The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.

Stronghurst and Henderson County-A Rare Opportunity

By Virginia Ross

We don't have Steamboat Days as Burlington or Railroad Days as Galesburg, but we do have a quality Nigerian Dwarf Goat Show once a year.

People arrive from Ohio, Oklahoma, Iowa, Indiana and, of course, Illinois to compete in a 3 day event featuring 200 goats: Friday night-23 exhibitors and 50 goats; all day Saturday-29 exhibitors and 100 goats; and Sunday, which is a different registry show featured 50 animals. This is a big Deal!

Even the Fort Wayne, Indiana show only had 50 animals and the State Fair does well to bring in 100.

These people are bringing money to our community. For example, on Friday night $200 was spent on pizza from FS. The Broadway Cafe, Fishers Food Center, the Kone Korner and H & H had extra business because the goat owners and families were in town--that is economic development on the grass root level. Each year the show has grown: 1st Year-1 show; 2nd Year-2 shows and this Year-3 shows.

Ann Alecock, who organized the local club is a Vice-President and Judge for the Nigerian Dwarf Goat Association, is carrying the burden of making the event a success. The community needs to step up and help.

How? First and foremost, show up and support the show. Meals were served with biscuits and gravy in the morning with pulled pork for lunch as well as nachos, chili and hot dogs. Selling food is a major money maker for the club, but they could use some volunteers to run the concession stand. Just attending and watching cute kids shows cute kids encourages each exhibitor.

Secondly, yes, they rent the Fairgrounds but it is never ready for a show. Kids (children) were putting in light bulbs and goat owners were assembling the pens. Come on, fair board, 4-H or FFA you could volunteer to make this happen. This is a big Deal!

To stage the show is expensive as Judges are paid between $600-900 to come to Stronghurst. Add the cost of the fairgrounds and miscellaneous it probably costs well over $1,000 to showcase Henderson County in this event. Yes, members pay a $20 per family membership fee, but that has to cover rosettes, records, $600 per year for insurance, etc.

There are no premiums in the show but to attend and receive an award makes your stock more valuable. A first time freshner's babies (first time mother) will sell for $300-400 while a Permanent Grand Champion doe's babies go for $500-1,000. To become a "Permanent Grand Champion" a doe must place three times as a grand champion. A buck must have 4 grand championships to be a Permanent Grand Champion. So you see, a lot of valuable stock is showing right in your home town.

Mrs. Alecock stressed it's all about the kids, children, that is, as these small Nigerian Dwarf goats are an excellent project for all sizes. She volunteers with workshops and advice. Too many times I heard people say that kids lack responsibility. Well, taking care of animals teaches this daily as well as economics. They soon learn that feed, bedding, etc. cost money. Record keeping is good training is a life lesson that as they age, check books, credit cards and taxes demand this skill.

When asked how many goats she has, Ann says they have a herd of 35 and currently have 38 babies with four does expecting which will bring the total up to about 45-50 as most does commonly have 2-4 babies.

How often have I heard that Henderson County needs a big event. Well, you have one so let's all support; volunteer your time and talent to help make next year's goat show a big success.

A special thanks is extended to H & H for their support with discounts, sponsoring a workshop and helping with the show. They are to go-to place for dairy goat feed.