In Pinal County, the goats have their day — two, actually

Tom Reardon

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The Arizona State Goat Breeders Association Memorial Day Show hits Casa Grande on May 28 and 29.Getty Images

By Tom Reardon / NewsBreak Pinal County, AZ

(Pinal County, AZ) The Arizona State Goat Breeders Association (ASGBA) will be hosting their annual Memorial Day Dairy Goat Show at the Pinal County Fairgrounds on May 28 and 29 in Casa Grande, Arizona.

According to board secretary, Bev Lonchar, there will be 75-100 exhibitors this year in a number of categories.

“Our Memorial Day Show will showcase all officially recognized dairy breeds by the American Dairy Goat Association (ADGA). These animals will be judged by licensed, certified ADGA judges, on their conformation (which refers to shape and structure) and mammary system per the ADGA Unified Scorecard and as they compare to their competition of similar age in the show ring. Senior does (does in milk), Junior does, and bucks all have separate scorecards and are judged accordingly. ADGA also has a scorecard for showmanship, which exhibitors, usually youth, are expected to know certain handling maneuvers, body parts, and general industry information,” says Lonchar.

One of the most exciting aspects of this event is that exhibitors can essentially “finish” their goats. This means that goats can achieve the status of Permanent Grand Champion which signifies the goat has been awarded grand champion status and received a milk production star. The milk production star can be awarded to goats that have met minimum milk or breeding requirements.

“It is a very monumental time when someone achieves this milestone with their animals. Another exciting event is when the judges select their ‘Best in Show.’ All the breed grand champions or best of breeds come back into the show ring for the judge to select the best overall animal from his/her ring. Everyone in the goat community shares in the revelry,” says Lochnar.

There will be four certified ADGA judges at the Memorial Day show judging a variety of events over the two-day period. These events feature different breeds of goats. On Saturday, there will be multiple rings featuring AOP (All Other Purebreds), LaMancha, Nigerian Dwarf, Nubian goats, and Oberhasli. Each category is separated into events for bucks, junior does, and senior does.

Lonchar states there is much the general public does not know about dairy goats.

“Dairy goats are much more than milk producers. They can be used for meat, pack animals, pull carts, companion animals, and to clear unwanted foliage. They are even being trained as golf caddies. They all have unique personalities, some are loveable and sweet, some are stubborn and ornery. The LaMancha breed has a wonderful, goofy personality (and) they have to (do so). They are the ones with small ears. The number one question at fairs from the general public is ‘why do we cut their ears off?’ We don't. They are born that way. (The LaManchas) are dubbed the ‘barn clowns’ and are very good at opening chained gates,” says Lonchar.

Competing goats are classed by age, gender, and whether or not they have “freshened” which refers to having kids which restarts the milk cycle. Each time a goat has a kid, technically, they have freshened, and this is why when kids are born, it is called “freshening.”

There are many uses for goat’s milk, which is another reason why goat enthusiasts may see a show like the ASGBA Memorial Day event as a cause for celebration.

“(Goat’s milk) can be used to make many things; soap, lotion, cheese, curds, ice cream, sour cream, cream cheese, yogurt, and cajeta cheese. Goat's milk is easily digested, and many doctors prescribe it to new moms with infants that may have digestive issues, milk allergies, or are lactose intolerant. It is good for many skin conditions such as psoriasis or eczema. The goat's milk you buy in the grocery store is nothing like the fresh milk straight from the source,” says Lochnar.

For more information, please visit the ASGBA website here. Doors to the public open at 8:00 a.m. each day and the event ends at 5:00 p.m.

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Tom Reardon is a Phoenix native and has been writing about events in and around Arizona for the last decade.

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