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Seems like only yesterday I was chasing goats

I don’t know if you are ready for this or not, but Labor Day is only two weeks away. As we look back over the summer of 2012, I’ve got quite a list of events that fall under the "Awesome Summer" heading. None, however were quite as exciting as the great chase we took part in last week.

Our family was just starting an annual week-long stay in South Dakota at the lake cabin. And before you ask, just let me assure you that yes, there arelakes in northeast South Dakota. It’s called the glacial lakes part of the state for a reason, people!

In between trying out the new paddle board and reading a stack of books, we spent one morning watching my niece and nephews show their livestock projects at 4-H Achievement Days. This event is a fun time because it includes stories from the good old days when my brother, sister and I were the 4-H kids.

There was the time my brother was knocked out by his steer as he tried to break her to lead. And, of course, each year we had to give the chickens a bath and rub Vaseline on their beaks and feet to make them pretty for the judges. Usually the conversation ended with the unbelievable anecdote about the time one of the sheep died just before we left for judging.

Yes, dead livestock on Achievement Day. Good times!


This year the weather was nice enough that judging was going to take place outside in a temporary corral which was set up in the parking lot of the local sale barn. Family members watched the kids show their sheep and pigs to the judge as we sat on one of two metal bleachers off to one side of the corral. The 4-H Junior Leaders sold walking tacos, bars and lemonade on the other side.

The real excitement began when my nephew, Trey, brought Zoey into the ring. Zoey is a 3-month-old Nigerian dwarf dairy goat that is no larger than a house cat. At one point, Trey thought the judge had a hold of Zoey and the judge thought Trey had her. Zoey shot out of their hands, through the bars of the corral, past the people and into the parking lot like she had a rocket attached to her tail.

Off she went with a dozen of us in hot pursuit. It had been awhile since I had chased a miniature baby goat over a gravel parking lot so my blocking and capture skills were a little rusty. (In hindsight it turned out flip-flops were not a good choice for such a scattered chase.)

She darted back and forth, small enough to run right under pickup trucks without pause. We would lose sight of her, but could still hear her bleating call as she searched for her nanny. At one point, we were laughing so hard I had a sort of out-of-body experience watching the comical scene unfold from above like some sort of Keillor-esque radio story.

In the end, Trey was able to safely scoop her up and take her back to the judge, who awarded him a purple ribbon.

And the rest of us won a 4-H story that will live on for generations.

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