We caught up with Nebraska State Fair 4-H Market & Breeding Goat Judge, Dustin Coufal, to ask him a few questions before he steps “INSIDE THE RING”!
What’s been your all time favorite goat you have judged?
I have been fortunate to evaluate some very good livestock over the years, especially goats. It’s hard to name just one that has been my all-time favorite. As the game has gotten tougher, it seems that every year or two the best one I’ve ever seen to that point gets knocked off its perch by one. I will say though, the champion I used at Aksarben was one that hit me really hard when he stepped in the ring. After the first handle, I knew he was going to be hard to get around.
What’s your biggest pet peeve while judging?
Bad sportsmanship. When we enter the ring, we know that one person is going to give their opinion and, on that day, their opinion is final. Poor behavior and body language from kids when they are placed low is my biggest pet peeve. Also, outside the ring antics by parents and others who didn’t like a placing or how their child is showing is not only distracting but disrespectful to everyone involved in the show. People from outside of our industry are spectators and a negative outburst by one individual can tarnish the image our entire industry.
Who’s your biggest influence in evaluating livestock?
There have been many people in my life that have influenced me on what I think makes a good one. I have been blessed with judging team coaches, my high school ag teachers, great friends, and co-workers who have all helped to mold what my view point on what makes one “ideal”. From all these great mentors, no matter what their particular specie of choice is, at the end of the day those same principles of a good one is applicable regardless of the livestock project I am evaluating
Do you prefer to evaluate when goats are in motion or stuck on profile?
Both are important views but when it comes to a close decision, I like to step off on a ¾ view and watch them walk. At that angle I can see what the animal truly is.
Tell us about your family!
I have an incredible wife, Brigit, who is a Vision Specialist and keeps our crazy train on the tracks. We have three awesome kids: Cole (16), Kenna (12) and Ella (9) that are involved in church, 4-H, FFA, music and playing sports. They each have their own interests but the one common thing is that they all like showing livestock. Between all of their activities we don’t have much free time but the most important thing is that we do it all together as a family.
In your mind, how has the industry changed in the show ring over the last 10 years?
The level of competition is insane. Showing livestock has always been competitive but I think with the access to genetics, breeders, camps, and enthusiasts the level of competition has increased dramatically. The days of going to a show and there only being one or two kids that are good showmen and only one or two good livestock are over. To be competitive in any specie at any level, families must be willing to commit their time, effort, and resources to have success.
What’s your occupation?
I am the General Manager at the Extraco Events Center in Waco, TX. I oversee the day to day operations and the annual Heart O’ Texas Fair & Rodeo.