Niles graduate wins national goat title
Published 6:00 pm Sunday, July 21, 2013
Nine years after winning Cass County Fair Showmanship Sweepstakes on her fourth try, Nicole Osban has become a mother, a dental hygienist and owner of the junior Nubian national champion.
That’s right, Osban, 28, still shows goats.
She’s made a business of it, Quarter Mile Nubians, though she jokes she became a dental hygienist to afford her “hobby,” which took her to St. Paul, Minn., for the July 6-13 American Dairy Goat Association (ADGA) national show where Bliss won a pendant that would be eaten if worn.
Osban, a 2003 Niles High School graduate, is nothing if not persistent.
After qualifying for Showmanship Sweepstakes in 2000, 2001 and 2002, when she finished second to Alan Peterson, at 19 she won it all as goat representative for the 153rd Cassopolis fair in 2004.
She has been pursuing the “ultimate goal” of a national title ever since.
When she started at the fair, Nicole showed dairy, dairy feeder steers, beef, pigs, sheep, poultry and rabbits.
She clipped enough ribbons to her belt her last year that it looked like a skirt.
“We show them all over, Indiana, Ohio,” she said Friday at her Howard Township home. “In the summer, we’re always on the road. We try to go to nationals every year, but the locations change. Last year, it was in Loveland, Colo. I was afraid we’d get burned up” in wildfires.
“Taking a herd of 30 goats out there didn’t seem like a good idea. We took 46 up to Minnesota (in a 30-foot, double-deck trailer) because of all the different breeds and classes.”
Her oldest goat is 13.
Bliss, short for Quarter Mile Blizzard’s Bliss, was born in April “on the farm here with all my own breeding,” Osban said. “Every year, you try to breed a perfect goat. I’ve sold and shipped them far as California. I have Fridays off, so we usually leave for shows.”
“One time, I went down to Louisville with her for the nationals,” said her grandmother, Shirley Chappell. “We stopped somewhere in Indiana for breakfast and here comes Gov. Mitch Daniels on his motorcycle.”
“I was half asleep,” Osban said, “but we gave him goat milk soap.”
The two-term governor, now Purdue University president, sent a picture.
Osban has made goat milk soap, “but there aren’t enough hours in the day with my son, working, four steers, five pigs, she shows at the fair and I judge now.”
“She” is farmhand Hali Jones, 18, a 2013 Niles High School graduate and Blane’s aunt. Hali is following in Nicole’s footsteps as top goat showman her third year.
Hali’s knee is scarred from the 2012 Showmanship Sweepstakes when she fell and a draft horse dragged her as a severe storm approached, ripping her jeans.
“I thought I was done with that place for a while, but by the time she’s done, Blane will be old enough to show,” Osban said.
Blane said she loves pigs and pirates.
Osban, who graduated from IUSB as a dental hygienist, embraced the “needy” long-eared Nubian breed because she thought they were “cute.”
“I liked how they looked, then I won one in a contest. My first goat lived in the doghouse, where she had her first set of babies and ate dog food. That’s how far I’ve come.
“Everybody said, ‘When she goes to college she’ll get rid of them. Then, ‘When she has that baby, she’ll get rid of them.’ Now, they pretty much pay for themselves, even though they’re more spoiled than the two-legged kids. Her mom was a yearling and she was a triplet, which I never had before. I almost didn’t keep her. Since she’s so young, she’ll be a big, dry yearling next year” tipping the scales at 175 pounds.
“If the barn was air-conditioned” instead of reliant on “big, ol’ fans, it would save me a lot of stress. When it’s hot like this, I worry.”
She’ll be at the Cass County Fair, followed by judging at a few other fairs, then “we’re going to Greenville and Lima, Ohio, then Allegan County Fair.”