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Pigs take center stage at fair

Christine Metz

Tate Tellier said the secret to winning first in the swine showmanship competition was “just to smile and have fun.”

Somehow, it didn’t look that easy.

More than 50 4-H and FFA members showed 96 pigs Wednesday afternoon at the Routt County Fair. The swine show started with the showmanship competition and was followed by the market show.

With just a cane or a long, plastic stick called a bat, the showers guided — or attempted to guide — their pigs in a ring of seven to 10 other pigs and owners. One hand held the stick, tapping the pig along, and the other hand was tucked behind the competitor’s back.

The competitors watched the judge almost every second they were in the ring. A small brush sat in their back pockets, ready for action if the animal got dirty.

The goal was to lead the pigs in arch-shaped patterns in front of the judge, while keeping the pigs’ heads up.

But the reality is that some pigs wandered off in corners, others decided it would be nicer to lay in the middle of the ring, and still others couldn’t resist the urge to go over and sniff their competitors.

“Probably the toughest part is keeping the pig under control,” said Peter Daley, who took second in the intermediate division.

As if the showing of the pig wasn’t hard enough, there was the pop quiz in the middle of the event. The judge walks up to each of the participants and asks a question to gauge how well the participant knows the animal and the swine industry.

The judge also looked for cleanliness.

“I get butterflies in my stomach beforehand,” said Kylee Sweetser, the third-place finisher in the intermediate division.

Tellier, who at 13 is in his second year of showing pigs, practiced for the event. For the past few months, he walked his two pigs — Calvin and Hobbes — a half mile every night along a neighborhood road.

He would hose them off in the evening to keep them cool. He guesses he spent about two to three hours on his animals every night.

“It’s just a fun thing to do, something instead of soccer,” Tellier said. “It’s like a summer job. You sell them at the end and get a lot of money.”

Calvin was picked for the showmanship competition because he could turn with just a touch of the snout. He also had the better endurance. Hobbes needed a little more prodding.

Tellier had some other words of wisdom for showing pigs.

“Be as aggressive as you can and just make sure the pig goes in front of the judge,” he said.

In the senior division, Bryan Spaeth took first, Tanner Grimes took second, and Janey Montieth finished third.

In the junior division, Mallory Hoots took first, Cole Carnahan took second, and Nicholas Hessenberger finished third.

In the market swine competition, Montieth won grand champion, and Tiffany Schaffner won reserve grand champion.

— To reach Christine Metz call 871-4229

or e-mail cmetz@steamboatpilot.com


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