FAIRLEA, W.Va. — Among the most popular attractions at the State Fair of West Virginia are the livestock barns.
It is often family tradition to pass through the barns admiring and often petting the large collection of animals including pigs, goats, sheep, llamas and cows.
For those who display those animals, it is also often a family tradition as well as a labor of love.
Sisters Jenny Weikle and Nancy Sibold, of Organ Cave, began showing goats when they were kids.
This week, Jenny’s sons Griffin and Brody are showing goats and Nancy’s children, Natalee and Tucker, who are too young to compete or even fully understand the concept of showing goats, are feeding, brushing and just enjoying the barn atmosphere.
“It’s just a lot of fun,” Jenny said. “Nancy and I did it from the time we were old enough and now our kids love it.”
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Although it was Jenny and Nancy who got their children involved in showing goats, it was the opposite for Lewisburg residents John and Kelly Bartenslager, whose adventure began when daughter Kellen was looking for an animal to show for 4-H.
“I grew up in the cattle industry, but Kellen, who was 7 or 8 at the time, felt a little intimidated by the cattle so we looked for an animal for her to show and we started off with goats,” he said.
Initially, the Bartenslagers borrowed two goats, one for Kellen, now 13, and one for younger sister Maggie, now 11.
“That’s how we started off,” John said. “Then it turned from two (borrowed) goats to 50 (of their own).”
The Bartenslagers now breed their own goats, which their girls show across the East Coast and as far away as Kansas City, up to 15 times each year…