Oregon Legislators Set to Apply Firm Yet Gentle Hands to Goats

Republicans and Democrats in the Oregon legislature are set to square off to see who has the strongest—yet most loving—hands when it comes to goats.

According to the Salem Statesman-Journal, the annual Oregeon Legislative Goat Milking Showdown at the Oregon State Fair—apparently the highlight of the legislative year in Oregon—will pit incumbent champion Sen. Bill Hansell (R-Athena) against fellow senators Peter Courtney (D-Salem) and Arnie Roblan (D-Coos Bay) and state representatives Vicki Berger (R-Salem), Betty Komp (D-Woodburn), Denyc Boles (R-Salem) and Val Hoyle (D-Eugene).

Whichever politician can most pull the most milk from their chosen goat's swollen, milk-heavy teats in the allotted time on Tuesday evening is crowned "Master Goat Tugger" and will control the state's legislative agenda for the next year will win a blue ribbon.

"It's all in the technique," Hansell told the Statesman-Journal. "You got to get the hand motion and the timing."

Hansell, who sits on the Oregon State Senate's Ways and Means and Conduct committees, won the crown in 2013 by coaxing almost 16 ounces out of a goat named "Skittles," the Statesman-Journal reports.

But Hansell's competition has been working on their hand motion and timing as well—not too fast and not too slow, but more of a gently relentless process of control and release that requires a strong yet sensitive touch—for the past year.

In fact at least one competitor—Val Hoyle—has rented a goat and has been practicing, according to fellow Democrat Peter Courtney, the Oregon Senate President and 2000 goat milking champion.

Another has been honing their technique by watching online videos, Courtney says.

"Hansell has got an attitude," Courtney told the Statesman-Journal. "He's already told all of eastern Oregon it's a done deal."

Image via Salem Statesman-Journal