In the world of Tanessa Watson, the first time is the charm. On Monday, Watson was awarded the first Grand Champion award at the Eastern New Mexico State Fair in the Dairy Goat Show competition.
â€œIt was very exciting to go in and win the first year that Iâ€™ve ever done this,â€œ Watson said.
Watson, 14, a Portales resident and an 8th-grade honor student at Floyd Middle School, represented Future Farmers of America of Floyd in the Dairy Show on Sunday. Weighing in at 130 pounds, her â€œprissyâ€ goat, Maddy, beat out 29 other goats in the Class 5 dairy goat division. Watsonâ€™s mother, Sam Watson, sung high praises of her daughter.
â€œThis is her first fair,â€ Sam said. â€œSheâ€™s always done rabbits in the fair and has had other animals in the fair. We were looking at the goats and I said, â€˜Why donâ€™t you enter them, you have beautiful goats.â€™ She has very beau-tiful goats. She puts a lot of work into them.â€
Tanessa said that goats were judged on various criteria, including overall neatness and cleanliness. In the showmanship category of the competition, owners were responsible for knowing about the parts of the goat among other things. Tanessa has been raising goats for about eight years.
She purchased Maddy a year and a half ago, and has nurtured her into the championship form that helped her win the Dairy Goat Show grand championship.
â€œYou have to feed them a certain amount, with hay and grain, and you milk them every day, and all of their milk has to be sterilized,â€ Tanessa said. â€œAnd you have to shave them before the show and clean their feet and their ears. They donâ€™t like the ears part, especially.â€
Unlike the goats in the Meat Goat Show, owners keep their goats after the competition and continue to raise them. The bonding and nurturing only continues after the fair, according to Sam. â€œTheyâ€™re very much a personal thingâ€¦theyâ€™re very much a pet,â€ Tanessa said.