"With things like the market goat project, supported by the state ag board, and FFA and 4-H, the kids have an opportunity to learn every aspect of raising the goat," Johnson said. "It is their project. They have to care for the goat. They have to raise it and show it."
In the market wethers portion of the competition, judges look for more muscle than fat, as well as assess the amount of meat that will come from the loin by looking at the animal's top line.
Some, including Johnson's daughter, employ serious training methods to ensure they present the most attractive specimen possible.
Johnson said they walk the goats on a leash around a mile a day. Three times a week, the goats get the health club treatment and spend 10 minutes on a treadmill.
Judges "are looking for strong muscle and very little fat," Johnson said. "The treadmill really builds those muscles and makes them pop for the judge's eye."
Johnson, who started raising goats on her family farm in Texas as part of a 4-H project, said goats possess some utilitarian advantages as farm animals.
Because of their small stature, they can live in relatively small pastures. One productive goat will yield enough milk for an entire family.
Those who raise goats will tell you that each animal is an individual.
Vanessa Ruda, who grew up on a farm in Boyle County and showed hogs as a child, said she has become fond of the goats' personalities.
"You can definitely tell that each one has their own voice," Ruda said. "You know from the house which one is crying or making chatter. They are also very mischievous."
Many of those who have been involved with raising goats and other animals for show since childhood will tell you that there is much more at play than just the ribbons and price the animals fetch at sale.
Working in the shadows of the glowing, swirling, screaming carnival at most county fairs, those who show their animals are committed to living the agrarian values often neglected as populations began moving away from farms in large numbers a few generations ago.
"I think it is so important that kids have an experience like this," Ruda said. "They learn a work ethic that will serve them well in life."
It also could help them on their way to college. Ruda, who paid for undergraduate and graduate studies with agriculture-related scholarships, said the International Boer Goat Association has a point system that factors in participation in shows as well as grades in school.
Students can earn considerable scholarship money by the time they graduate.
Here are the results of Tuesday's goat show:
Open market goats: grand champion, Courtney Walter; reserve champion, Jordan Young.
Boyle County market goats: grand champion: Jessica Johnson; reserve champion, Eliza Hurst.
Boyle County showmanship: grand champion, Emily Carney; reserve champion, Taylor Crane.
Breeding: best dairy doe, Caitlin Creider; best full blood doe, Jessica Johnson; best percentage doe, Jessica Johnson; best buck, Justin Harvey.
In other events, Tom Cummins and Ann Cassada were named Mr. and Ms. Silver Citizen.