Goat festival booster honored by industry
Pat Taylor met her "absolute best friend," her late husband John, in the '70s. They started dating in 1988 and married in 1991.
Both had been raised in farm families that had moved to town and one of their mutual dreams was getting back to farm life. They bought land in northern Marshall County and started out with three goats that were given to them.
At one point their herd numbered 250 Boer-cross goats. Now Pat has cut back to just 11 goats that are special to her. She says she can no longer maintain a bigger herd any more because keeping goats is at least a two-person operation: goats do need to be handled for worming, shots and foot trimming, and a mature Boer-cross buck can weigh up to 300 pounds.
Since John died last January, the job is more than she can handle alone.
Pat says she will never be without goats, though. She praises their loving nature and says they make great pets and are easily housebroken. Some of her hand-raised kids came to work with her so she could feed them their bottles every three to four hours.
"Work" is the StarTec Satellite office at 3457 Nashville Highway, between Farmington and Chapel Hill. Is she going to wind up the business because of John's death? "No," Pat replies. "As long as I can stay here and keep it open I will because it was John's. He started it and I don't want to see it close."
John had been in the TV first with cable and then starting his own satellite business in 1985. Since she started helping in 1990, Pat has seen satellite TV go from the big dishes to the little dishes and now to the high-speed Internet dishes as well. Star Tec is an independent provider that sells DirecTV products and both HughesNet and WildBlue high-speed Internet. Pat's goal is to be able to provide service to her satellite customers within 24-48 hours of their call, so StarTec does not install outside a 65-mile radius of the store.
The Taylors were invited to the first meeting that was called to discuss what would become the Goats, Music and More Festival. John was dedicated to the festival and would take a whole week off the put it together, including doing the announcing for the goat shows.
"One of his goals once he found out he was sick (with lung cancer) was to be in good enough shape to do the festival one more time," recalls Pat.
After the October 2006 festival John went downhill rapidly and died Jan. 25, 2007.
At a recent City Council meeting, City Manager Eddie Fuller brought the December 2007 issue of Goat Rancher magazine to the attention of attendees. At the bottom of the cover is the headline "John D. Taylor remembered in Tennessee" and John's picture.
Goat Rancher is an important trade paper for the goat industry, printing 10,500 copies each month.
The article about John is by out-of-state exhibitors who were welcomed by him on their first trip to the festival four years ago. They thought he was being exceptionally nice to them, but it was just John's way.
Says Pat, "He was a friend to everybody, open and kind, and all the exhibitors were crazy about him."
Pat says she is looking forward to the first meeting of the festival committee this month, when they will start planning the 2008 festival. The Goats Music and More Festival is becoming known as one of the best shows in the Southeast and goat exhibitors are starting to keep its second-weekend-in-October date as a fixture on their calendar.
Pat says that the judging is "all on the up and up, and we're real proud of that."
John Taylor wouldn't have it any other way.