XENIA — A trio of siblings from Xenia participated in Greene County Fair’s Goat Judging Contest last week.
The purpose was to allow the youth to judge the goats themselves to get an idea of what judges look for during actual goat shows. Abby Paris, Matt Paris, and Maggie Parris were three of the contest’s participants.
“I feel really professional,” said Matt Paris, one of the three siblings. “I think it’s a fun opportunity to go out and judge goats for competition.”
Abby is not new to goat judging.
“I have done goat judging for five years,” she said. “I have won four contests. I block everything out and focus on the goats.”
Abby and Matt, both 17, will be seniors at Cedarville High School. Maggie, 10, will be in fifth grade at Cedarville Elementary School. They are all members of Cedarville Hot Shots with 20 combined 4-H years.
“We have been doing goats for our entire 4-H,” Abby said. “Our goats are homegrown. They’re born early winter.”
Maggie didn’t initially show goats.
“I started 4-H with rabbits,” she said.
Matt said that he participated with cows and steers for a couple of years as well.
As far as competition goes, the siblings have earned a lot of ribbons. Abby was named grand champion homegrown meat market in 2020. Maggie was named reserved grand champion homegrown meat market.
They have a lot of experience with handling animals.
“We’ve been raised on a farm for our whole lives,” Abby said. “We’ve been around animals. We lived in West Virginia. Our aunt had a farm.”
The siblings have different reasons why they like showing animals.
“My favorite part is seeing all of the work you put into it,” Abby said. “When you line up outside of the ring, you are nervous. When you go in, everything calms down.”
Maggie enjoys the camaraderie.
“I like spending time with all of the 4-H members and making new friends,” she said.
Matt likes the benefits of what showing animals provides.
“I think 4-H helps a lot with responsibility and maturity,” he said.
While they have their favorite parts of the fair, there is also one not-so-popular aspect: The sale.
“The goat that you have been working with since it is born and having to give it away is the hardest part,” Abby said.
Matt added, “You cannot train yourself for all of the emotions that come out. It is not the end. It’s the beginning. You get to start over with a new goat.”
When the siblings arrived at the fair, their attention was to sell four goats. That changed.
“When we got here, we decided to sell three goats. One goat, we are taking her home and keeping her,” Abby said. “Our dad is a vet and a college professor at Cedarville University. The goat we are keeping, dad will use in his classes for educational purposes.”