10/02/05 — Kids show livestock

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Kids show livestock

By Renee Carey
Published in News on October 2, 2005 2:08 AM

Little Haley Edwards didn't seem bothered at all that her hog, which was much bigger than she was, ran across the Open Junior Market Hog Showmanship ring Friday night.

In fact, the 6-year-old, who was wearing a little pink pig necklace and had her hair in braids, stifled a little giggle as she made her way across the ring.

It was Haley's first showmanship show and competing in the age 8 and under category wasn't easy.

Was she scared?

"A little," she said.

Haley and the other competitors in the market hog competitions have worked hard all year to prepare for the shows at the Wayne Regional Agricultural Fair. She and her sister, Chloe, 9, both competed in the showmanship and market arenas this year. Both of the girls, who are home-schooled, live near Grantham and are the daughters of Jamie and Stacey Edwards.

They were introduced to market hogs by their grandparents, Janice and Doodle Edwards, both of whom were proudly watching ringside along with the girls' parents Friday.

The girls said they like showing hogs.

"It's fun," Haley and Chloe agreed.

And even novice Haley knows what to do when her hog doesn't mind.

"I hit him with the cane," she said.

She didn't win her class.

That honor went to Caleb Sharp, 8, of Wilson County.

His secret?

"Just watch the judge and work your hog," he said with a smile.

"But don't hit your hog too hard," he added.

Caleb was cheered on by his mother and father, Alan and Debbie Sharp. They are hog farmers by day, but were proud parents on this night. Their other son, Tyler, took home the Grand Champion trophy in the market hog competition.

For 18-year-old Dale Winstead of Nash County, the senior showmanship competition was not his first or even his 10th. And it was not the first time he brought home a blue ribbon, either.

"I have about 40 or 50 at home," he said.

The Mount Olive College student is a member of his college's FFA team and has been showing hogs since he was 8.

He said confidence is the key to bringing home a showmanship victory.

"It doesn't matter how bad your hog is," he said. "It is on you. It is not on the hog."

He knew just what to do to impress market hog judge Dustin Ford of Fuquay-Varina.

Keeping a close eye on the judge, answering questions about your animal knowledgeably and knowing just how to present yourself in the ring, are keys to taking home the showman title, Winstead said.

He said the best advice he could give to an aspiring showmanship winner is to participate in his or her livestock judging team.

"That is where I learned the terminology," Winstead said.

He is considering retiring from the show ring, although Winstead said he will continue to work in agriculture.

"I am pursuing a career in agribusiness," he said.

His example seems to have paid off in his own family.

His brother, David, took home the Reserve Grand Champion hog title.

Garrett See of Raleigh, who took home a showmanship title in the intermediate class, remained calm and collected through his round.

He said his experience in the ring helped him know how to impress the judge.

He has been showing hogs since he was 5 years old.

He is 12 now.

"I work with my hog about every other day," Garrett said. "I get it out, and I exercise the animal."

Learning the terminology is a little harder.

"I practice with my dad," he said.

Todd See is a livestock veterinarian, his proud son said.

And although his competition in the show ring was done for the day, there was still work to do back at the barn.

"I am also in the lamb circuit," Garrett said.