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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Pacific NW

Sisters carry on family tradition of raising goats

UPDATED: Fri., Aug. 20, 2021

By Scott Shindledecker Tribune News Service

The Brist family of Kila and Marion have ranched west of Kalispell for more than a century, and goats have been part of the operation for many decades.

“We had Alpines (goats) on our family farm for 40 years,” Madison Brist said. “Our grandparents, aunt and dad showed them and we wanted to keep up the tradition.”

The Brist sisters, Madison and Emma, certainly had a performance the family was proud of after they took top honors in the Junior Showmanship class.

Thirteen-year-old Madison’s Alpine, Shasty Daisy, was the Grand Champion, while 11-year-old Emma’s Alpine, Belle, was the Reserve Champion. Younger sister Naomi Brist also claimed Grand Champion in the Junior Novice category.

Bigfork’s Isabel Kerst has competed in livestock competitions in Colorado and Montana for six years and the results are always the same.

“I’ve won 11 buckles for either grand or reserve champion here and there for lambs and goats,” Kerst said as she beamed with pride. “I’ve had three grand champions here.”

Kerst competed Thursday at the Northwest Montana Fair in Kalispell with her Nubian goat, Ivy. She won grand champion in the Senior Showmanship class for youth 14 years or older.

“I bought her June 6, 2019, and brought her home a few weeks later,” Kerst said. “I bottle-fed her for a few months and then bred her in the summer of 2020 and this January. She’s had a doe and two bucklings.

“I bottle-fed her babies because when you are showing you want their udders to look good,” Kerst said.

As with all stock, the work keeps their owners busy, but also focused.

“I milk twice a day, usually around 7:30 or 8 in the morning and the same time in the evening,” Kerst said. “We shear them about two weeks before showing so their coat looks its best and we clip their hooves once a month so they don’t get foot rot and we shine the hooves with olive or coconut oil for the appearance.”

Kerst is studying to be a Certified Nursing Assistant at Flathead Valley Community College and plans on working in a midwife clinic before she goes to either Oklahoma Baptist or Union University to become a nurse.

Isabel’s sister, Adelyn, also fared well with her Nubian goat, claiming reserve champion on Thursday.

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