After winning her 25th prize ribbon at this year’s Spokane County Interstate Fair, Kira Bates beamed and knelt beside one of her favorite animals, a 6-month-old Nigerian dwarf goat named Koala Bear.
“I’ve had champions before, but they were ones that I bought,” Bates, 19, said Saturday. “This is the first that I bred myself.”
Among other awards, Bates took home the title of best overall youth showman at the fair. “I didn’t expect to do so well this year,” she said.
At 19, it was her last opportunity to compete as a youth, but she plans to become a veterinary technician and continue raising animals, as she has done since age 12.
At home in Hauser, Idaho, she and her 16-year-old brother, Garrett, raise chickens, ducks and a small herd of goats, including 15 adults and seven kids.
“I love watching them grow and develop their own personalities, their own sets of quirks,” Bates said. “I like them better than dogs, honestly.”
Most of those goats are Lamanchas, another dairy breed distinguished by their small, stubby ears. Bates bred Koala Bear – a tiny animal with pointy ears and calico spots – at the recommendation of a fellow breeder. She said Koala Bear won in her category because of her sturdy body and healthy udder.
“She’s my favorite doe, just because she’s so well-mannered,” Bates said, noting that another of her goats refuses to hold still for competitions and once bit a judge.
Bates’ mother, Bonnie Frederickson, watched proudly Saturday as Bates guided another goat – Koala Bear’s mother – toward the judging pen.
“She’s worked really hard at this,” Frederickson said.
The 10-day fair ends Sunday with a second night of demolition derby at the Grandstand.
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