Goats for more than roping

“Where’s the goat ropin’ today?”

That’s not an uncommon question among cowboys, but these days it’s often in jest, downplaying the roping sport. However, there are still goat roping events in some locales, and that really wasn’t too uncommon a half century ago.

Several of those who team roped every other Thursday night said they practiced at home roping goats, and others we know claimed to have regular such competitions, but we were never at one.

As a 12-year-old, we bought a billy goat for 50 cents to practice roping. Initially roping him from the ground, Billy soon learned to head right for the corner whenever he saw us heading his way. That same trick worked when we tried to rope him from our mare Spot. But, our rope continued to stink forever, for those who know what billy goats smell like.

When we started dating our future bride, we persuaded her to compete in goat tying at rodeos, and paid $2.50 for another billy goat for practice. Her success was quite admirable, despite the special “billy-aroma” that was always around. Later, we got better-smelling goats for the kids to practice tying for junior competitions.

Despite often making fun of them, goats really are great animals. Besides scratching cars when they crawl on them and eating all of the flowers, goats are for milk and meat, and sometimes their hair and hide can be used. They’re supposed to be good for clearing brush and weeds, although goats always prefer our grass.

Nowadays, goat production is often a profitable business, and some people become offended when we talk about roping or tying goats.  Both milking and meat goats make excellent learning opportunities for youth, without major investment, and there are high entry numbers at many fairs.

Our grandson has his own goat herd, managing all aspects of the enterprise, highlighted by exhibiting the goats he raises.

Reminds us that goats have always been important, being mentioned more than 125 times in the Bible, most often as a sin or peace offering, as in Numbers 15:27: “If any soul sin through ignorance, then he shall bring a goat for a sin offering.”

However, we especially appreciate recognition of goats’ usefulness in Proverbs 27:27: “There will be enough goats’ milk and meat for maintenance of your household.”