WINDSOR — By 10 a.m. Sunday, Emily Williams was coaxing her herd of goats, one by one, to parade through an open barn at the Windsor Fair and to show their figures to a judge who was handing out blue, red and white ribbons.

By 2:30 p.m., Williams, 18, got into her car and began driving nearly 200 miles southwest, to the New Hampshire college where she will start studying biology and pre-veterinary medicine this fall.

In fact, the Mount Vernon teenager was supposed to start her studies at Franklin Pierce University a day earlier, but she wasn’t going to miss the Sunday goat show, one of many events held on the opening day of the annual Windsor Fair, which will continue every day through Labor Day.

“I told my college I’d get there as soon as I can,” Williams said, holding on to a 9-month-old billy goat that she was about to bring in for a rotation through the showing barn. “My animals come first.”

The goats in the Sunday morning show were all the same breed: Boer goats, which come from South Africa and are raised for their meat, as opposed to their milk. Their most distinguishing feature is their chest, which is more barrel-shaped and bovine than those of other breeds.

“You could say they’re the ‘Angus of goats,’ ” said Curtis Prime, livestock superintendent of the Windsor Fair, referring to Angus cattle, which are raised for beef production. The goats “are thicker and wider.”

Prime has raised Boer goats for about 15 years at his Roseledge Farm in Augusta.

As the competition proceeded Sunday morning, farmers from around Maine and New England walked their goats through the ring, and a Boer goat farmer who had come from Indiana judged each on a variety of factors, including size and shape.

Several generations of Williams’ family had come to the show, including her parents, who own Romp & Stomp Acres Boer Goat Farm in Mount Vernon, and her grandparents, who also raise the goats, in Chelsea.

In some ways, Williams already has been doing the work of veterinarians. She has helped raise her family’s goats for a number of years and shadowed Matthew Townsend, a veterinarian in Fairfield.

“I was fascinated by it,” she said of the work.

For about eight years, she has been learning how to diagnose the diseases affecting her family’s livestock, such as parasites, and give them shots.

For a couple of hours Sunday morning, she walked her goats in laps around the shaded showing barn at the fairgrounds, in friendly competition with the other participants. She wore jeans and a pink rodeo-style shirt, and by the end of the morning she had amassed a multicolored collection of ribbons.

Charles Eichacker can be contacted at 621-5642 or at:

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