BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) – The Kern County Fair cannot be a fair without livestock shows. The kids that raise these animals for the competition take it very seriously.
They’ve dedicated so much time and effort, but the pandemic did put a bit of a damper on what they love to do.
11-year-old Ethan Gibbs has raised everything from goats to cows and he has only been a part of the 4-H Club for 3 years.
“It teaches me what the animals look like and what they are about,” said Ethan.
Upon entering the show ring, there’s no looking back. The next minutes will feel like hours as a judge examines and questions the upbringing of their goats.
“You have to put the work in to get it done,” said 16-year-old Justin Gibbs, Ethan’s brother who together showed 21 goats out of the 32 they’ve raised. “It’s showmanship, all about you, how you walk and how you present yourself with the animal, which is probably my favorite part.”
Raising a dairy goat is no easy task, but it is also not a task exclusively for boys.
“There is pressure,” said 13-year-old Raegan Perry. “It depends on how the animal works, if the animal is super good, you’re not as nervous but you want to show the animal as best as you can.”
After a year with no shows, these rings at the Kern County Fairgrounds are once again lit up, ready to host the hopeful youth as they eagerly show off their caprine friends.
“I couldn’t show my goats in the ring and I miss seeing the fair,” said Ethan.
For the much older ones, the fun is in beating the competition.
“It’s just the people, the animals, it’s easier to see your competition,” said Perry. “You know what you are getting into [in-person] than at the virtual shows.”
It’s also in the rush of competition but also in the lessons of raising a prize-winning goat.
“Seeing the other animals and how better they look gets your confidence boosted up,” said Perry.
In an effort to show up stronger than ever, next year.
“It shows yourself that you can do something and achieve something,” said Justin. “Just go do it again, just keep going until someone else beats you and if someone else beats you, someone else beats you, they probably have better goats so strive to beat them next.”