Sixty-five goats and sheep put their best hooves forward Thursday in the goat and sheep shows at the Callaway Youth Expo.
Spectators saw 26 goats in nine classes and 39 sheep in 12 classes as area youth showed off the work the have put in with their animals over the past several months.
Eight-year-old Allissa Blansett of Hatton, a member of the Hatton 4-H Club, said she competed in the goat show for the first time because "I thought it might be fun."
"I like goats and I wanted to see what they acted like," Allissa said. "I've been feeding him and walking him around practicing showing and getting him used to this place."
Allissa, who took second place in class 3 market goats, said the best part of preparing for the youth expo was walking "because you get to be with your goat."
Fellow Hatton 4-H member Aiden Haubner, 8, of Auxvasse, also had a successful first year at the expo. Aiden won the class 1 and class 2 market goat classes as well as winning a first place ribbon for the school house he entered in the woodworking competition.
Aiden said he decided to show goats because of his older sister, Aylie, 10, who won the class three market goat class as well as taking the reserve champion title for the market goats and the champion title for junior showmanship.
Aiden said he "was kind of worried" about showing himself for the first time but that he "felt pretty excited" after getting his first two wins under his belt.
Asked about the secret to his success, Aiden said it was "maybe the way we work them."
"We put them on a treadmill," he said.
North Callaway FFA member Rachel Johnson also was new to showing this year.
Rachel, who took second place in the Katadins spring ewe class, said what she has enjoyed most about working with the sheep is "getting to know their personalities."
"I liked working with them to get them to do what you want them to do," Rachel said.
On the other end of the experience spectrum, fellow North Callaway FFA member and recent graduate Abigail Meffert said she has been showing goats since she was 9.
"I like goats. They're very smart; they're a lot like dogs - you can train "em to do whatever you want," Meffert said, noting her favorite goat, Rosie, whom she has been showing for several years, can untie knots and get out of her pen.
Meffert, who ended up taking second in the senior meat doe class, said her secret to showing animals is communication.
"I always talk to them before a show," Abigail said. "Always ask your animal (to do something) unless you have to tell them."
Thursday's goat and sheep shows also drew a number of participants from outside Callaway, including Haley Barnes, of Mexico, who showed goats.
Haley, a member of Mexico FFA and the B&G Hustlers 4-H Club, took second and third in the junior meat buck class, second in the senior meat doe 12-24 months class, first in the senior meat doe 36-plus months class, second in junior meat doe and was the supreme champion for breeding goats.
Haley, who has been showing for five years, said she likes goats because "they each have their own personality - they're kind of like a person."
"You just have to play with them, teach them, pet them, get them used to being around them," she said of her training methods.
Cheyenne Hunt, a recent graduate with Mexico FFA, said she likes working with goats "because they're really gust a lot of fun, and they're a little easier on show day."
"They're just a lot of fun to mess with, they're easy to break and they have really fun personalities," Cheyenne said. "It's pretty much all in the feeding program you use."
Cheyenne, who showed in the market classes where she took two third places, was the champion in the senior showmanship division.
Paul Shanks, of Belle, was another visiting competitor. Paul is the state FFA vice president and showed both goats and sheep Thursday.
"It's just kind of a passion of mine - it's comforting going out and working with my animals," said Shanks, who was the grand champion for the market goats and also was the grand and supreme champion for commercial rams. "I like just working with them. The more time you spend with them, the more you work with a sheep, the more muscle they're going to have."