PAULDING — “On your mark, get set, goat!”

With these words, teams of three — two people and one goat — took their turns at the Paulding County Fair’s goat obstacle course. The two human participants ran their (often loudly protesting) goats around the fair’s show arena, clearing various obstacles in the hopes of being judged the fastest in the contest.

Several different teams took their chances around the course, with the dry, warm indoor arena an added benefit against the cold winds and rain.

Junior fair board adviser Tony Miller was uncertain as to just how long the contest has been at the fair, but he knew it has been going on for a number of years now.

“I think it started about four, five years ago,” he said. “I think one of the parents came up with the idea.”

The unanswered question, of course, was just how cooperative the average goat would be in running the course. Some proved fairly cooperative, while others put up their fair share of resistance.

This year’s course, as usual, proved to be almost as challenging for the human participants as the goats. The three had to run a slalom course through a row of chairs, followed by a run through a wading pool and over several large square objects similar in dimension to a medium-sized bale of hay.

The goats, led on leashes, paused while their human leaders each ate two crackers and whistled, after which they sat on two chairs sitting back to back in the middle of the arena. They guided the goat through a figure-eight formation around the chairs before returning to their starting point to finish the race.

“They set (the course) up a little bit different each year,” Miller said.

Five seconds were added to the time of each team should members be unable or unwilling to successfully complete one of the tasks. While most of the teams finished with about 1:30 each, the winners were Kyle Harris and Kyle Mobley of Paulding, who came in at 50 seconds.

A separate sheep division was also held, with Anna and Libby Meraz of Wayne Trace taking top honors... and yes, the announcer called “On your mark, get set, sheep” to start them out.

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