People travel from across the country to buy Boer goats raised by Evans Livestock on land between the tiny community of Lake Victor and Burnet — land the family has owned for more than a century. Boer goats are expensive and in high demand because they grow fast and produce good meat. At Evans Livestock, four generations of the Evans family prize their herd of about 700 goats for the animals’ ability to place at livestock shows.
“We have 30-50 herd that go national,” said Brandon Evans, one of 12 members of the Evans family, all of whom work for Evans Livestock, including the kids and the family dogs.
Brandon acts as company spokesman when he’s not working at his job as executive director of campus support in the Leander Independent School District.
“My grandfather and dad take care of the day-to-day operation,” Evans said. “Everything running in the pasture gets feed every afternoon. You don’t have to look to find something to do around here.”
Evans family members meet with perspective buyers to match goats with them based on age and experience. Older, stronger, and more experienced children can handle bigger goats.
“We don’t want to put a huge goat on an 8-year-old,” Evans said. “We base it on their needs and wants.”
The Evans family children also pick goats for their own competitions. Turning those animals into show goats is a full-time job all by itself. For part of the training, they hook up goats to a horse walker refitted for the smaller animals. The goats are leashed to a giant wheel that leads them in a circle for 45 minutes at a time.
After that, each goat is taken to a treadmill that walks them backward for about 15 minutes to build muscles. The kids have to hold the goats in place so they don’t slip off.
The goats also are put through the paces of different poses and stances that judges look for during competitions. Evans compared it to bodybuilding contests in which competitors flex their muscles to earn points. They work hard all season to have their animals in tip-top shape for livestock shows.
“It is competition like in baseball, Nascar, or Formula 1 racing,” Brandon said. “The animals you start with might be as good, but what did you do to get to this point?”
The effort pays off. Three of the children — 14-year-old McKenzie Evans, 12-year-old Hannah Brooks, and 11-year-old Cooper Evans — won their class and division at the North American International Livestock Exposition in Louisville, Kentucky, in November 2020.
“I’ve been doing this since I was 4,” said McKenzie, who received a belt buckle for her win. “It’s seeing them young and watching them grow up and winning with them.”
They won against other competitors also raising Boer goats they purchased from Evans Livestock, despite the fact that they don’t ever keep the best goats for themselves. One lesson the younger generation has to learn is that when their buyers do well in competition, even against them, that’s good for the business.
“We raise livestock and teach and raise the kids and teach them the work ethic,” Brandon Evans said. “It’s hard work, it’s dedication. We’re not a family that expects to get a ribbon. Our hard work at the end of the day pays off.”