FFA members compete in goat showmanship at state fair

GRAND ISLAND, Neb. (KSNB) - FFA members from all across Nebraska put their showmanship skills to the test at the Nebraska State Fair Sunday.

FFA members compete in the goat showmanship competition Sunday at the Nebraska State Fair. (Source: Kelsey Dickeson, KSNB)

About 110 competitors entered the Five Points Bank Arena for goat showmanship. Judges assessed them based on presentation and quality.

"You definitely have to put in the work," said Haley Blecha, an FFA and 4-H member. "It's not handed to you. The animals don't just like you right away. You have to put in the work and it takes a lot of time. It can be really challenging."

Blecha has participated in both organizations ever since she could remember. She's now a freshman at the University of Nebraska at Kearney, where she's studying early childhood special education.

This is her fourth year competing at the state fair with her goats. Blecha said FFA and 4-H have taught her leadership and patience, two skills she can use in her future career.

But competing is more than that. It's been ingrained in her family for several generations.

"It's been a family thing. Ever since my grandpa was little, he did it. It's definitely a fun time with all my cousins. All my cousins show so getting to hang out with them is fun. It's all about the family," Blecha said.

Participation in the FFA goat showmanship competition is up 25 percent this year.

Competitors will continue showmanship and breeding competitions Sunday evening. They'll have their market sheep show 8 a.m. Monday.