East Texas Ag News: Brothers to show goats at Angelina County Fair

Brothers Peyton Jelinek (left) and Preston Jelinek (right) will be showing market goats in the...
Brothers Peyton Jelinek (left) and Preston Jelinek (right) will be showing market goats in the Angelina County Fair next week at the George H Henderson Expo in Lufkin.(Cary Sims)
Published: Mar. 17, 2022 at 4:00 PM CDT
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LUFKIN, Texas (KTRE) - It is just a couple of days until the Angelina County Youth Fair, and 40 4-H and FFA members across the county are feeding their goats in preparation for this year’s Angelina County Fair.

Two brothers from Lufkin will be part of that competition. Preston Jelinek, a 17-year-old Junior at Lufkin High, and brother Peyton Jelinek, a 14-year-old freshman at Lufkin High, have been a part of the Angelina County Fair for years.

“My parents actually introduced me to the 4-H Horse Club where I was shown every project in the Angelina County Fair,” says Preston. “I wanted to start small, so I tried baking competition, and I ended up having some success in that area. On the goat side, however, I had a friend who was looking for a show partner, as his brother had just got out of the project, so he asked me to work with him. This was the first step into me working to where I am now.”

His brother Peyton adds, “I watched my brother work with his projects, and I saw how much fun it was.  My brother helped me to get started with showing in the fair.” He continues, “My favorite part of the fair is being able to see the hard work, time and effort in the project pay off.  I also enjoy hanging out with friends and making new friends.”

Preston and Peyton are the sons of Trish and Jay Jelinek. Their mom Trish says the fair has benefited her sons in so many ways. “The county fair has given our boys the opportunity for leadership and volunteering. As 4-H ambassadors, they are helping others as well as sharing their experiences along the way. The county fair teaches them responsibility through any projects they participate in.” Dad Jay adds, “Animals have to be fed, exercised, worked with and monthly medicines must be administered to maintain good health. There are deadlines to meet as well as rules to follow. They just have to navigate the challenges and overcome obstacles along the way.”

Both brothers are county fair ambassadors. These ambassadors are youth volunteers for the fair. The program strives to provide high school-aged fair participants the opportunity to develop and practice advanced leadership skills and become an advocate for the county fair. Youth applied annually in a competitive process.

Regarding his favorite part of the county fair Preston says, “It has to be the community that makes it up.” He explains, “Everyone is kind and willing to help other people, especially newer exhibitors who haven’t completely learned the ropes. I say this because I was one of those people who were new and had help from senior exhibitors to learn all the tricks of the trade when it came to showing goats.”

Both brothers shared their toughest parts. Preston says, “The hardest part of getting ready for the fair is probably waking up early for check-in to be the first in line and staying hours at the expo to clean up my goat and shear him to make him look presentable when show day rolls around.”  Peyton acknowledges, “the hardest part of the fair is to remember all the details about my project and do the very best when showing my projects.”

Like other projects, meat goats raised for this year’s show were entered and received an ear tag on Saturday, December 11 at the Hudson High School Ag Barn.

Market goats must weigh a minimum of 65 lbs. and cannot weigh more than 125 lbs. All goats below or above the weight limit will be disqualified. Market goats will be divided by weight into four classes: light, medium-light, medium-heavy and heavy.

When you watch the market goat show, you should notice a stocky, more muscular build than the dairy goat breed types that are more commonly known. By far the predominant meat goat breed represented in the show ring is a Boer crossbred. The Boer breed has a distinctive red head and white body.

Raising a competitive market goat requires gentling, halter-breaking, hoof trimming, managing for parasites, and a good deal of practice showing. As much as the other species, goats require an excellent feeding regimen and quality facilities.

Exhibitors will show them with a halter or collar around the neck. Like lamb exhibitors, they set the hind legs square to the body and back a bit, then place the front legs, keeping the body and neck straight.

When the judge handles the goat, they look closely at the entire length of the back for muscling that extends from behind the withers (top of the shoulders) to the back loin.

Each Jelinek son has their own goals. Peyton’s biggest goal is simply “to do better than I did last year. I hope I am successful in all of my projects.” Older brother Preston states, “my biggest goal for this year is not necessarily winning grand champion or senior showmanship, though that would be amazing, but showing my goat to the best of my ability. Goats especially can be unpredictable, and you never can tell how they’ll act in the ring, but if I can do that, I will be satisfied with all the work and effort I’ve put into this year.”

“We wish for both our sons to have a great time making memories and enjoying the county fair,” remarks Trish, “It’s not always about coming out on top but the journey that gets you there and the people you meet along the way.”

Their father Jay states, “we wish other families would realize how much fun it is to take on a project and learn how to improve each year. Not to mention the friendships that are made and the memories you take away from it.  Last but not least, the help you get from fellow participants that willingly want the best for you.”

Peyton concluded, “I hope other exhibitors and myself get more knowledgeable during this year’s fair so that will help us out toward the next. I really want the first-time fair participants to have a great experience that gets them really excited about coming back next year.”

Preston wrapped up his thoughts with, “I hope that other exhibitors and I leave this year’s fair with appreciation of hard work that everyone puts into their projects and the sacrifices we have to make along the way.”

After the judge determines his placing for all 40 market goat entries, only the top 28 goats will be sold at auction on Saturday, March 26 starting at 4 p.m. For a complete schedule of this year’s county fair, go to www.angelinacountyfair.com.

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