Ready, get set, goat

Hannah Fisher, 10, of Strasburg, leads her goat Marley up a ramp during the goat obstacle course Friday at the Shenandoah County Fair. Rich Cooley/Daily

WOODSTOCK – If a world record for standard-issue goat obstacle courses exists in the record books, competitors at the Shenandoah County Fair would have shattered it Friday.

Twenty-nine kids and their goats lined up at 2 p.m. to navigate their goats through an obstacle course, competing for the $125 cash prize for first place.

From the gates, the goat whisperers herded their animals through gates made of cones, up and down a seesaw, across a balance beam, through a kiddie pool (all four goats’ legs must step inside), up and down a ramp, and up on a table to stop the clock.

Nicholas Cooper, 15, of Strasburg, took home the gold outright.

In a nailbiting finale, Joseph DiRoberto, 16, of Edinburg, and his brother’s goat, Skit, edged out Quinton Breighner, 13, of Woodstock, and his goat, Mr. Adam, in a tiebreaker after they hit the same time to the hundredth of a second in the main event.

Kora Stephens, 12, of Woodstock, struggles with her goat Kadar on the course. Rich Cooley/Daily

They walked home with $75 and $50, respectively, stuffing their pockets.

This year marked the first time the fair hosted a goat obstacle course. Julie Barb first came across the event at the Rockingham County Fair and decided to give it a try. She said she’s happy with how things came together and thinks the event is a great way for kids and animals to interact

“We get a kick out of this,” she said. “But the kids love it even more. It’s just fun for them to do.”

Barb also noted workers with the Rockingham County Fair helped her set up the event.

Even among the competitors with less cooperative goats, there was still enough fun to go around.

Tiffany Heishman, 16, of Strasburg, coaxes her goat Moneybags up a ramp while participating in the goat obstacle course Friday at the Shenandoah County Fair. Rich Cooley/Daily

Sierra Sager, 12, of Edinburg, fought the good fight with her goat, Rainey. Unfortunately for her and Rainey, the goat wasn’t keen on hopping into the kiddie pool.

“It was hard,” she said. “She (Rainey) didn’t want to go into the water so I had to skip it.”

Another competitor, Tiffany Heishman, 16, of Strasburg, and her goat, Moneybags, had trouble with the pool as well.

“Yeah, he’s fat so we didn’t win,” she said with a smile.

Looking forward, Barb said she’s happy with how the event came together and is hoping to bring it back next year. Until then, it’s back to training season for the young goat racers.

Contact staff writer Jake Zuckerman at 540-465-5137 ext. 152, or

Nicholas Cooper, 15, of Strasburg, leads his goat Bear across a teeter-totter. Rich Cooley/Daily