For 9-year-old Spate Sanderson raising hogs is what he and his family do.
“It’s just interesting learning about the pig,” Sanderson said.
For five years, Sanderson has been showing pigs at the Wayne County Junior Livestock Show and Sale, where he won the Grand Champion Market Hog award for the third year in a row.
Sanderson showed he knew how to handle his crossbred Hampshire hog, Moonpie, by using a whip to control it and making it turn how he wanted it to, which explains why Sanderson also won the Showmanship Junior Hog award.
“I kept my pig in front of the judge. I walked straight at him and showed him all the angles,” Sanderson said.
Sanderson and many other children competed with their hogs and other animals to become grand champions at this year’s livestock show and sale.
The show and sale took place from 9 a.m. to noon on April 13 at the Wayne Regional Agricultural Fairgrounds off U.S. 117 South.
The show and sale is where youth, ages 5 through 18, can show off their livestock, said Stefani Sykes, livestock agent with the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service.
The show and sale started with hogs, followed by goats and then cattle, Sykes said.
This year, there were 45 participants, with 39 hogs, eight goats and two cattle, she said.
Last year, the show and sale had a total of 16 participants, she said.
“So yes, it’s definitely increased this year, and I’m glad. It makes for better competition, but the kids, they also can see all their friends and things like that,” she said.
The livestock show has more community support than last year, with schools being involved. Some farmers also helped with housing animals for some youth that didn’t have a place for their animals, she said.
This was the first time in several years that the show included cattle or steer, she said.
“We’ve had that in the past, (but) we just haven’t had participants have them,” she said. “It’s an expensive project, you know, with the cows being bigger.”
Youth compete in two classes — market and showmanship.
The market class judges the animal for its weight, build and muscle, she said.
The showmanship class is divided into age ranges, with novices 5-7, juniors 8-11, intermediate 12-14, and seniors 15-18, while participants are judged on how well they can guide their animal in the ring, she said.
The showmanship class has a lot to do with ring presence, how well the participants enter the ring, and how they interact with their animals.
Participants are also judged on eye contact with their the animal and the judges, she said.
“The judge wants to know that you know where the judge is, that you know where the animal is and you’re making that connection,” she said. “There’s a fine line of guiding that animal, especially when we’re talking about pigs.”
The judges may also ask some general questions about the animal’s name, weight, and breed, which factors into what the judges consider to be showmanship, she said.
Sisters Bryleigh and Brooklyn Sauls participated in the cattle and steer competition, and Sykes said the Sauls had never shown cattle before, but they got the cattle into the ring, kept the cattle calm, and showcased the work they had done with the cattle.
“They’ve never shown cattle before, and cows are such big animals, it can be so tricky to handle (the cows),” she said.
Money is raised by the kids or the community to pay for housing and feeding the animal at the livestock show, and it all goes back to the kids.
While many kids save the money for college, some use it to buy their animal, she said.
The show and sale is akin to a mock auction, Sykes said.
The animals are auctioned off to livestock buyers who bid up against the sponsorship money the children receive, buying the animal for market price, she said.
The show and sale will also ask for add-ons from the audience, and whichever animal wins, the child will receive the market price money, their sponsorship, and any add-ons that were contributed, she said.
HOG COMPETITION WINNERS
• Grand Champion Market Hog, Spate Sanderson
• Reverse Champion Market Hog, Gideon Linton
• Showmanship Novice Hog, Tessa Sanderson, first place; Reese Massey, second place; Jared Talton, third place.
• Showmanship Junior Hog, Spate Sanderson, first place; Alex Mejia, second place; Lila Britt, third place.
• Showmanship Intermediate Hog, Rylan Ingram, first place; Lela Britt, second place; Raegan Cole, third place.
• Showmanship Senior Hog, Payton Williams, first place; Isaac Linton, second place; Gideon Linton, third place.
GOAT COMPETITION WINNERS
• Grand Champion Goat, James Graham
• Reverse Champion Goat, Taylor Lee
• Showmanship Novice Goat, Madelyn Davis, first place; Bless Hobbs, second place; Jared Talton, third place.
• Showmanship Intermediate/Senior Goat, Taylor Lee, first place; Harley Haley, second place; Haley Wingate, third place.
STEER COMPETITION WINNERS
• Grand Champion Steer, Brooklyn Sauls
• Reserve Champion Steer, Bryleigh Sauls
• Showmanship Intermediate Steer, Bryleigh Sauls, first place; Brooklyn Sauls, second place.
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