GOLIAD – When it came to the two top honors in this year’s turkey show at the Goliad County Fair Livestock Show, it was a family affair.

Matthew Kutz, 16, of the Blue Ribbon 4-H Club, was awarded grand champion. Having shown turkeys for nine years, Matthew believes he knows what it takes to make a winner.

“It’s probably the amount of time you spend with them and making sure the feed is good,” he said.

Matthew also said it comes down to where the birds are kept.

“Make sure they have enough space to grow,” he said.

Matthew’s 9-year-old brother, Josh – also of the Blue Ribbon 4-H Club – showed turkeys this year in Goliad for the first time. A guy of few words, Josh only said that he felt “good” when the judge announced he had won reserve champion.

Their mother, Dana Kurtz, said “It’s a good feeling that the hard work pays off at the end.”

However, this year’s show was bittersweet due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, which led organizers to cancel the rest of the fair and limit the livestock show to exhibitors and family members.

The bleachers, normally bustling with conversations and activity, were quiet and almost empty.

“It’s really weird not having any spectators here,” said Dana, also a fair executive board member.

Matthew said, “It’s very upsetting, very sad to see.

“I’ve been doing this since third grade and I’ve been looking forward to it all year. Then to be taken away from you it’s depressing almost.”

As a parent, Dana believes the fair’s leadership made the right decision and she was thankful that the livestock show went on. But 

Dana also saw a bright side. Unlike other years where only other youngsters are allowed to assist with animals in the show ring, parents were allowed in to help.

“That was a cool thing. Normally, parents are not allowed in the ring,” she said. “For them to be able to help in the show was a once in a lifetime kind of thing.”