SD goat breeders hold first Rushmore State Royal

The first Rushmore State Royal was held on Sept. 19, hosted by South Dakota goat breeders.

Terry Burks, the judge of the Rushmore State Royal, congratulates a winner on Sept. 19, 2020. (Emily Beal / Agweek)

BROOKINGS, S.D. — Twelve South Dakota goat breeders came together to put on the first Rushmore State Royal goat show, which took place in Brookings, S.D., on Sept. 19.

While many livestock shows have decided to cancel due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the breeders behind the Rushmore State Royal decided to push forward, with one group of people in mind: the kids.

“It wasn't easy to continue planning. A lot of time and effort went into continuing to put this show on. But, it's unfair to these kids that are involved in 4-H or the livestock industry who work harder than kids that aren't, in my opinion. We wanted to put something on for these kids who have spent so much time in the barn, and make sure they get their time in the ring even during this pandemic,” said Jacob Ebbers, owner of Ebbers Twisted E Show Goats.

Ebbers, along with 11 fellow South Dakota goat breeders, sought to put on an event for the whole family and a way to give back to the families that had supported their businesses.

“To be eligible to show, the exhibitor had to purchase a goat from one of the 12 breeders that were a part of the show. While we invited all the South Dakota goat breeders to be a part of the Rushmore State Royal, only 12 decided to become a part of it. We hope down the road that maybe more breeders will want to join, and we can keep getting bigger and bigger,” Ebbers said.


The Grand Champion Breeding doe crew gets their backdrop picture taken. (Emily Beal / Agweek)

One thing that was evident about the Rushmore State Royal was the focus on youth exhibitors. The show had an impressive payout, a total of $25,000, much more than other shows in the region.

“No matter where the kids placed, they were walking out of the ring with money in their pocket,” Ebbers said.

There were other aspects of the show that made it stand out . Each exhibitor’s name was announced while walking into the arena. All exhibitors were given a T-shirt. The national anthem was sung, and a prayer was said before the start of the show. And they even had confetti cannons that exhibitors set off when the grand and reserve champions were announced.

While the exhibitors were only allowed to show stock they had bought from the 12

The exhibitors were all introduced as they walked into the arena prior to the show. (Emily Beal / Agweek)

breeders, the show was still large in size. More than 100 registered exhibitors came from nine different states to show. Many made the trek to get the chance to show in spite of COVID.

“What non-ag people don't understand is that these kids spend hours preparing for this. This is their Super Bowl, their big event. This isn't just a thing that happens. The youth just don't go to the barn and put a halter on and go to the show. This show is an opportunity to show all the work they have done and put forward. The reality is an event like this shows that agriculture communities can come together and do an event and maintain safety,” said Terry Burks, judge of the Rushmore State Royal.


Judge Terry Burks explaining his placings. (Emily Beal / Agweek)

Burks, who resides in Bowling Green, Ky., previously worked for the Kentucky Department of Agriculture. Now in his retirement, he travels the country judging livestock. This was his first time judging in the region.

While this was the Rushmore State Royal’s first year, the breeders involved look forward to the growth of the show in the upcoming years.

A young girl braces her animal in the show ring. (Emily Beal / Agweek)

“The fact that we can come together with 12 different breeders, 12 different personalities and put something together that benefits everybody is really cool. We are all excited to see the show grow in the years to come,” Ebbers said.

Emily grew up on a small grains and goat farm in southern Ohio. After graduating from The Ohio State University, she moved to Fargo, North Dakota to pursue a career in ag journalism with Agweek. She enjoys reporting on livestock and local agricultural businesses.
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