Imagine how excited you would be for your 13-year-old daughter, and her goat, knowing how much time and trouble she put into training, grooming, and exercising her 4-H project as she readies herself for the 162nd celebration of the Darke County Fair. For the sake of this essay, let’s name her goat, Gary and our young heroine, Haily.
Let’s further imagine how excited Haily the handler became as the fair opening date drew near. She meticulously checked every detail about her project that the judges would key on once the fair event was underway.
Finally, the day arrives for you and your family, with Gary the goat in tow, to pack up the car and trailer and head to the Greatest County Fair in the world, mainly, the Darke County Fair.
You arrive early in the morning the day before the competition to get things situated and to spend some time on last-minute grooming and training. As you look around the goat barn, you notice that the competition looks pretty stiff this year. There are numerous young kids, like your daughter, who have spent long hours in preparation for tomorrow’s big event.
Something else you notice is how matrix like the goat stalls are situated. The numerous stalls are all interwoven together, separated by walkways which run both vertically and horizontally throughout the entire building. In other words, it would provide a great place for kids to run around inside playing tag or some equivalent of such.
Ultimately, the big day arrives. Your daughter spends more time and energy getting Gary ready for the walkaround inside the judge’s area. As the time draws near for Haily to enter the ring, she performs two last minute checks to ensure the harness is secure around Gary’s neck and that she has a tight grip on the end of the leash wrapped around her left hand.
Haily waits nervously for the time when she is queued to walk into the ring with Gary. When the time finally arrives for her to start walking her goat, Haily enters the ring with stars in her eyes. Perhaps she will win a blue ribbon today?
Everything goes smoothly as Haily the handler and Gary the goat stride together along the inside of the fence (which separates the goats and their handlers) from the spectators. She navigates her away down the straightaway, and around the first and second corners and then proceeds down the second straightaway, towards the third turn.
As Haily approaches 3/4s of the way down the second straightaway, a spectator located roughly two feet away from the girl/goat duo innocently tells young Haily, “Your goat looks really good!”
And that’s when all hell broke loose!!!
Before continuing with this story let me qualify a few things. Firstly, I have no idea how much actual prep time our young protagonist put into her 4-H project. For all I know, her parents did the majority of the work. And secondly, this post in no way is meant to be mean spirited.
Getting back to the story, I was the spectator who told Haily the handler that Gary the goat looked great. This all happened at the fair on Saturday, August the 19th, around 4:00.
What follows is an account of what immediately transpired following my ill-timed compliment. Instantly following my praise for the goat’s appearance, Gary decided to break away from Haily. And as fate would have it, an open gate leading to the goat barn maze of stalls sat immediately to my left. And within seconds of the goat’s exit stage left, Gary disappeared into the goat barn matrix followed closely behind by Haily. As I looked over my shoulder to see what was happening, I noticed that Haily was in hot pursuit of Gary. I couldn’t see the goat, but I could see the top of Haily’s head as she bobbed up and down and weaved in and out of the matrix maze of stalls trying to catch or find Gary. I then turned to Gaylen Blosser, Publisher of My County Link, and asked, “did I just cause that great escape to happen?” And he responded, “well, if you didn’t cause it then it was one heck of a coincidence.”
Before leaving the scene of the accident, I took one last long look inside the goat barn. Haily and Gary were nowhere to be seen. For all I know, both of them found their way out of the goat barn and were running down the midway. Goats run pretty darn fast whenever spooked.
As I was leaving the fair that night to drive home, I saw two shadowy figures off in the distance playing some form of catch me if you can and for all I know, Haily is still out there chasing Gary.
As I waited in line to exit gate 5, I noticed a Deputy Sherrif walking toward my SUV. “That’s it, I thought to myself, they found me. They probably put out an all-points bulletin regarding the menace goat talker from Dayton who is armed with praise for good looking goats and by all accounts is a danger and a menace to society.
When I return to the fair in a couple of days, I plan to park far away and scale the fence to get in. Because my picture is no doubt posted at all 6 gates.
Alan Clark, aka, the goat whisperer!