Contestants compete for top prize in goat competition

MERCEDES – Shocked. That’s the first word Nadia Gomez uttered as she led her grand champion goat from the North Barn Arena at the 77th annual Rio Grande Valley Livestock Show and Rodeo.

Nadia, 18, had just won the top prize in the Market Goat competition. In the early afternoon sunlight yesterday, she was full of laughter even as she wiped tears from her eyes.

“I’ve never gotten this far,” said Nadia, a senior at Sharyland Pioneer High School.

She was one of about 240 contestants who showed their market goats in five divisions divided into classes.

Bryan Bernhard, a livestock show judge from Seguin, walked around each goat, running his hands across their backs and speaking with the students.

Meagan Turrubiates, 12, won Reserve Champion in the third division with her trusty goat “Freckles.”

“I am very excited that I got Reserve,” said Meagan, a sixth grader at Rafael Cantu Middle School in Mission. Her sister Melanie, 14, later scored big with her own goat. She’s an eighth grader at the same school.

This was Meagan’s third year competing.

“I did really good this year,” she said. “I had to groom him. We did a lot of practice bracing.”

Bracing means standing forward in a specific posture with their legs stock still. She’d taught Freckles how to brace by putting him on a porch and directing his front legs on the higher step.

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