MANSFIELD — Mandee Lantz may have had the top dairy goat, but her sister Maggie was right on her tail. 

Mandee and Maggie Lantz of the Country Champions 4H Club showed this year’s grand champion and reserve grand champion dairy goats at the Richland County Fair. 

The Crestview teens have been raising goats for about seven years.

“They’re like dogs. You just have to warm up to them and they’re a little pet,” said Maggie, 16.

“They’ll just follow you, especially dairy (goats). They really get attached to you and that’s why it’s kind of hard and when they gotta go.”

The Lantz sisters say sibling rivalry definitely comes into play during fair season.

“I’m surprised we didn’t get into a big fight this year,” said Mandee, 14.

Maggie agreed. 

“It was really cool this year,” she said. “We were really supportive of each other — unlike normal.”

Nicole and Allyson Cook of Great Expectations 4H Club went head-to-head for the top prize in the dairy feeder calves. Nicole ultimately took grand champion, while Allyson took reserve.

Nevertheless, 17-year-old Allyson said she doesn’t feel a sense of rivalry with her older sister.

“It’s always nice to beat your sister, but whatever happens, happens,” she said. 

“She beat me this year. I walked over, I gave her a hug. I said ‘Good job.’ We’re just sisters at the end of the day.”

While showing alongside a sibling can bring out a competitive spirit, that spirit might just help push exhibitors towards their full potential.

Allyson showed both the grand champion and reserve grand champion market dairy steer. Nicole showed the reserve grand champion beef steer.

Both of the Cooks said they plan to put their earnings toward college. Allyson said she hopes to go to college to study genetics and become a cattle breeder.

Nicole, 19, is studying agriculture business at the Ohio State University. 

“Work hard in the barn and it’ll pay off in the end, it always does,” she advised younger exhibitors.

Hayden Williams, also 19 and in the Great Expectations 4H club, showed alongside her sister Hadley.

Hayden showed the grand champion beef feeder calf. Hadley had the 6th and 7th place beef feeder calves.

While the pair said they’re prone to sibling rivalry as well, they’re also quick to admire each other’s drive.

“A lot of people think that we just start working them just a few weeks before county fair. It’s quite a few months before for the calves,” Hayden said. 

“There’s been days where (Hadley) has been out there for eight hours a day working her steer.”

Hayden is going to the Ohio State Agricultural Technical Institute this fall to study agricultural communications and business.

Her advice to younger exhibitors is to do your best and never cut corners.

“Even if you’re tired one night or you want to skip a feeding or you want to skip rinsing, don’t do it,” she said. “The more you try to cheat your daily routine, it’s definitely going to hurt you in the end.”

Hadley, 14, has a few more years of showing ahead.

“It’s definitely a big responsibility, but it is always worth it in the end,” she said.  “I wouldn’t trade it for the world.” 

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