Thursday, August 19, 2010

picked because they were cute

What an adventure yesterday turned out to be! It started actually many months ago when the 4-H leader said they should do a market hog as a project, ..."it's easy and a good first show project," is what we were told. So we decided to go for it, figuring why not?! I'm sort of known for acting then thinking, despite the fact that I do usually try to think things through it doesn't always happen... but I digress. So the day before yesterday the kids and I spent a great deal of time trying to teach the famous sitting pigs to walk up a ramp, the reason for this is because I do not have a trailer; stock or horse, yet. So the pigs were going to have to ride in the bed of the truck to and from the fair. I'm fairly strong but cannot pick up a pig weighing between 150-200 pounds even if it wanted to be picked up. These pigs did not. So the only way to get them to the fair was in the back of the truck and the only way to get them in the truck was to teach them to walk the plank, or ramp I built to facilitate this event. It was easier than you might think, pigs are VERY motivated by food and if you train them with food it seems to go well. So after they seemed comfortable walking up the improvised ramp and before they lost interest we stopped and anticipated the following days event. Getting the pigs to walk a much steeper incline and into an unfamiliar place.

Morning arrived and the kids and I got ready for the day, got all the things we thought we'd need for the show and an all day trip away from the farm. Staying in clothes that we'd change out of in the event that it would be messier than the day before. That was a good idea! Pig poop s.t.i.n.k.s.! I drove the truck to the pen and corralled the pigs into a corner and set up the ramp, put sides on the ramp making it more of a chute with very little room to escape and hoped this would work. Bethany, (skinny stripe) went first and needed a little coaxing, once she found the grain bin she practically hopped up into the truck, Freedom, (wide stripe) needed more convincing, I think she smelled a rat! It didn't take as long as I had anticipated and it wasn't as hard as I thought it would be, beginners luck I guess.

The pigs certainly could not ride in the back of the truck with out some sort of side wall height, the last thing I needed was a pig or two flying or jumping out of the back of the truck, so I used a hog panel; that worked great; and secured it with fluorescent orange ratchet straps. They'd also need cover or shade so I threw a bright blue tarp over the top and secured that to the hog panel with zip ties. I cannot imagine a more hucklebuck way to get the pigs to the fair, fortunately we didn't have far to travel. Unfortunately for the pigs, is was far enough on the back roads to make them carsick. I felt awful when I realized that let me tell you!

So we arrived at the fair and offloaded the pigs and let them settle in and chill. The kids found the 4-H leaders and had a mini clinic on how to show the pigs, did I mention this was the first show?! They had a chance to practice with the pigs before the show and it went well being their first show, both the kids and the pigs! They changed into their 'show clothes' and put the finishing touches on their 'show pigs' and the show started. They guided the pigs into the ring and away they went. Onlooking were both sets of grandparents, an aunt and cousin, two proud parents and many fair goers. The first class was showmanship. Part of showmanship it for the judge to ask random questions about your project and you are expected to know and give the answer. Both kids were in separate classes because of age, but both were asked about their pigs and gave an appropriate answer. I'm so proud of the way they carried themselves in the ring and how they handled their pigs. Not an easy task, pigs have a mind of their own and will go where they want for the most part, especially at 150+ pounds! Both kids took first place in their class and went back in to compete for grand champion and WON! I couldn't believe it! The judge talked about the confirmation of the pigs and why Freedom and Bethany were "more correct" over the competition, he talked about the butt (ham) area, length of body (bacon and loin of pork), width of shoulders, etc.

Good stuff we've got here and to think we picked them out strictly because they were cute! Although I do admit, besides the cute personality they do have the cutest butts, especially when they are jiggling while they trot away from you! Excuse me, the cutest hams!


watering the pigs and helping them to settle in...
spitshining the pigs

Aw mom... do I have to have a bath?! I'm a pig!!!


Faith's up first, entering the ring!

First place!

Andrew's up next!

Grand Champions!

Like I said, what an adventure!

6 comments:

  1. 'BOUT TIME YOU POSTED "DEM DHERE" CHAMPION PIG PICS!
    SSSEEEEEWWWWWWWW-EEEEEEE!!!!!!!

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  2. you are too funny Mom!!!

    LOL!!!

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  3. Nice! And what a great learning experience for the kids (and you!). ;-)

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  4. I think I pick my men the way you pick your pigs - the ones with the cute hams.

    Congratulations to your kids, they should feel very proud of themselves.

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  5. ha ha ha!!! Jen, that's a good one, made me lol!

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So what's the view from your world about that? I'd enjoy hearing it.