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Pygmy goats put on a big show

July 12, 1997

By LAURA ERNDE

Staff Writer

SHARPSBURG - A goat named Revlon was named grand champion doe by the National Pygmy Goat Association on Saturday.

"Her mother was Covergirl," explained owner Bonnie Coleman, 40, of Clarksburg, Pa.

Coleman bends over to stroke her knee-high charge.

"You did good, girl," she tells Revlon, who will soon give birth to the Mountain Laurel Farm's next generation of "models."

The national association is holding its annual convention here, its first in Maryland.

More than 220 goats, some of them no bigger than toy poodles, were registered for the show on Saturday at the Washington County Agricultural Education Center, said organizer Gail Wiles of Wolfsville, Md.

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Owners came from as far away as Dallas to see which goats had the right stuff.

Hundreds of spectators got a chance to see why pygmy goats have stolen the hearts of their owners.

Wiles bought her first pygmy goats about eight years ago, after her doctor told her to get a hobby to relieve stress.

"The first time I saw them I fell in love with them. They're cute and cuddly and really smart," said Wiles, who took a break from her job selling insurance to organize the convention with Don and Darlene Korrell

Kitty Dorsey, 51, who lives south of Hagerstown, recently got some pygmy goats of her own. She doesn't show them, however, and was fascinated to see the meticulously groomed animals.

"They have some really pretty goats here," she said.

Much like a American Kennel Club dog show, pygmy goats are judged on their physical features.

It's a good thing behavior doesn't count because some of them were a little stubborn in the ring.

"When they're spoiled, they're a little bit harder to show. They want to sit in your lap instead," Coleman said. "Most of them are just big babies."

Larry and Blanche Sharpe of Smithsburg wanted to learn more about the hobby that their daughter pursues in Marin County, Calif.

"She's always been an animal lover. I'm just grateful it's not cows," Blanche Sharpe said.

`Like they're talking'

Under an open barn, the little females sound kind of like crying babies. The uncastrated males snort, grunt and make all kinds of strange sounds in a mating ritual.

"Sometimes it sounds like they're talking to you," said Evan Stouffer, 13, of Lebanon, Pa.

Mary Beth Guenther, 34, fell in love with pygmy goats after seeing them four years ago at a county fair near her hometown of Medina, Ohio.

Now she and her mother, Elizabeth Huber, have a whole herd.

When their buck Rapture was named national grand champion, Guenther fussed Huber for threatening to sell him.

"I only told him he was a brat. You were a brat, too, but I wouldn't sell you," Huber said.

No bark, no bite

Goats are the oldest domesticated animal in the world, said association President Tim Norman. The pygmies originated in Africa.

Pygmy goats make better pets than dogs because they don't bark, they don't bite, and they're inexpensive to keep, the goat owners said. Most are kept outside, but they can be house-trained.

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