Keeping Score

Baa-d Kids: Two Goats and a Hog Fail Junior Livestock Competition Drug Test

  • Share
  • Read Later
Getty Images

These goats haven't yet been tested for performance enhancing drugs. But after this report, who knows?

Get those juiced goats off the field, please.

As first reported by the Pueblo (Colo.) Chieftain, three animals — two goats and a hog — tested positive for a banned substance at a junior livestock show at the Colorado State Fair in late August. That’s right: kids from 4-H and Future Farmers of America, ranging in ages from 11-18, gave the animals the illegal substance.

While Chris Wiseman, general manager of the Colorado State Fair, couldn’t recall the names of the substances for which the animals tested positive in a conversation with NewsFeed (he was on the road, at an agriculture conference in Wyoming) he characterized the substances as those “that would improve the performance of the animal.” In other words, they made the animals meatier. Turns out that goats, and goateed baseball players, use performance-enhancing drugs for the same purposes.

(LIST: Top 10 Evil Animals)

One of the disqualified goats won first prize in its category, and sold for $5,500. The other goat sold for $1,300. The two young people who raised these animals have the same last name, and Wiseman confirmed that they are a brother-sister tandem.  The hog had all sorts of problems. It won second place in the competition, but was later disqualified because officials discovered that the person who presented the hog — the “exhibitor” — did not raise it. Still, the swine could have been sold later on, but the positive drug test disqualified it from the sale process. Last year, Wiseman said, the second place hog sold for about $16,000. This year’s first-place hog sold for $20,000.

The sibling goat presenters saw no money from their sales. Checks aren’t written until the animals pass the drug test (officials take a tissue sample, before the animals are slaughtered). The meat was destroyed, and the buyers have a right to a refund. Alternatively, they can donate the funds to a state fair foundation, or place it in an account to be used at next year’s junior sale.

Wiseman said that in his 16 years working at the Colorado State Fair, he’s seen only one other positive test in the junior ranks. The controversy proves that in any competition, whether it be the Olympics, major league baseball, or a state fair livestock show for 4-H kids, when there’s money at stake, people will cheat. Though the busted youngsters may offer an explanation familiar to professional athletes.

“It was an accident.”

LIST: Top 10 Miniature Animals

Sean Gregory is a staff writer at TIME. Find him on Twitter at @seanmgregory. You can also continue the discussion on TIME’s Facebook page and on Twitter at @TIME.