Vanessa Ruda, a second-grade teacher, says when she was interviewed for her job, she told school officials she would like to start a 4-H group.
"And now, here we are," Ruda says. The projects the kids undertake in 4-H, she says, instill many of the same values in them as DCA.
The ring at the back of the fairgrounds is filled with goats. Goats with horns, goats without horns, tan goats and white goats. And some goats - without other things.
"We show wethers," says Brittany Carpenter, 12, of Scott County, standing in a goat pin with Kory Kidwell, 9. When asked what a wether is, both kids turn and look at each other with lifted eyebrows and grins.
Bad luck for the male goats
"It's the male goats that are castrated," whispers Stephanie Kidwell, Kory's mom. The two kids giggle - maybe about the topic, or maybe in reference to a reporter's apparent ignorance regarding livestock.
Passing through the center of the ring, grandparents and parents sit in folding chairs paired with coolers, appearing to chatter about who's goat is expected to do what in which competition.
On the other side of the ring, the Price family prepares for the Novice Showmanship competition. As William Price, only 11 but an aspiring expert on goating, gives a dissertation on why Boer goats are the most popular type of meat, how they originated in Africa and have a natural liking for humans, his 6-year-old brother, Brayden, is behind him desperately dragging his obstinate goat who appears to be head-butting the air and not ready to walk anywhere.
That goat doesn't seem to have much of a natural liking for anything.
William says it is his third time showing, and he already has two grand champions under his belt from Lincoln and Garrard county events. He speaks realistically about the goats being judged for the best cuts of meat, but he also says he gets really attached to them.
"They're a lot more like pets, really. But I try to remember that's it's an industry. Goating is really starting to grow agriculturally in Kentucky," William says.
Long career as a judge
Another former sharp kid, almost 39 now, is Jeff Jester, the judge of last night's event who says he's been judging animals since he was 7.
Schooled and certified through the International Boer Goat Association, Jester came in from Indiana for the event. Although he spoke of technical judging criteria, such as confirmation and muscle tone, watching him kneel down to get eye level with the 11 different children lined up for the event shows the goats aren't the center of his attention.
Bystander Ray Graves leans in to explain that Jester is asking the kids specifics about the goat - its sex, weight, name and if they know the parts of the animal, for example. Graves gives up a little secret about Jester's judging style.
"He's really doing it based more on the kids than the animal," Graves says, explaining that eye contact and responses to the judge mean more than the muscle tone of the animal probably do at this level of the game.
Graves is with the Boyle County Goat Club. A mother nearby says Graves donates goats for any children who are just starting out with 4-H and interested in showing, and donated three to the DCA.
Goating in her blood
Jester awards first place in the Novice Showmanship to Kayla Graves, who apparently has goating in her blood. Second-place is awarded to Emily Carney, a DCA student who's mother, Jennifer, briefly squeals while taking the ribbon picture.
Lona Cobb wins third place, another young tot who the judge says "had very good responses to questions."
The results of the 4-H and FFA market goat and open Boer breeding show will be printed when made available by the fair board.