Students from across the county are in Ardmore this week to show their animals at the Carter County Junior Livestock Show. Thursday’s events included the goat show which is divided into two categories, does (female goats) and wethers (male goats). The wether competition saw Springer sophomore Raylee Stuckey named grand champion and Dickson senior Ashton Heffington named reserve champion.
Stuckey said she has only been working with her winning goat for about six months.
“My first goat got sick and died on us really quickly, so then we got this one to replace him,” Stuckey said.
She said it took her about four months to get her goat acclimated to the ring. This was fortunate since she believes the most difficult part of showing animals is the training.
“You’ve got to get them used to you and create that connection with them so that they trust you and you trust them,” Stuckey said. “The amount of training time needed depends on the animal. It can happen really quickly with some animals or you can have others that can be really stubborn or maybe aren’t quite as smart.”
In addition to showing goats Stuckey also raises and shows pigs. She said her favorite part about showing animals is the friends she has made in the process.
“It’s great to come out to the different shows and meet everyone,” Stuckey said. “I’ve made friends from Indiana, Iowa and Texas and when they come down we always get to hang out.”
Like Stuckey, Reserve Champion Ashton Heffington also raises goats and pigs and she agreed that training the animal is the most difficult part.
“The hardest part is training them not to be so skittish,” Heffington said. “You can train them to sit and brace all day long but whenever that judge walks up behind them they have to be aware. They have to know somebody is going to do that or they will run off.”
Heffington said her time showing animals has taught her about responsibility as well as how to be graceful in defeat.
“You’re not always going to win, and sometimes there’s going to be somebody better than you,” Heffington said. “You need to take that with pride, congratulate the winner and be there with them to celebrate their success.”