10/03/10 — Pigs cooperate at hog show for marshmallows

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Pigs cooperate at hog show for marshmallows

By Becky Barclay
Published in News on October 3, 2010 1:50 AM

Life & Family

When 15-year-old Emma See began training her hog for the market show at this year's fair, the animal didn't want to come out of the barn. So she bribed him with marshmallows and that did the trick.

"If you put a marshmallow on a pole, he'll follow it," she said. "Now I reward him with marshmallows whenever he does good."

So Emma's hog got lots of extra marshmallows when he was named Grand Champion at Friday night's competition.

"I was shocked," Emma said. "But it felt really good. I liked it."

Emma was proud of her pig. "Although tonight he didn't want to turn on command, he did really good. He's getting extra marshmallows for this."

And now that she's had a taste of winning, Emma's goal is to win even more awards in coming years.

Jacob Sauls took Reserve Champion honors with his hog, Aang.

"Tonight he did pretty good," the 13-year-old said of Aang. "But he stayed on the fence a little bit and that's not a good thing."

When Jacob began training his hog for the competition, Aang would run out into the field and start acting like a dog, running all over the place.

"I got him pretty much out of that habit," Jacob said.

When they are not training, Jacob and Aang like to go out just to play in the field, something he likes to do with all the hogs he shows. He had one that he even rode around like a bull.

He becomes quite attached to his hogs and when it's time for them to go to market, it makes Jacob a little bit sad.

When the judge handed the trophy to Jacob, he was overwhelmed. "I tried my hardest and I finally won it," he said.

Although he didn't win Grand or Reserve Champion, 17-year-old Danny Shortt was happy with first place ribbon.

He attributes the win to the fact that his friend, Garrett, who normally shows with him and always wins, was absent from the competition that night.

"But I think my hog, Triple Stuff, did pretty good," Danny said. "He walked like I wanted him to and didn't give me any trouble. Sometimes when I show him, he won't go where I'm going so I have to catch up to him and look kind of silly."

But that can happen to anyone, as 17-year-old John Stewart found out at Friday night's competition. His hog was a little uncooperative in the arena.

"He didn't want to turn around when I needed him to and he didn't want to show his most impressive side," John said.

That side surely had to have been his front, because Bocephus, named after Hank Williams Jr., has "a lot of style and has a lot of scruffy hair going on in the front," John said. "And he kind of looks like Hank Williams Jr."

Bocephus, like a lot of other hogs, has his quirks. One of them is running around in circles and spinning around, something John said his hog does frequently.

John considers hogs to be very intelligent creatures and develops a different kind of relationship with his.

"It's more of an 'I understand your purpose' relationship," he said. "There's no personal connection like with a dog or other pet.

"I know he'll go to a slaughter house, but I try not to really think about that whole process. I know that somebody somewhere is going to eat Bocephus."

And that's the whole purpose of the show, according to Phillip Rowan, who has been judging hogs for 30 years.

"We're looking for something that's going to put some good lean meat on the table that will be desirable for the packer and the consumer."