By LIBBY CLUETT
FORT WORTH – Again, a Palo Pinto County student has claimed the overall grand champion junior wether goat title, this time at the 117th Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo.
Santo sophomore Grant Read, representing Santo FFA, won the title on Feb. 2, and this past Saturday his heavyweight goat, named “Fifteen,” sold to Fort Worth’s Shale Exploration for $55,000.
This sum will go to his college education, said his father, Jackie Read.
“We were really excited,” said the elder Read, noting that Fort Worth goat sales have normally been in the mid-$30,000 range.
Grant Read is no newcomer to grand championships. At last year’s Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo Junior Market Goat Show he was grand champion. At the Houston auction his goat fetched a world-record $155,000, but only a percentage of that went to Read. He’s able to keep the full amount from Fort Worth, though.
Jackie Read said his family started with showing animals when his oldest son, Dayne – now a freshman in college – was in third grade. They chose goats upon the suggestion and eventual coaching from Palo Pinto County Agrilife Agent Scott Mauney.
To get the goat ring ready for showmanship and the general livestock show, Read said it not only starts with good breeding, but, more importantly, it takes a good feed-and-exercise program, which includes regularly walking the goat.
“This thing is a family project,” he said. “The younger they were, it was a whole family project, and the older they got, it became a brother’s project.”
His sons “put in a lot of long hours,” Read said, adding that they would “come in after football practice and homework to feed the animals in the morning and at night and find ample time to work with their animals to get them in show-ring shape.”
Normally Read said they would have six to eight goats on feed. But this year, since Dayne graduated in 2012, the Read household only had three show goats, one for each of the major shows – Fort Worth, San Antonio (this week) and Houston. Now it’s down to two on feed and two more major shows ahead for Grant.
The Junior Wether Goat Show, judged by Chad Coburn of Sterling City, Texas, drew a record number of 1,424 entries, according to organizers. Overall, the 2013 Stock Show hosted nearly 10,000 youth exhibitors from across Texas, competing for prizes, $107,445 in premiums and substantially more in scholarships.
Many Palo Pinto County students worked hard to ready their animals for the Fort Worth show, which ended with Saturday’s big sale. Some other local youth left with sums of money.
Mineral Wells High School senior Miriam Garcia took third place in the lightweight American Cross class with her steer that won breed champion in the Palo Pinto County show last month.
In the local premium auction, Garcia’s steer sold for $500, which didn’t come near the floor price for cattle. But in Fort Worth, he sold for $9.50 per pound to Fort Worth Roto-Rooter Services. This gave Miriam $10,700, which her mother, Aurora Garcia, said she will use for college.
Miriam’s brother, Junior Garcia, who’s a senior studying agricultural sciences at Tarleton State University, helped her pick the steer from Pott’s Cattle Company, in Wichita Falls. He also helped coach his sister throughout the whole process, according to their mother.
Lilly Motley, representing Santo 4H, won eighth place with her steer, “X-Man,” in the heavyweight European Cross/exotic class. Motley and X-Man had stiff competition, competing in the same class as the show’s overall reserve and grand champion steers.
X-Man brought the Santo eighth grader $10 per pound at auction. The heavyweight steer weighed 1,328 pounds. Her mother, Amber Motley, said the income will go into her daughter’s college fund and to purchase future animals.
Motley kept busy at the Fort Worth Stock Show; she also showed a junior wether goat and placed second in her class, according to her grandmother, Mary Motley.
Lilly and her brother, Grant Motley, left Monday night with their parents bound for the junior wether goat show at the San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo. The siblings will also show steers in San Antonio.