BY RYA WALFORD
“I smell poop,” yelled a little girl as she stepped onto the platform with dozens of others, making their way to the Royal Winter Fair. Each November farmers from all over bring in their most appealing animals to show off. But what does it take to be the best at the Royal?
Preparing for an event as big as the fair takes weeks and a tremendous amount of work.
“Oh my gosh, it’s hectic,” said Lyanne Boarer, a member of the Frankhaven goat farm. Frankhaven is a family operated dairy goat farm run out of Teeswater, On. Ed Franken and his family have been participating in the Royal since 2002 and have won countless prizes for their goats.
Choosing which goats make it to the fair is a lot like the way the judges choose which goats win the show, it is all based on the overall appearance of the animal, the udder especially.
“A lot goes into getting the goats ready for a show. Probably one of the hardest parts is changing the goats milking schedule,” says Johnny Franken.
The animals are scored on the appearance of their fur and how their udders look which is why the milking process has to be timed perfectly. “If you milk them to early the udder will not be full enough for show, if you wait to long, the goat could have pains and be uncomfortable,” says Franken.
Getting all the animals to the show is a whole other story. The Frankens brought
22 goats this year, one of which was forgotten on the farm. In a race against time, Boarer who had been driving up a day later, had to load up the forgotten goat into her car, side-by-side, with baby Franken.
“It was so stressful while it was happening, but now I can laugh… I mean who else can say they’ve had a baby and a goat playing in their backseat for the better part of two hours?”
The competition is broken down into categories based on type of goat and then again into subcategories based on age. The Frankens had four wins in their category this year, two first place and two second. As well as, two “Best Udder” and “Grand Champignon and Reserve” titles.
“It’s a lot of chaos for one day of action but it’s all worth it in the end.”