KINGFISHER — Carson Lough is an early riser. And that's a good thing, considering he has five hungry mouths to feed every morning.
Carson, 17, is active in Hennessey High School's agriculture program and raises goats. He and his brother, Garrett, 11, will show the fruits of their labor during the Kingfisher Junior Livestock Show this weekend.
The family doesn't live on a farm, so Carson gets up every morning before school and drives to the property where the goats are kept. His father, Luke Lough, checks on them at noon, and Garrett handles the evening meals.
On weekend mornings, Dad lets his sons sleep in, and he checks on the animals himself.
Agriculture is a strong part of Hennessey High School's culture. Luke Lough was active in agriculture when he was growing up.
“There aren't as many farms as there once was, and kids today have a lot of choices as far as sports and other things that they didn't have when I was their age,” he said.
The goats are a family effort.
The boys' mother, Kathy Lough, helps take care of them and is their biggest cheerleader at shows.
“There is a real value that comes from taking care of the animals,” Kathy Lough said. “You want your kids to be responsible. There is also the recognition and the sense of accomplishment they get from doing well.”
It's also fairly competitive. While there aren't traditional rivalries between schools as in sports, there are agriculture programs that stand out for the quality of their stock. When the boys get in the show barn they are there to win.
“As far as competing, it's a lot like basketball,” Carson said. “You're competing against other people. There aren't a lot of rivalries, but there are certain people that you know will have good goats and bring their A game.”
The goats are judged much like a horse would be at a horse show or a dog at Westminster. Appearance is critical.
The Loughs show Boer goats, which are native to Africa but common in the United States today.
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IF YOU GO
82nd annual Kingfisher Junior Livestock Show
• When: Saturday through Monday.
• Where: MAC Center at Kingfisher County Fairgrounds, 300 S 13th in Kingfisher.