Wilson, Norris take swine showmanship titles

Published 12:00 am Sunday, July 29, 2007

ROME TOWNSHIP —Students from eight to 18 showed pigs on Thursday at the Lawrence County Junior Fair to determine the top senior and junior showmen.

The judge looks for showmen who keeps the pig 10 to 15 feet in front of them, keeps eye contact, uses a brush and has proper use of a cane used to guide the pig.

He also asks questions of participants to test their knowledge of pigs. All the pigs in the contest are about six months old.

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Several people surround the arena with “hog boards” to put between fighting hogs to separate them.

“It keeps us from being hurt,” said Jennifer Owens, of Waterloo, from the 4-H Rules Committee. “We’re just here to do what the judge tells us to do and keep the pigs from fighting, and make sure that everybody’s in here that needs to be in here.”

Pens on one end of the arena are used to show the judge how they manipulate the pig into the pen and even when they come out of the pen. Each movement is carefully watched as the pigs are guided around the arena and some are put into the pens temporarily.

“(The judge) looks to see if you shut your own gate or you leave the gate open,” Owens said. “If your pig would happen to lay down and sees it, and it gets back up, he would look to see if you try to use your brush to brush it off. Pigs are hard to control.”

Sometimes, a pig will start running across the arena or run into the fence or try to root. The potential showman will use his cane to try to guide the pig back into the middle of the arena.

Occasionally, a pig goes awry to fight with another pig in the arena but the volunteers with pig boards quickly separate them.

“This showmanship show is more on how the kid presents the pig and how he’s able to keep the pig in the ring moving and present himself to the judge,” said Kyle Deel, judge. “The better they keep the pig out here on the move, and give the judge a better look at the pig, the more things they do that’s correct — that’s what is going to put them more at the top.”