Local wins national champion goat showman

Alaina Barger won Senior Goat Showmanship at the Arizona National Livestock Show held in Phoenix, Arizona on Dec. 29-31. Competing against 78 exhibitors from 16 states, Barger was pleased to take home the championship prize.

"Anyone can buy a fancy animal to compete with," Barger said. "But the attitude and motivation to compete in showmanship is available to anyone. Even a small-town girl like me can compete and win in Showmanship at the National level."

The Arizona National attracted 1556 exhibitors from 35 states and Alberta, representing 9847 entries.

Showing meat goats and market hogs has been Barger's specialty during her 10-year 4H career in Helmville's Nevada Creek 4H Club. Barger Joined the Casper College, Wyoming, Livestock judging team this year as a freshman and she looks forward to continuing to compete at livestock shows through the collegiate judging team.

"I've had to cut back on showing since I'm away from home and on the judging team now," Barger said. "All our spare time on the team is spent practicing and going to livestock breeders in the area for judging practice."

This season Barger competed on the livestock show circuit with Boer goats Birdie, Cutie Pie and Benji. All her stock comes from Boatman Livestock Club Lambs and Goats in Prineville, Oregon.

"Birdie was the doe I competed in showmanship with," Barger said. ""Out of my three goats she was the best behaved at Nationals. In addition she's a bit standoffish which works to my benefit because she doesn't want to interact during the competition."

Berger's eight-year relationship with Boatman Livestock started when she attended their Lamb and Goat Show Camp. Now Barger attends the Show Camp as a Junior Counselor, teaching and mentoring young competitors.

"I'm proud of Alaina because she has learned how to fit and clip her own animals," said Wendi Boatman of Boatman Livestock. "That's a huge deal because most of the competitors hire professionals to prepare their animals at the National level shows."

Preparing an animal for the show through a procedure called fitting is similar to preparing a supermodel for going down the runway. Washing, hoof care, proper clipping and complete cleanliness of the animal, plus handling the animal and yourself before the judges is included in showmanship, Boatman said.

Club goats are raised not only for production qualities like muscling and growth, but also for a good hair coat, proper horn size, shape and personality.

"We hand-select families to be part of our show team," Boatman said. "The show team helps foster community and a cheering section at the big shows. Our goal is to help raise young people to be productive adults."

"Alaina has given back to the industry through becoming a junior counselor at our livestock show camp," Boatman said. "Although she's nearing the end of her show career she's mentoring young showmen nationwide through facetime consultations and lessons."

"I want to thank my family for traveling and supporting me over the last ten years," Barger said. "Also thanks to my breeder the Boatmans for helping guide my progress and putting good stock in my hands year after year."

In addition to the Arizona Nationals, Barger won Showmanship at the Cheyenne Livestock Exposition and will compete at the Denver Stock Show in January.

 

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