April 16, 2014

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No kidding, the brothers Harker have great goats

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Aiden Harker, 9, left, and Robert Harker Jr., 12, stand with their nubian market dairy goats Friday. The goats won Grand Champion and Reserve Champion at the Lorain County Fair. PROVIDED PHOTO

WELLINGTON — Judges of the dairy market goat class weren’t kidding around when they announced that the two goats owned by brothers Robert and Aiden Harker won the top two places in their class.

The Harker brothers, sons of Robert and April Harker of Florence Township, were thrilled to learn that their goats took top prize at the 168th annual Lorain County Fair — Grand Champion and Reserve Champion, respectively.

Robert’s goat, Caesar, was named “Grand Champion,” while Aiden’s goat Dallas earned the title of “Reserve Champion.”
According to Robert, Caesar, an 8-month-old Nubian dairy market goat, had strong competition in this year’s class — including his younger brother Aiden’s nubian goat.

Robert, 12, said this year’s judging was keen on the size and thickness of the goat’s loin and thickness of their legs.

“I had a good feeling about (Caesar) because the other goats were smaller,” Robert said.

This year marked the fourth time Robert showed goats, so he had an inkling as to what type of goat the judges look for in order to be named Grand and/or Reserve Champion.

It just happened that Aiden’s goat Dallas was a stellar dairy market goat, too.

This was the first year Aiden, 9, showed an animal at the Lorain County Fair.

“I was nervous because it was my first year,” Aiden said, adding that his goat is also 8 months old.

Robert and Aiden sold their prize-winning goats at auction, which means both are already preparing for next year’s fair, their mother said.

“There is a decent amount of prep because they have to look at the herd and pick their animals accordingly,” April Harker said.

April Harker said goats are not only a grazing animal, but they also are a social animal.

“They get depressed if they are not around other animals,” she said.

And because the nubian goat is a “stubborn” goat, it was important for Robert and Aiden to be in contact with their goat as much as possible and to work with him on a daily basis.

The boys, who are active members in the Henrietta Country Shamrocks 4-H club, live on a small family farm where they also take care of turkeys, chickens, ducks and market goats. They are beekeepers as well.

“They have been showing dairy goats with their family farm, Cricket’s Kids Dairy Goats, owned by their grandparents, Ron and Cindy Hill, of Oberlin, since they could walk and hang on to a goat,” April Harker said.

Contact Melissa Linebrink at mlinebrink@chroniclet.com or 329-7243.