The pigs were petulant and the hogs were unhappy, but the contestants kept their cool Thursday at the 70th annual Wayne County Junior Livestock Show and Sale at the Wayne County Fairgrounds.
The show began around 10 a.m. with the Senior Showmanship division. In a showmanship competition, it is the handlers, not the hogs, who are judged, based on their control of the hog and how well they present their animal to the judge.
The senior showmanship division had eight entrants this year, and they had their work cut out for them. Several of the hogs seemed to want nothing to do with the proceedings -- one particularly vocal swine decided it had better places to be, and made an attempt to climb through out of the ring before its handler hauled it back through the bars.
Others set about getting in their daily workout, running circles around the pen as their handlers worked their hardest to get them under control -- or the closest thing to control that they could get while trying to corral a pig as big as themselves.
By the time the sawdust settled, 17-year-old Taylor Glover of Pikeville had claimed the championship. A seasoned veteran of the livestock show circuit, Glover said that it was special to win alongside Darla, her hog.
"I'm excited, because I raised these hogs," she said. "This is my first litter and it's cool to go out there and show the hogs I raised myself."
Glover said that she was happy that Darla kept her cool during the show. When things get hectic during competition, it is best to stay calm and not let your frustration show, she said.
"The main thing is to keep calm, don't let it show that you're agitated," she said.
In the rest of the senior showmanship class, Abigail Johnson took second place, followed by Jensen Barwick in third, Gabrielle Young in fourth, Hayleigh Stocks in fifth and Tyler Hogan in sixth.
The show continued with the junior division, where another eight competitors worked hard to keep their occasionally belligerent hogs under control. Eleven-year-old Gideon Linton, who has shown hogs for six years, took home first place. He credited the win to his hog, Tank, keeping it together just a bit longer than some of the others.
"I'm glad he held off long enough, I could tell he started to get grumpy at the end there," Linton said. "Sometimes you have good days and sometimes you have bad days, and when it's a bad day there's not always a lot you can do about it. So I'm glad it was a good day."
In the junior division, Isaac Linton took a close second place, followed by Mackenzie Hinson in third, Ashton Dawson in fourth, Quinton Rouse in fifth and Isaac Hines-Young in sixth.
All three competitors in the youngest division -- novice -- received first place ribbons. They were Jesse Pearl McCullen, R.E. Lee McCullen and Caden Ladd.