A pig and a poke: 4-Hers do best at Market Hog Show
By Kenneth Fine
Published in News on September 28, 2012 1:46 PM
Travis Cox, 6, shows his hog, Flynn Rider, to Open Junior Market Hog Show judge Ron Hughes during the Wayne Regional Agricultural Fair Hog Show. Cox won first place in the 5-8 year-old showmanship division.
Gideon Linton stomped and scowled.
Sarah Scott starting crying.
The 6- and 7-year-olds had only been in the ring for a few minutes, but they were losing control.
Their pigs were taking over.
But the novice showmen were not the only ones giving chase during the Open Junior Market Hog Show Novice Showmanship competition Thursday evening.
In fact, those in the crowd expected nothing less from the 5- to 9-year-olds in that particular division.
"They're getting upset, but is that not the cutest thing?" said Mary Haney, a bystander who has attended "every" livestock show for the past few years. "Look at them trying to corral those pigs. They don't stand a chance."
But one young man stayed calm and collected.
He maintained eye contact with Judge Ron Hughes.
And he controlled his pig without correcting him, excessively, with the wooden pole most of the children were unleashing on theirs.
"When I was that age, I would have been beating on anything that moved," Hughes said. "So good for him."
And that poise, the judge added, was enough to earn Travis Cox a first-place ribbon in showmanship -- and the Grand Champion title.
The 6-year-old said his latest victory didn't come easy.
"It's hard to look at the judge and the pig," he said. "That's two things at the same time."
But the hard work will have been worth it, he said, if it nets him a belt buckle at next month's State Fair.
And his mother, Nicole, said showing "Flynn Rider" has been a good thing for her son.
"It instills good qualities in the kids," she said. "They learn responsibility and it teaches them to be confident."
And even though handling livestock at such a young age can be frustrating, at times, for some, even the ones who let their animals get the best of them have a shot at a ribbon.
After announcing that Travis had taken first place, Hughes turned to Sarah -- who was, at the time, still wiping tears off her cheeks.
"I had her pegged from the beginning," he said, awarding her second place. "He got into that corner, but she never lost control. It wasn't her fault."
Other hog show winners included the Reserve Champion title, which went to Deep Run resident Jarrett Kennedy.
The Hog Show was the first of many animal-handler events that will unfold at this year's fair.
The others include:
* Open Junior Meat Goat Show -- Today at 6 p.m.
* Open Junior Market Lamb Show -- Saturday at Noon
* Open Pony and Mule Show -- Thursday at 6 p.m.
* Open Horse Show -- Thursday at 7 p.m.
* Junior Barbados Lamb Show -- Friday at 5 p.m.
* Open Junior Beef Heifer Show -- Friday at 6:30 p.m.