Showing Pigs | Living the Country Life
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Showing Pigs

Exhibitors, ages seven to 29, explain why they love showing pigs, and how they take care of them on a daily basis.
  • These adorable sisters participated in the pig show at the World Pork Expo with their Purebred Berkshire and Crossbred pigs.

    Sister act

    Meet Grace, 7, Josie, 12, and Madalin, 14, from Lapeer, Michigan. 

    The three sisters, along with their brother Grant (not pictured), show their purebred Berkshire and crossbred pigs at the local, state and national level. This summer, they will be participating in many shows such as their county fair and the Michigan Livestock Expo.

    Each of them likes to show pigs for different reasons.

    While Josie loves the competition aspect, Madalin likes to learn about opportunities in agriculture.

    “I want to have a job in agriculture when I’m older,” said Madalin. “Shows allow me to meet people and explore the industry.”

    Date Published: June 16, 2014
    Date Updated: August 20, 2015
  • This is Grace with her pig, “Tornado.”

    Grace and Tornado

    The girls have taken care of their show pigs since they were born.  

    This is Grace with her pig, “Tornado.”

    “I like showing pigs because I like working with animals,” said Grace.

    Date Published: June 16, 2014
    Date Updated: August 20, 2015
  • “I love working with pigs because I think they’re smart, and each one has its own personality,” said Blake.

    Chores at school

    Blake Medders is 15 years old from from Quinlan, TX. Blake actually began showing sheep in the 3rd grade, but now solely shows pigs.

    “I love working with pigs because I think they’re smart, and each one has its own personality,” said Blake.

    Blake is able to keep his pigs at his school's livestock barn, which is provided for students who are involved in FFA. It is at the school barn where he cares for his pigs every day.

    “I feed my pigs in the morning and at night, make sure they have water, wash them and clean their pens ever day,” said Blake.

    Date Published: June 16, 2014
    Date Updated: August 20, 2015
  • “Showing and caring for livestock really teaches kids responsibility,” said Sheryl Medders, Blake’s mother.

    Teaching responsibility

    Besides showing pigs, Blake also works on a hog farm where he helps breed and farrow sows.

    “Showing and caring for livestock really teaches kids responsibility,” said Sheryl Medders, Blake’s mother.

    “It gives them pride and integrity for raising and caring for something of their own. Working with animals has taught him a lot about where food comes from, nutritional values and animals in general.”

     
    Date Published: June 16, 2014
    Date Updated: August 20, 2015
  • “Going to shows is fun,” said Maison. “I like competing, meeting new people and making new friends.”

    Making new friends

    Masion Bickerstaff of Abilene, TX, has Chester Whites, a Duroc, a York and Spots that he'll exhibit at shows this summer. He lives in a neighborhood, and also keeps his pigs at his school’s barn.

    Maison began showing after some encouragement from another family who shows pigs at his school.

    “Going to shows is fun,” said Maison. “I like competing, meeting new people and making new friends."

    Masion works with his pigs and exercises them every day to prepare for a show.

    (Pictured: Maison mixing feed for his pigs)

     

    Date Published: June 16, 2014
    Date Updated: August 20, 2015
  • Sarah and Laura Joy have been showing pigs for about 20 years, and were both involved in 4-H and FFA growing up in Nebraska.

    Family vacation

    Sarah and Laura Joy have been showing pigs with their family for about 20 years, and were both involved in    4-H and FFA growing up in Nebraska.

    Their dad, a veterinarian, grew up showing pigs and continues to raise them on the side. 

    “Showing pigs was always our dad’s hobby, and it turned into a family thing for us,” said Sarah. “Growing up, pig shows served as our family vacations. It was a way for us to go places together."

    Date Published: June 16, 2014
    Date Updated: August 20, 2015
  • Today, the sisters still get together to show pigs, and help other 4-H and FFA members in their area.

    Family tradition

    Today, the sisters still get together to show pigs and help 4-H and FFA members in their area.

    “We sell a lot of pigs to kids back home," said Sarah. "So while we do still attend open shows and sales, we mostly help them with their pigs at the county fair and state fair."

    “Our older brother has a son now,” said Laura. “We hope he'll be interested in showing pigs when he gets older and keep the family tradition going.”

     

    Date Published: June 16, 2014
    Date Updated: August 20, 2015
  • Grant has a crossbred and Yorkshire that he will be showing this summer.

    Opens doors

    Grant Wilber, 16 from Cherokee, Oklahoma, started showing pigs in 4th grade, and is currently involved in FFA.

    Grant's family didn't originally have pigs, and it was his older siblings' vocational ag instructor who got them involved. 

    "I got into showing pigs after my older siblings," said Grant. "I really enjoy it. It teaches hard work, responsibility, and opens the door to friendships and connections in the agriculture industry."

    Grant has a crossbred and Yorkshire that he will be showing this summer. He plans on exhibiting his pigs at his county fair, Oklahoma State Fair, Tulsa State Fair, and numerous jackpots and state shows in Oklahoma.

    Date Published: June 16, 2014
    Date Updated: August 20, 2015
  • Dale Ricker, swine program specialist at Ohio State University, has a few tips when it comes to choosing a show pig, and what the judges are looking for.

    Choosing a show pig

    Dale Ricker, swine program specialist at Ohio State University, has a few tips when it comes to choosing a show pig and what the judges are looking for.

    "You want the pig to be the right age and size depending on its final show, whether that's the county fair, state fair or another show during the year," said Ricker. "You don't know how your show pig is going to turn out when you choose it at 50 pounds, so buying from a reputable breeder and discussing feed managment with them is key to the pig's performance."

     

    Date Published: June 16, 2014
    Date Updated: August 20, 2015
  • Showmanship is a class based on knowledge and presentation of the animal.

    Spending time

    "Taking care of the pig at home by washing it, cleaning its pen and exercising it will come into play in the show ring," said Ricker. "Animal care and skin and hair management is important for the animal's fresh appearance."

    Showmanship is a class based on knowledge and presentation of the animal. In this particular class, judges are really able to gage the level of care and time you spend on your animal at home.

     

    Date Published: June 16, 2014
    Date Updated: August 20, 2015
  • Ricker said in order to be competitive, it is a good idea to be aware of the show pig industry's trends such as frame size, muscle and length.

    Industry trends

    "When it comes to judging, all judges have different opinions," said Ricker. "Overall though, I would say they are looking for a pig that is structurally sound from the ground up and balanced throughout. Ask yourself if the animal has adequate width, length of body and frame size to carry its weight. Make sure all the parts look like they fit together, and it's consistent top to bottom."

    Ricker said in order to be competitive, it is a good idea to be aware of the show pig industry's trends such as frame size, muscle and length.

    Date Published: June 16, 2014
    Date Updated: August 20, 2015
  • The National Junior Swine Association is currently the largest youth livestock organization in with word and has more than 12,000 members.

    National Junior Swine Association and National Swine Registry

    The National Junior Swine Association, which was established in 2000 for youth under 21 years of age, is currently the largest youth livestock organization in the world with more than 12,000 members.

    It is aimed to help youth through education, leadership, scholarship programs, and swine exhibition. The NJSA is an organization that provides competition, educational opportunities and leadership skills at the state and national level. 

    The National Swine Registry is the consolidation of the American Yorkshire Club, the Hampshire Swine Registry, the United Duroc Swine Registry and the American Landrace Association. 

    The NSR provides services such as litter registrations, performance pedigrees and breed promotion.

    Each year, the National Junior Swine Association and National Swine Registry host 19 shows and events across the United States. You can visit its website, www.nationalswine.com, for a complete listing of swine shows taking place this year.

    Date Published: June 16, 2014
    Date Updated: August 20, 2015

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