Noah Schiltz doesn’t let his battle against a genetic condition stop him from doing what he loves

Noah Schiltz is your typical farm kid. He mucks out livestock pens, feeds and doctors livestock, and shows his animals in the Barton County Fair. Often Noah has assisted a struggling doe deliver a kid or bottle feed a calf.

The usual mode of transportation around the farm may be a four-wheeler but Noah plows through the mud in an electric wheelchair.

Noah was born with a genetic condition called Centronuclear Myopathy, creating varying degrees of muscle weakness. He was about 3 or 4 years old when he got his first manual wheelchair and an electric one by age 9, just in time for him to start showing in 4-H.

Noah is the youngest of three children born to Jim and Wendy Schiltz (pronounced Schultz).

Noah’s family has been farming and ranching north of Lamar, Mo., for generations.

His family resides on an 80-acre home place, with another 600 or so acres nearby. His father raises primarily Red Angus and Charolais.

For Noah, being in the wheelchair is normal. In his 20 years, he has had 16 surgeries, seven of which were biopsies to obtain a correct diagnosis. His condition was finally diagnosed at Mayo Clinic four years ago.

He credits his parents and his family for who he has become.

“Dad always pushed me to be like everybody else and that’s what we do,” Noah said. “In anything and everything.”

At the age of 10, he showed bottle calves, moving on to pigs and goats by age 13. Training his stock to show is no more difficult than for an ambulatory youth.

“When you brace a goat, you are supposed to kinda lift them off the ground and get them to brace against you,” Noah said. “When I was younger and not strong enough to do that, I would brace them on the footplate of my wheelchair.”

As he grew older, he was able to brace his goats much like everyone else.

He has won showmanship twice at the Barton County and last year won the Round Robin competition, wearing one of his grandpa’s shirts. Their goats have won six times at the county fair.

He breeds wether Boer goats, which are not classified as fullblood and fare better in the meat goat market. However, some can be classified in the fullblood category. He runs about 40 head.

“I’ve got it down to the training part by tying the lead to the back of my wheelchair and if they don’t want to go…,” Noah said. “They’ll find a way to go after I keep going for a while in my wheelchair.”

Noah was homeschooled until his senior year when he attended Lamar High School, where he also took classes at Lamar Career and Technical Center and participated in FFA, graduating in 2018.

He currently attends Crowder College in Neosho, taking general education and ag classes, such as animal science, and feeds and nutrition. He plans to enter a career in agriculture, but will continue in the goat industry.

“My grandpa would say, ‘If you can’t do it right, don’t do it at all,” Noah recalled. “I do my best to do things right.”

Noah understands raising quality animals is an investment but even more so, he understands the meaning of integrity by striving to represent them honestly to his customers. Customers can contact him anytime they have a question.

“We started showing sheep last year just because I started selling more goats,” Noah remarked

He refuses to show goats against his customers.

He said raising goats has taught him responsibility and the appreciation of having animals.

“I hope someday my own children get to experience county fairs,” Noah said. “Winning is fun but it is not about the winning… It should be about being responsible and having fun with their friends.

“I love working with goats and honestly the best part of working with goats is helping the kids, the human kids that is. I don’t even have to show. If I can just go and fit goats and help families that buy my goats, that is enjoyment enough for me.”

His girlfriend of two years, Danielle Null, often helps with the goats but she prefers the babies. She also is studying at Crowder in business management.

Reflecting on the good kid year they have had, and the success of the business is a testament to the level of trust and hope Noah has in God.

“A guy asked me a long time ago if I would ever trade my life for another life,” Noah said. “And I don’t think I really would. I’m perfectly happy and honestly I forget I’m in a wheelchair.”

He never blames God for his disorder but admits that when he was younger, he did struggle at times with the why. But he now embraces who he is.

“I’ve always been taught and believed since I was little that everything happens for a reason,” Noah said. “So, all this goat stuff wouldn’t have happened and the way it happened. Nothing happens without God and I thank Him for everything. He has blessed me.”


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