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09.23.09

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Dress Your Goats in Corduroy and Denim

Grass skirts and bandanas in the livestock tent at the county fair's Best Dressed Goat Contest.

By Jessica Lussenhop


ON SUNDAY, the final day of the Santa Cruz County Fair, things were getting tense near the goat barn, where junior Boer goat breeders were preparing their prize animals for show, spraying their coats with Sullivan's Revive Skin and Nail Conditioner and combing the bright white hair into stiff uniformity. "It's not dry," one teenage competitor snapped at another. "Why does it matter?" the other fired back. The goat wailed protest to everything in general.

But some had come for a less rigid kind of competition, like Cheryl and Ashley Wilson of Salinas, who planned to enter their 7-month-old Boer goat Cookie Crumbs into the Best Dressed Goat competition. "You can dress the goat like yourself, or like the fair theme," said Cheryl. "Or just goofy," added 11-year-old Ashley.

Ashley had chosen the fair theme, Beach Barnyard, and would be wearing a wetsuit with cowboy boots, while her goat would wear an old bikini and an inner tube. That is, if Cookie Crumbs obliged them. "Sometimes once you get her in her outfit she'll just lay down and refuse to move," said Cheryl.

Come 1 o'clock, eight little girls led goats of all types into the show ring. One girl wore a paper crown and a sash that read "Miss Recycling" while her goat dragged a skirt of empty Dasani bottles and olive cans. Two miniature goats waddled out in water wings. Another wore a jean jacket with the sleeves cut off and a chain and padlock as a necklace.

Ashley walked a very cooperative Cookie Crumbs around the circle as the goat's stretched-out paisley swim bottoms sagged further and further down. One of the miniature goats, overwhelmed by accessories, lost it pretty quickly, kicking off its swimmies, straw hat and grass skirt and rolling in the straw. "Her hat's coming off, Sarah!" a parent called frantically.

In the end, Miss Recycling took Most Creative. A teenage MC selected the other winners by applause volume, resulting in an egregious case of voter fraud (many voted for every single candidate). In the end, Ashley and Cookie Crumbs took the Best Dressed title in their category. All the competitors got goat care supplies as their prizes.

A little girl in black lipstick and eyeliner, her goat decked out in leather and chains, cried out as the animal lunged for the contents of her prize bucket, "Mom, he's trying to eat it!" "Of course he is," her mother called back. "He's a goat."


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