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Goats, gripes, and grasping for greatness
Home safe from SAFF 
31st-Oct-2016 09:07 am
It was a good show. The people were pleasant, and the show "organization" was a rather libertarian affair of voluntary participation and self-advocacy. The enclosed arena was just climate-controlled enough to even out the lows and highs of the weather (43 degree mornings and 82 degree afternoons). There were highly convenient real bathrooms, though no convenient food. Three of my five show goats placed third or second, and the judge complimented me on how uniformly soft my goats were. After the show, I sold three of my five sale goats - Misty, Corene, and Hope - as a single unit to a lovely farm family, and helped another farm sell five of their goats.

The trip down was fast and smooth. Finding the venue included only one wrong turn due to a closed gate (and then some off-roading in the fairgrounds due to my poor strategic planning). The venue was right off of the highway on a busy, well-lit intersection. We used Marriott points on a hotel room that was as close as I could get to the fair without camping on the grounds, so the local commute was quick and easy. The group dinner on Saturday night was excellent: the organization was superb, the location was convenient, and the food was tasty.

As far as logistics and off-load/pack-out went, it was very smooth for me. There was no driving allowed in the show pen/arena area, but there were helpful people with handcarts to bring in gear. Parking was easy and plentiful. Load-out completely lacked in chaos, because the animal arena was a good distance away from any vendors. And the staff left the side gate open for departures so we did not have to drive back through the vendor area to get out. I was on the road by 4:30 and home by midnight.

A big reason I was able to go to SAFF this year was that New York Sheep and Wool is held on the third weekend of October while SAFF is held on the last weekend. This year there were five weekends in October, so there was a recovery weekend between. I am not at all confident that I could deal with doing those two trips back to back. That is a lot of driving, and the return trips are after a full Sunday of festival activities, when I'm tired, and when it is dark. The best and safest way to attend two shows back to back would likely require a huge chunk of vacation time from work. (FWIW, the next 5-weekend October is 2021.)
1st-Nov-2016 12:58 pm (UTC)
Amusingly enough, one of the people with whom I hang out at the shows is talking retirement and one has just retired. The difference in attitude and tone of voice from one side of the line to the other is marked.
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