Goat milking contest attracts the cream of competitors at state fair

Ashley Daniels milks a goat as Justin Blessing holds the milk bucket at the Delaware State Fair on Wednesday. Delaware State News/Marc Clery

HARRINGTON — One of the Delaware State Fair’s many livestock competitions is the furnishing of dairy goats.

This intense, speed-induced event is for those of all ages from 5 years old to adults.

The competition took place at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday in the New Castle Building. Right behind the goat pens, many were released as their owners took their tribe’s udders to work under a 30-second time restraint that went by in an instant.

The challenge allows a wide range in breeds of goats from Nigerian Dwarfs to Oberhaslis to Saanen goats. The variation in breed does not allow for any benefit over the other, hence why the competition of the multiple breeds is fair.

Kaitlynn Leonard, adult competitor of the milking competition, competes with her Anglo-Nubian goat Jenna.

“This is my fourth year at the Delaware State Fair with my goats. We have a bunch of local shows, a bunch of county fairs that we’ll go to, too,” she said.

Jenna, the 2-year old Anubian, competed for the first time this year as a first freshener, meaning it was her first year producing milk.

Delanie Tome of Hartly milks a goat as Justin Blessing holds the milk bucket at the Delaware State Fair on Wednesday. Delaware State News/Marc Clery

Lactation of any first freshener is risky but the loveable, long-eared goat and Kaitlynn were willing to risk the factor if it meant possibly winning.

The senior exhibitor, Kaitlynn, has been milking her goats through Heritage Farm in Smyrna at the state fair for four years this year and has placed second in prior years.The goats are also in the showing and have done well in the past for presentation.
Amanda Ritter’s black, white, and brown goat had no problem taking the stand as they finished the 30 second round with over 100 grams worth of milk.

“In the milking competition, this will be my third year and my fifth year at fair. I started with Cape FFA,” she said.

The educational, agricultural organization began her goat competing career and now she competes alongside her family farm out of Lewes.

Hattie Thompson, 6, and Jillian Warren pose with their goat Desire in the New Castle building at the Delaware State Fair on Wednesday.

“I got second last year, the little boy in front of me had been milking for much longer than I had. He was probably 14 (years old),” said Amanda as she sets her sights on moving up to first place for the junior division before her last year as a junior competitor.
During the milking of each contestant, the crowd is so supportive with cheers of encouragement unlike other fair activities.

The liveliness in the suspense to see each participants result made the room go still with silence as each goat’s milk was weighed by gram at the end of 30 seconds.

The results of the competition will be posted later today.

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