11/22/04 — Boy raises prize pig

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Boy raises prize pig

By Sam Atkins
Published in News on November 22, 2004 2:15 PM

Waking up early on Oct. 15, Douglas Williams was confident that his hard work and dedication would pay off.

He had put 162 pounds on his hog, and it was at the State Fair waiting for him to present to the judges.

He and his parents, Derreck and Katherine, packed the car and headed to Raleigh for the Junior Market Barrow Show.

Douglas, 12, is a fifth-grader at Wayne Country Day School in Goldsboro. His barrow was one of 250 hogs entered from all over the state. A barrow is a castrated hog and is raised for meat.

All of the participants gathered in the fairground's Jim Graham Building.

Before the show, Douglas made sure his hog looked its finest. He fed and brushed it. He sprayed it to give it a shiny tone.

When Douglas got his hog in July, it weighed 100 pounds.

He spent months taking care of it on the weekends at his grandmother's house at Grantham. Every Friday afternoon after school he fed it and gave it water. He practiced walking it 10 times a day in his grandmother's arena.

Every three weeks he washed it, and on occasion, he cut its hair. The barrow ate two pounds of a mixture of corn and wheat every day.

By show time, it weighed 262 pounds.

Douglas has shown hogs for six years at county and regional fairs. He has won the reserve grand champion three times and the grand champion four times.

His mother, who works at Wayne Community College, and her sister have also competed in livestock shows and sales at the state and county levels. His mother passed along her knowledge of raising hogs to Douglas.

She continuously reminded him that the hog was not a pet and not to think of it that way. This hog was being raised as if Douglas were in business.

Now it was time to put his training to the test. Would this be the year he would win the state grand champion award?

In 2001, he came close. His hog was a reserve grand champion.

On Oct. 15, Douglas and his hog went into the ring.

A large crowd was watching. Douglas felt proud as he led his barrow.

The judges were looking at the barrows' ham, loin, back, ribs, feet and how well they walked.

Douglas' hog stood out.

It was named the grand champion for Division 3. And best of all, he would get the chance to sell it.

The next day all of the grand champion animals -- hogs, steer, turkeys and lambs -- went into the selling ring for the Junior Livestock Auction.

Harris Teeter bought Douglas' barrow for $10,000.

Douglas will be getting another barrow after Christmas and plans to work even harder, hoping to bring home another big check.

All of the money will go into his college fund. He plans to attend The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

"I can't wait for the next show," said Douglas.