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Goat competitors take showmanship awards

ROME TOWNSHIP — Fresh off his reserve champion win on Sunday, Dylan Back took top honors in the senior goat showmanship competition.

The 16-year-old Farmhands 4-Her said winning the title “feels great.”

“It’s a lot of hard work,” Back said. “But it all pays off in the show ring. It shows whether you worked with them (the goats).”

Back is no stranger to the winner’s circle. He’s taken awards in the market goat show in past years and has come out on top in the showman of showmen competition several times. This year’s showman of showmen event is 9 a.m. on Friday.

“It takes a lot of walking,” Back said. “There is a lot of feeding and care that goes into it.”

Back, who said he has always shown goats at the fair, said the animal can be stubborn and it takes patience to handle them.

The junior showman winner showed the audience just how much patience is required.

Lauren Wells, 12, of the Willow Wood Wranglers, literally had to wrangle her goat a few times in the ring when it became uncooperative.

Judge Levi Criswell, of Marion, took notice.

“She did a great job,” he said. “No matter what the goat did, she was calm.”

Wells, who has raised goats for four years, said her win felt good.

The key to her success, she said, was walking the goat every day and working to set its posture.

Despite her goat’s temperament on the day of the show, Wells said she felt confident.

“You have to learn to keep your composure,” she said.