COLUMBIA — About 100 people watched from the stands of the MFA Show Pavilion as goats were walked — and dragged — around the ring.
As the owners showed their goats Tuesday at the Boone County Fair, an announcer listed what town they came from and their weight. The goats announced themselves with repeated, loud bleating noises.
Owners led their goats to a line and readjusted their stances, some petting the animals in an attempt to calm them. The goats responded with more bleating sounds.
Landon Matheny, 18, has been showing goats for four years. Matheny used to show sheep, but started showing goats when his brother did.
“They looked nicer,” Matheny said. “Goats are friendlier than sheep.”
Matheny received a blue ribbon for his goat, which was in the lightweight division. Matheny said he was surprised to have done so well, because his goat was rather small.
Surrounding the show pavilion were several different livestock barns. Goats and sheep were housed together, some sheep were wearing beige coats and others neon jumpsuits you might expect to see at an aerobics class. The swine barn, the cattle barn, and the poultry and rabbit barn all housed sleepy animals waiting for their turn in the spotlight.
The children’s barnyard held cows, a donkey, sheep, goats and calves, as well as coloring books and activities. An interactive exhibit called “Food Power” taught children where food comes from. It explained that pizza doesn’t grow from the ground and ingredients like wheat, milk, beef and vegetables come from farms.
The air-conditioned multipurpose room at the fair housed 10 colorful tiger statues, which were part of the Tigers on the Prowl art exhibit. One tiger seemed to be inspired by "The Starry Night," another had an intricate floral design, and one featured a captive Jayhawk in a cage in its chest.
On a stage across from the tigers and next to a wall of cured hams, the 2013 Little Mr. and Miss Boone County contest was being held. Disney ballads played through speakers before and after the contest.
Twelve girls aged 5 to 7 walked on stage and each told the crowd her name, age, and her favorite thing about the fair. Popular answers included cotton candy, roller coaster rides and shy silence. More than 50 people sat in fold-out chairs in front of the stage.
Three boys, hands in pockets, walked on stage after the girls, and quickly said their names, ages and favorite things about the fair.
The overall winners of the contest were Mia Bates, 5, and Hunter Skouby, 5. Mia and the three runners-up were all dressed in red, white and blue.
The carnival area of the fair had a carousel, bouncy houses, food carts, rides and a Ferris wheel. The air smelled like maple syrup.
Tim Elliott, whose daughters were riding a caterpillar roller coaster, said the fair this year seemed to have more rides, but fewer people.
"The girls like the rides, and it's nice to support Boone County," Elliott said.
He said it was his family's third year visiting the Boone County Fair.
"The weather's better this year," Elliott said. "It was around 100 degrees last time."
The fair action Tuesday, opening day, also featured chainsaw carving, motocross races and live music.
Supervising editor is Zachary Matson.