Garrett’s goats

Garrett Moorse’s goat Ferrari raced to national victory at the 2018 American Dairy Goat Association National Show

Photo by Jody Isaackson Goat rancher Garrett Moorse of rural Minneota went into his goat pen to catch his national prize winning goat Ferrari. Ferrari is more bashful than the others who are quite friendly, he said. Moorse is pictured standing in the middle of his goat pen with one portion of his herd.

MINNEOTA

It’s “Baaaack to the Future” for a Minneota goat farmer, only with a Ferrari, not a DeLorean.

Goats run in Garrett Moorse’s family. His family runs a goat and dairy farm on the south edge of Minneota. He’s got competition fever and took it all the way to the finish line with his 2018 doe kid, Ferrari.

“We name our kids following a different theme every year,” Moorse said Sunday evening. “This year was old cars. We also have a Barracuda, but that one didn’t pan out. I’m really glad Ferrari did.”

Last year’s theme was song titles such as “Blurred Lines,” “Uptown Funk” and “Life’s a Dance,” he said.

Ferrari took Junior National Champion Recorded Grade title at the 2018 American Dairy Goat Association National Show that was held June 23-30 at the Ohio State Fairgrounds and Expo Center in Columbus, Ohio.

Moorse and his protégé, Josh Schuelke, took a total of 12 goats to the prestigious show and used some of the extras as class fillers.

“When there’s a premium class, you want to make sure there are enough entries to pay out the top three,” Moorse said.

This year, Schuelke placed in the top 20 out of 60, Moorse said.

“This is Josh’s first nationals ever,” Moorse said. “When I was his age I didn’t even make the cut, so he did well.”

Of course, it helps to show the best of your herd, as Moorse always endeavors to do.

Ferrari was born March 3 of this year and was disbudded (dehorned) at about one month of age. She is a black goat with a little white trim and more bashful than her peers, however, Moorse was able to bring out the best of her in as few as 2 1/2 hours of work.

“I worked with her for about two hours, spread out (over a week or so), to train her to the halter and to set up (stand right for judging),” he said. “Then, I spent about half an hour trimming her (grooming). When Josh and I work together, we can do that in 20 minutes.”

Driving to the conventions and keeping the stable area neat and clean is probably the toughest part of showing.

“Daily chores include keeping the area in the barn clean and keeping a neat display. Between that and showing, we’re lucky if we get three hours sleep each night,” Moorse said. “Other years, we could have a decorating scheme in the alley, but this year we were told we couldn’t. We got there, and everybody else had up a display. I was glad we brought our sign along, so we had something.”

Moorse said that any given goat can show as many years as they are in condition to do so. After that, they return to the herd to perpetuate the bloodlines.

“As long as they’re still functional, we keep them home and keep breeding them for genetics,” he said.

As kids, the goats get weaned with milk replacer and are given a special grain feed mix and then he adds free-choice hay when they’re ready. After they’re weaned from the milk replacer, they continue on the feed mix and free-choice hay.

Boars are sold for meat while does are kept for breeding and milking. Some bucks are also kept for breeding.

“The grain is a custom ration just for us,” Moorse said, “although some friends are now using it, too.”

In fact, it was friends who got him into raising goats, giving him a pair on his birthday one year.

Making new friends makes the trips even more enjoyable, Moorse said. For the 2018 trip, Moorse and Schuelke met up with friends from Kenyon for the 2,000-mile trip to Columbus.

This wasn’t Moorse’s first competition. It was his fourth national show, with the first being in 2013.

“In 2013, we took Reserve Junior National Champion Recorded Grade with a doe,” he said. “I had one of the best handlers, not me. I was young and not very good then. In 2017, we took Premier Youth Exhibitor for Alpines Saanens (all white goats).”

In 2013, the nationals were in Minnesota. It was a once-in-a-lifetime event, so Moorse went — and got hooked.

In 2014, he went to Louisville, Kentucky, and in 2017, the nationals were in Madison, Wisconsin.

Next year, they will be held in Oregon, he said. It will take three days to drive out there. Having to drive through the mountains would be the only thing to keep him home, he said. However, some friends had been out there in 2015 for competition and have told him how much fun they had had and that they had had enough time for some sightseeing as well.

Moorse will be entering his second year as the Minneota FFA adviser this fall and has plans to attend the fall convention of the American Dairy Goat Association. He is also training to become a goat judge having already done a pre-training conference in Houston on July 7.

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