthorne, the winner in the market goat competition at the Lawrence County Fair Tuesday.
Ashley Pancake took home the reserve champion trophy.
"When I lay my hands on it, the shoulders are wide and the wideness carries all the way through," judge David Carter said. "It's got tight muscles, it's in nice condition."
Hawthorne said the secret to raising a winning goat is to "let them run."
Pancake said she used a similar formula for success.
"I walked it every day," she said.
For some of the entrants, this year's event was the first of what they hoped would be many years of success at the fair.
This was nine-year-old Austin Harper's first time showing a goat.
As he put the finishing touches on Pepperoni, Austin's dad, Mike Harper, said his son's experience raising a goat had been a valuable learning experience.
"He's had a lot of responsibility, having to care for it, get it ready. He worked about an hour and a half every day with it," Mike Harper said.
For his effort, Harper collected a first-place class trophy and wound up 10th overall.
Following Hawthorne and Pancake were Leshia Waller, third place and fourth place; Maylee Fuller, fifth place; Rachel Mootz, sixth place; Bethanie Huff, seventh place; Maylee Fuller, eighth place; Zachary Litteral, ninth place and Austin Harper, 10th place.
In the showmanship competition, Leshia Waller came away with the title "Showman of Showmen."
In bestowing the title, Carter noted Waller's "sense of grace" and her ability to handle her goat with ease - sometimes a rather complicated task, since goats tend to have a mind of their own.
Waller took first place in the 15-17 year olds category, followed by Rachel Mootz and Tyler Bowman in second and third places, respectively.
In the 12-14-year-olds category, the top three finishers were Johnathan Lambert, Amy Wiseman and Olivia Brock, respectively.
The top three winners in the 10-11-year-olds category were Clay Fulks, Mariah Brock and Trevor McFann, respectively.
The top three winners in the 8 -and 9-year-olds division were Kyle Coleman, Kara Burcham and Michael Harvey, respectively.
In the market goat skillathon, junior division, Hannah Humphrey won first place, followed by Kelsey Huddle in second place and Skye Barnett and Kyle Coleman tieing for third.
In the senior division, the top three winners were Amy Wiseman, Tyler Bowman and Royce Coleman, respectively.