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They’ve got their goats at SJ Fair

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They’ve got their goats at SJ Fair

Ripon FFA's Annalicia Machado-Luis brings her heifer "Oreo" out of the show ring during livestock activities Wednesday at the San Joaquin County Fair.

HIME ROMERO/The Bulletin

POSTED June 25, 2009 2:38 a.m.
Ashley Owensby and Jessica Ray made themselves comfortable as they sunk into their chairs and leaned up against the fence inside the livestock area of the San Joaquin County Fairgrounds Wednesday morning.

For the pair of Sierra High School freshmen – who both decided to try their hand at raising market goats at the suggestion of their ag teacher Pat Ariaz – it was a welcome chance to get out of the early heat and enjoy what they both say has been a “very fun” experience.

But fun doesn’t come without a price.

On Tuesday, both Owensby and Ray led their goats through the judging ring – culminating more than three months of taking care of the animals on a regular basis, and more than a week of prepping them specifically for that event.

“The hardest part was just getting them ready for the fair,” said Owensby, who took a second in her particular market class on her first attempt – something she was more than happy to receive. “Just trimming them and grooming them and getting them ready for the judges took a lot of time.”

While both of the girls are hoping for future careers working with animals, the thought of raising their own animals and competing against other students from throughout San Joaquin County that are doing the same thing never entered their mind until Ariaz asked if they’d be interested in participating this year.

And in March they both took control of their respective animals and began the arduous task of raising them through the spring and into the early summer – a period of time that included regular trips out to the Manteca Unified school farm to check on and feed their goats.

They had no idea that the experience would be so rewarding in the end.

“We both learned a lot about the animals, and about what goes into taking care of them,” Ray said. “Overall it was a good experience, and something I’m looking forward to doing in the future.”

The San Joaquin County Fair continues today and runs through Sunday, June 28. For more information about the fair or the daily activities offered this year, visit their website at
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