Snowball and Marvin stood out among the crowd — or that’s how their handlers, brother and sister Stran and Aubrey Mayes, saw them.
Snowball is like a bodybuilder with his speckled white fur and protruding muscles. Marvin, on the other hand, exudes an air of confidence and holds his head up high.
“We’ve been through this thing 1,000 times, but each time we come back better,” Aubrey said.
Stran, 16, and Aubrey, 14, were two competitors in the Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo’s Junior Wether Goat Show.
The goat contest is a livestock show the rodeo hosts for youth competitors. The goats competing were about 6 months old and were judged with a goal of becoming a champion of the show.
The goat show had contestants from 239 of Texas’ 254 counties, said Matt Brockman, communications manager for the Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo. They showed off 804 goats. The youth competitors ranged from 8 to 18 and were allowed to enter one goat for the competition.
The contest divided the goats into three weight classes: light, medium and heavy weight. The goats weighed anywhere from 50 to 137 pounds.
Bryan Liles is one of four superintendents who oversaw the goat show. Judges looked for muscle content, posture and bone structure. They also looked for how they were groomed and how the owner handled them, he said.
The Mayes siblings have raised their goats since they were kids. They purchased their goats as babies from a breeder. Then the siblings from Aledo put their goats through an exercise program to build up their muscles to prepare them for competitions.
Aubrey and her brother spent several months after school grooming and training their goats, something that people outside the livestock world wouldn’t understand, she said.
“The time spent at the barn is the most valuable,” Aubrey said. “A lot of teachers don’t realize we’re in the barn after school from 5 p.m to 11 at night working and preparing for these competitions.”
Inside the Will Rogers Memorial Center, the goats were lined up and positioned by their handler with their necks raised high to showcase their body structure. The judge touched the goats’ backs to check their appearance and any other factors in the contest’s criteria. Then it was off to be weighed again.
“The goats have to be reweighed before they are allowed to show again,” Liles said. “This also helps keep the goat in its respective weight class.”
Snowball, Stran’s goat, competed in the light-weight category, while Aubrey’s goat named Marvin was in the medium class. This wasn’t their first rodeo.
The Mayes siblings come from a family of animal handlers. Their oldest brother, Blaze Mayes, was the first in their family to compete and their father is a veterinarian. Blaze would do the major shows, while she and Stan competed in smaller ones, Aubrey said.
Stran and Aubrey see themselves as a team despite competing in different categories. Aubrey’s goat was seventh, and Stran’s goat finished fourth.
While they didn’t win big at the stock show, the siblings are going to do what they’ve always done after each competition.
“Every time one of us wins, we’re proud of each other,” Aubrey said. “And if the other one didn’t do good, it’s OK because we’re a team and we made it there together.”
Taylor Coit is a reporting fellow for the Fort Worth Report. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter. At the Fort Worth Report, news decisions are made independently of our board members and financial supporters. Read more about our editorial independence policy here.