Marble Creek Acres

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Three differing perspectives on the best Kiko sale of the year

Driving from Maine to Southern Indiana just to look at Kiko goats
By Kathy, Amelia, and Josh Crise

By Kathy, Amelia, and Josh Crise

Featured in the September issue of Goat Rancher (page 28 & 36).

Featured in the September issue of Goat Rancher (page 28 & 36).

Look up “professional road-trippers” in any dictionary or online platform and you will find a picture of the Crise Crew! Our kids have been on the road since, well, since before they were born! We could write for days on the driving trips we have taken which include cross-country hauls, Maine to Florida in 24 hours, Alaska, snowstorms, tornadoes, and many more miles of adventures! One of our favorite road-trips now is heading to Corydon, Indiana to the Cream of the Crop Sale!

Kathy’s Perspective:

October 2017 ~ Finally, a road trip out of the state! We hadn’t been on an autumn drive in a number of years because of busy fall schedules. Josh and Amelia had been talking about going to a goat conference and auction and I hadn’t really paid attention because, well, truthfully, I was still disgruntled about goating. Then they landed on a sale that was in southern Indiana and over a 3-day weekend, Cream of the Crop sale! Our first goat-road-trip as a family, how bad could it be for this disgruntled mom?

Squished into my Toyota Corolla, the 4 of us rolled out early Wednesday morning, with our bags and snacks packed and GPS at the ready! Occasionally there was talk of goats along the way but I pretty much stopped listening when the ruminating began! I was just excited to visit our friends in southern Indiana that we hadn’t seen in 7 years.

The visit with our friends was too short and we traveled to Corydon for Friday and Saturday’s events. I fell completely in love with the fairgrounds and the surrounding area! Different than any rural Maine town but it still had that Americana vibe that I so love and appreciate! While Josh and Amelia were soaking up all the goat-conversation and lessons to be learned, Kevin and I were off enjoying walks around the track, checking out what was swimming in the stream and basically avoiding goats all together. And then Kevin decided he was interested in the goats and I lost my partner in avoidance.

I slowly made my way to the sale barn. 100+ Kiko goats all gathered together in one place. I didn’t understand the purpose of this sale. Once I understood these ladies were going home to become new herd members instead of in the freezer, I was able to enjoy their beauty and individuality. I still didn’t attend any of the education sessions but I knew that Josh and Amelia were soaking it all up!

We attended the auction and watched in awe as goat after goat drew bid after bid until the gavel sounded “Sold”. Although we considered leaving Kevin behind so that we could take a goat home from the auction we didn’t bid on anything and Kevin made it home! And at that point I had to admit, the road trip turned into a learning event for all of us! Over the next months, I began to admit that goats were becoming a regular part of our life and that I was going to be involved whether I liked it or not.

The 2018 and 2019 Cream of the Crop Sales were much different for me, even helping Josh and Amelia scout each animal to decide which ones we would be bidding on. But in the beginning, it was all about the road trip!

Josh’s Perspective:

As my wife pointed out, in the beginning, it was largely about a road trip. As our fourth go at the Cream of the Crop Kiko Sale approaches, it is evident that this trip has become so much more. This year has been different for just about everyone, whether you have been sick, lost loved ones, lost your job, or put on furlough, don’t buy into the hype, or have had COVID just be disruptive, it has definitely caused havoc in a number of ways. For me, as October approaches, I am hoping that it will not affect attending my favorite Kiko goat auction of the year, Cream of the Crop Kiko Sale put on by Linda Sparks and Terry Hankins. Some might say, favorite? Aren’t all auctions made the same? No, they definitely are not. It’s more just the sale for me; this is an opportunity to reconnect with producers, meet new producers, attend the Corn County Meat Goat Conference and check out and bid on approximately 100 of the top Kikos from around the region.

Attending the auction is also a chance to spend a long weekend with my family as we trek from Maine to Indiana and back to Maine again, over a four day period. I also have the opportunity to visit with my friend from back in my days in the Navy who lives in Indiana. And go see my cousin and his family in Ohio. We haven’t been able to convince either of them to take the plunge into goating quite yet but each year is a new opportunity to work on getting them up and running.

Back to the sale barn and goats. Whether you are looking for white Kiko goats which some say put weight on like college freshmen, or you are looking for color, new genetics to infuse into your herd, increased parasite resistance, minimal hoof trimming, excellent maternal instincts, ease of birthing, or looking to increase weight gain, there is something at the Cream of the Crop sale for everyone. Of course, often we go saying I don’t need any more goats. I have all that I need. But there is this factor of want, that really ends up making you fill the back of the truck to make the most out of the trip. I am even working to reduce my herd total now so that I have a bit of a buffer when I bring back a few unanticipated, spontaneous purchases.

Amelia’s Perspective:

As my dad noted, Covid-19 has surely turned the first half of the year upside down. I was finishing my last semester at the University of Maine when the call was made that all studies would be completed at home for the remainder of the semester. While many of my classmates went a little crazy at home, it gave me a chance to be more involved (than I already was) on the farm at home, with the goats, and a number of other projects. Our goats ended up being a great brain relaxer after completing hours of coursework in front of the computer.

One of my favorite parts of goat ranching is going to auctions and bringing home new does from all around the country to help broaden the genetics up in our neck of the woods. While I love bringing home new goats, traveling is my favorite thing to do. As noted above, we are professional road trippers. When we need something fun to do, we plan a road trip. In May, one of our favorite auctions was canceled due to the virus. That meant we couldn’t go on a road trip, a much-needed break from work and school.

For months I have been going a little stir crazy at home. As states and borders have been reopening and closing again over the last couple of months, this question has been in the back of my mind, “Will we get to go on a road trip to the Cream of the Crop Kiko Sale this year in October?” We just got word, early August, that as of right now the sale will still be happening...can you say road trip!! To say I am looking forward to the sale and the 19-hour drive is an understatement. Most people balk when they hear we drive that far just to get goats. What can I say, we love it! We love the drive, the people, connecting with other ranchers, the barn smell...bringing new Kiko goats home!

We are still a couple of months away, but we are crossing our fingers that nothing changes and we can return to one of our favorite goat auctions! The Crise Crew needs another road trip under our belts ASAP!

End Perspectives:

It was initially just about a long weekend trip, something fun to do, where we could visit our friends and family and enjoy learning about goats along the way. Our goating adventure has become so much more. Each one of us looks forward to this auction every year now, perhaps each for a different reason. Josh enjoys being able to open our genetic bottleneck up in Maine by making purchases at the sale. Amelia enjoys scrutinizing each goat and color-coding in her catalog to help aid us in deciding which goats to purchase during the sale. Kathy enjoys chatting up everyone at the sale, talking about everything under the sun. There is truly something there for everyone. While the road trip is still just as important to us, the experience of the goat sale itself has played a pivotal role in shaping our business and operation. The people at this auction are one of a kind, remarkable, knowledgeable, and kind. We thank you for imparting your knowledge and know-how to us. Here’s to hoping we meet new ranchers, reconnect with old (I use that figuratively, not literally) faces, and learn more about the amazing Kiko breed in 2020!

(Josh and Kathy Crise, and their grown children, Amelia and Kevin, operate Marble
Creek Acres in Lee, Maine. For interest in a future year’s Kiko waitlist, questions or if you
have topics you might like to read about in a future Goat Rancher, we can be reached at
207-619-3758, email [email protected] or