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LISTEN: Inside The Barns At The State Fair Of Texas

Matt Slocum
Justin Strainer, 12, of New Braunfels, Texas, practices showing his sheep Buddy, at the State Fair of Texas, Tuesday, Sept. 30, 2008, in Dallas.

Every year, people flock to the State Fair of Texas to try the latest fried creation, catch the Red River showdown, or take a ride on the skyway, but a big swath of the fair is also dedicated to livestock. People from across the state and beyond gather to compete in shows for sheep, goats, cows and more.

This year, the State Fair introduced a new Birthing Barn exhibitto give people a look at the incubation process for different farm animals. 

KERA spoke to a couple of exhibitors gearing up to show off their prized animals.

Joe Castillo of Denver City

"It's been a long night ... We drove six hours, and we spent the night in the truck. I have a niece here, and I'm helping her out. We've been getting ready for about a week now ... Clipping their hair and their hooves. Making sure their skin and hair is soft. We put lotions on their coat ... It's hard to leave them here once we're done." 

Michael Lee of Flower Mound

"[The goats] have to be clean and trimmed. They look for color markings. They like the horns burned off of the females. Mostly, they look for definition of the body: the build, the barrel, the breasts ... They don't steal from you, cheat or lie. The more you learn about goats, the more you like them." 

Alisha Smith of Royse City

"We have 24 goats at home. We raise, breed and show them mainly. I have two girls. They're 10 and 7, so we do it all together. I think most people don't know anything about this. I think they come to the fair for the food and the rides." 

Lauren Bolcik of Waller

"Passing down the highway, we'd always see detering Brahmans. When I finally turned 8, I begged my parents to get me a Brahman. I've clicked with them ever since ... People always ask what's the hump, the extra skin and the big ears for. The hump is just fat and muscle. You can actually eat it. It's very tender and very expensive." 

Makenzie Ince of Sweetwater

"We work [the lambs] around a treadmill. We set up a cage around it, and they set their front feet on top to walk backwards and build muscle ... My mom and dad used to show, so I get a lot of tricks from them."  

Miguel Perez is an assistant producer at KERA. He produces local content for Morning Edition and KERA News. He also produces The Friday Conversation, a weekly interview series with North Texas newsmakers.