DADE CITY — The Reedy family didn't know what to expect when they got into the goat business three years ago.
But with a can-do attitude and a willingness to fly by the seat of their pants, they've found success. The family hopes the trend will continue when they host their first goat show on Jan. 17.
"I just decided to build a show barn and see what happened," said Harold Reedy, 70, the patriarch of the family farm, Twin Hills Ranch.
Goats from around the state and Georgia will shuffle into the Reedys' new Dade City barn. They'll be judged on their muscle tone and stature, among other qualities.
The event will showcase Boer goats, a large breed from South Africa, and other breeds crossed with Boers. A judge sanctioned by the United States Boer Goat Association will oversee the show.
The Reedys have entered their animals in shows around the state — with positive results — but they've been unable to find any events in the county.
"There's nothing like this that we know of in Pasco," said Derrick Reedy, 43.
The closest goat show they found was in Brooksville, put on by their friends and fellow Boer breeders at the Soaring Spirit Ranch.
The Reedys want to emulate the family vibe that brought more than 250 spectators to the Soaring Spirit's most recent show, last year.
"Everyone who came said it felt like a picnic," said Tammy Lodato, owner of Soaring Spirit.
The Reedys entered the goat world in 2006 with hopes that the animals would keep their land trimmed and their property taxes low.
They stumbled onto a booming industry. Demand for goat meat in the United States has increased in recent years, mostly because of the country's growing ethnic populations.
The United States could not import enough goat meat from its top suppliers — Australia and New Zealand — to keep up with the demand, driven mostly by Caribbean, Muslim, Hispanic and Chinese consumers, according to a 2005 U.S. Department of Agriculture report.
The Reedys saw other goat breeders pocket cash for high-quality animals and their sperm.
"In Texas, a guy bought straws of sperm for $1,000 per straw," said Terri Reedy, 43, Derrick's wife and chairwoman of the family's upcoming show.
The Reedys jumped into the business and are working to develop their own high-quality bloodline that they hope will sell for big bucks.
In October, they sold about 20 animals to customers from the Cayman Islands. The Reedys wouldn't disclose how much money they made, but they said the customers would return.
"They're very happy with the animals they bought," said Harold Reedy.
If all goes well this month, the family hopes to make the goat shows a quarterly event.
Helen Anne Travis can be reached at [email protected] or (813) 435-7312.