Sue Weaver, an author from Wirth, Arkansas is a finalist in a national competition. The contest is sponsored by Casey's General Store, a chain of convenience stores. Its goal is to find someone with an unusual talent or story.
Weaver thinks the thing that makes her unusual is her love of goats, which is where she got her nickname, "The Crazy Goat Lady." Weaver has written for Horses Illustrated and Hobby Farms magazines and currently writes books based on research and her experiences with livestock.
She has 29 goats and sheep on her small farm. "I always had at least one goat that I kept with my horses. I started raising goats 10 years ago, and most them I have rescued," said Weaver. Some of them have been dropped off at veterinarians' offices or at farms where goats are being raised.
Weaver is currently in second place out of the three finalists. She entered the contest to receive a coupon for two free pizzas. "My husband and I are vegetarians and Casey's makes a really good vegetarian pizza. We eat there once a week, so I had signed up for coupons," said Weaver. During her monthly coupon download, she saw the advertisement for the contest.
They wanted contestants to submit a story about what makes them unusual. "I thought about what makes me unusual and people call me 'The Crazy Goat Lady,' so I wrote a little thing based on that. At that time, I was raising three kids (goats) in the home, one of which is now house trained. I told them that I write to support my goats and about my house trained goat," Weaver said.
Weaver was stunned to learn that she was one of three national finalists. She didn't believe it was real and told her husband, John, she thought someone was pulling her leg. Weaver has enjoyed the experience though. A crew from a large ad agency came out to build a video trailer that is now on Facebook to promote votes for her. The grand prize is $5,000. Voting ends Sept. 25.
Aside from the contest, Weaver has never been recognized for her writing. She writes her books based on research and her own experience of farming. "The animals are why I write, the money I raise from the books, I use to take care of the animals. They are my writing babies," said Weaver.
Weaver began writing for the same reason anyone has a job or a career, for money. In 1968, Weaver's main animal interest was horses. As she read articles and stories about them, she thought to herself, "People get paid to write these stories. I can write a story like this."
Her writing began with a trip to the library where she checked out books about writing and read them all. "I sat down and wrote a story and sold the first one! That was dumb luck. It gave me inspiration and encouragement. I have mostly written for magazines, and started the books in 2005. I started with Bow-Tie Press, but I am now with Storey." Her books can be found in TSC and book stores. Hirsch's carries a few of them as well.
She began writing for Horses Illustrated magazine. and, when the editor moved to Hobby Farms magazine, she asked Weaver to write for her. Hobby Farms magazine is where her interest in other animals began. "I love to do research, and that is my favorite part of writing. That is why I wanted to have the personal experience as well," said Weaver.
Weaver and her husband, John, grew up in northern Indiana, lived in Minnesota for 23 years and have lived on their farm in Wirth for ten years. They've always wanted to be a part of the country life.
"John decided he was tired of pushing snow, and so we moved here 10 years ago. It is such a nice area. It would have been nice to have grown up around here because of the sense of family," said Weaver.
Visit Casey's General Store on Facebook to get your last minute votes in for Sue Weaver!