With goat milk streaming down his face, Kaleb McKinney finished a glass before pumping both fists in the air.
"I drank it so fast that I really couldn’t tell the difference. It tasted better knowing we won," the Seymour firefighter said. "Today was the first time I’ve ever tasted goat’s milk."
McKinney and his team emerged victorious in the Jackson County 4-H Goat Club’s goat milk relay. The relay featured teams of 4-H’ers and first responders, who competed against other teams.
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Jason Wynn, a Seymour police officer, said the club’s idea behind the relay is for positive interaction with the kids.
"Hopefully, it gives them a better connection that we’re not bad and to have fun and get out there with us," he said. "With my job, I want more interaction with the kids in a fun environment as opposed to when we have to show up at the doorstep. We want some community involvement."
Goats were placed on a stand, where they would eat while getting milked by participants. One team member would milk into a Dixie cup held by a 4-H’er. Then they poured the full cup into a larger cup at the end of the arena.
Once the milk reached a black line drawn on the cup, the person holding it had to chug it for the victory. They provided fresh pasteurized cold milk for those who didn’t want to drink it warm straight from the goat.
The teams had five members. Two were from the goat club, and the others were from either the Seymour Police Department, Seymour dispatch, Jackson County Sheriff’s Department, Jackson County Emergency Medical Services, Seymour Fire Department or Jackson County Jail.
The playful competition reached an unprecedented level when the Seymour Police Department and Seymour Fire Department had to face off in a winner-take-all milk-off.
A team had been accused of not filling the large cup to the line. Organizers said it was not milk that reached the line, but foam.
With the relay ending for some on a bitter note, they still pledged to attend next year.
"It was hosed," Seymour Officer Tim Toborg said while laughing.
He said the event was fun, and he would like to participate again.
"I’m here next year. I loved it," he said.
Wynn said the relay provided exactly what it was aimed to do, which was some comedic relief to a demanding fair schedule for 4-H’ers.
"It gives them a tension-breaker, and you know, this is after our show, so now that it’s over, we can have some fun and enjoy the rest of the fair," he said. "Some kids may not have done so well, so maybe this is something fun for them to do and move on."
McKinney agreed and said he hoped the event was fun for all of those involved.
"They work really hard to make this all happen, and it’s a big week for them, and we were here to bring some fun," he said.
Wynn, a 20-year police veteran, has two children, Allison and Conner, who show goats and a third who will show in the coming years.
Besides dairy goats, the family also shows meat goats, sheep, pigs, rabbits and chickens. They have about 30 goats on their farm.
"We do a little bit of it all," he said.
There were some who asked to practice ahead of the big relay. That provided an opportunity for 4-H’ers to provide a little education, which is something they aim to do throughout the year.
"Some asked for practice, and some have come in and practiced," Wynn said. "Allison is always ready and willing to work with them and educate them, which is what 4-H is all about."
McKinney seemed to doubt the need for too much practice. His solution was far more simple.
"Get someone who knows how to milk a goat to start with because I wasn’t good at it," he said with a laugh. "John Toppe was for sure our best goat milker."
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Jackson County Fair schedule
8 a.m.: All non-auction 4-H livestock animals need to be removed from the fairgrounds
9:30 a.m.: 4-H livestock auction (sale order will be beef, dairy beef, sheep, boer goats and swine), Show Arena 1
9:30 a.m.: Entry for baby and little farmer contests (entry fee $5; no live animals; children 4 years old may compete in the little farmer contest and must be dressed as farmers), pavilion
10 a.m.: Release date for sow largest litter and largest male swine exhibits
1 to 5 p.m.: Poor Jack Amusements Kiddie Day (unlimited rides with $14 bracelet)
6 p.m.: Larry Wayt and Soldiers’ Joy String Band, antique building stage
6 p.m. to close: Poor Jack Amusements (unlimited rides with $22 bracelet)
7 p.m.: Country Kickers, pavilion
7 p.m.: Bridge building demonstration, antique building annex
7 p.m.: Seventh annual Jackson County Grand Champion Fair Paul Crockett Memorial Super Late Models, Superstocks, Modifieds, Pure Stocks and Hornets (admission is $20 for grandstand, $35 for a pit pass, $2 for ages 6 to 12 and free for under 6), grandstand