Alex Coe did exceptionally well at both the Fillmore County and Minnesota State Fair with his show goats.  The 15-year-old is very knowledgeable about what makes a goat a goat.    GRETCHEN MENSINK LOVEJOY/CHATFIELD NEWS
Alex Coe did exceptionally well at both the Fillmore County and Minnesota State Fair with his show goats. The 15-year-old is very knowledgeable about what makes a goat a goat. GRETCHEN MENSINK LOVEJOY/CHATFIELD NEWS
Chatfield ninth grader Alex Coe just can't wait to have kids.

"I'm going to try to go with the same animals, see what I get for kids," said the 15-year-old Chatfield Root River Rabbits 4-Her, anticipating the spring arrival of new baby goats following a very good showing at the Fillmore County Fair and Minnesota State Fair this past summer. He took 19 of his 60 goats and his veterinary science project on an airborne disease for competition to the county fair, and to the state fair, he took his project and his favorite goat, Cookies.

"I had a very good year at the fairs," he stated, outlining the awards he earned. "At the county fair, I got 10 first place blue, seven regular blue, five grand champions, one reserve champion. The grand champion were the best udder dairy goat overall, and I got champion intermediate showmanship dairy, champion intermediate showmanship meat, champion veterinary science, and reserve champion dairy goat overall."

While Coe usually takes his herd to numerous county fairs throughout the summer, this summer was an exceptionally busy one outside of fair activities. He just went to the county fair, the state fair and the national American Dairy Goat Association (ADGA) show. He also had the Washington, D.C., trip with the eighth grade class, and he said he was really busy with other things.

He spent hours and hours preparing his herd of 19 for showing at the county fair.

"You've got to do full body clipping, and clipping takes about an hour to an hour and a half to clip each one," he explained. "A showmanship animal takes two to three hours each because you have to make sure every long hair is gone, and you have to make sure they're clean."

His herd was exceptionally clean and handsome in the show ring, and furthermore, he was able to share his extensive knowledge on goats and the industry that surrounds raising them.

"I was also champion interview dairy and meat goats at Fillmore County. I received a gift certificate for $10 off at feed stores," he added. "The best part of the interview is that you get to sample dairy products from cows or goats, and you had to guess whether they were from a dairy cow or goat, and for meat, you had to identify different cuts of meat."

Coe got to take advantage of the Great Minnesota Get Together for 4-H, then return for the FFA shows in which Chatfield High School's FFA students participated.

"At the state fair, I took my dry yearling Nubian and my veterinary science project. My yearling doe got grand champion intermediate showmanship and reserve champion Nubian overall dry. My veterinary science project got a red," said Coe. "I was surprised with my showmanship. The 4-H judge actually commended my goat as the cleanest fit, the best-looking animal. I was surprised when I got reserve champion Nubian because the animals in my class were very nice animals. I've shown this goat before - Cookies - and I was very proud of her. I was interview winner in the 2013 state livestock interview, so I got another chair with that on it, and I also got a shirt."

His 4-H showing afforded him the chance to enjoy lazing about the goat barn. "At the state fair, I like to sit in the pen and play games, play cards. I like to walk around the fair with my friends, see the other livestock barns. I also went up for FFA. I took three wethers - two crossbred wethers and one Nubian dairy wether. It was the first time I was showing for FFA, and my best was fifth place, and my worst was the last of12. This was my first year, and they have different rules from the actual American Boer Goat Association rules."

Coe's appearance at the national ADGA show held in St. Paul July 6 to 13 was completely satisfying because he did well competing on that national level. He placed 14th in showmanship and was with a team in the judging and management contest that placed seventh. In judging and management, they are judged in two classes of four animals in milking class and dry class. In management, competitors take a 50-question test with facts about goats, and questions such as who the ADGA president and vice president are and where the national conference has been held.

There was also a fitting contest where participants have half an hour to do their best work to fit a dairy goat to showmanship standards. The goat can have only one foot off the ground at a time, "you have to clean their feet only one at a time, and you have to be holding the animal - it can't be in a pen. You have to have all the long hairs trimmed, and your area has to be cleaned up," said Coe.

He got by with a little help from his friends, and he lent a hand to their efforts as well. "I had a lot of fun with my teammates. They're good friends of mine - Kirsten Barott, Nathan Vanderhaar and Chris Mandt."

Coe typically has great success at showing his goats - he has boxes of ribbons and trophies as evidence of his 4-H fair and ADGA travels - but in spite of the rare 12th place he earned during his first experience in the FFA show ring, he calls every fair show a learning opportunity and a chance to share what he knows about goats.

"First, there's more goat's milk consumed in the world each day than milk from dairy cows, and second, goats don't eat everything...they just try everything, and if they don't like it, they won't actually eat it," he explained.

At the end of the fair season, his aspirations are still the same - he wants to have his own dairy goat farm and be a vet after going to go to UW-River Falls for college.