Morgan County youth win big at 4H Pig Squeal
Special to the Enquirer
Morgan and Lawrence County 4-H members competed at the Pig Squeal Show and Auction the first weekend in May.
Participants received two pigs each in January. They cared for and worked with the pigs until the show and auction day.
The 4-H’ers competed in both showmanship and market class. Showmanship awards were based on how well the youth handled the pig during the show, and the market class divisions were determined by the weight of the pigs, with weights ranging from 175-336 pounds; divisions were judged on structure and general condition of the pigs.
The youth also prepared project record books detailing how they managed their pigs. In the record books, they recorded many of the important aspects of rearing an animal – from the feed they purchased and equipment they used to feed and the house the pig to photos and journal entries of the experience.
In the junior division, youth from Morgan County brought home the red, white and green ribbons, with Tucker Myers claiming red, Collins Belew white and Colton Penney green.
During the showmanship portion of the event, the youth competed in age categories – junior, intermediate, senior I and senior II.
This was the first show for many, but for some, it was their fifth year to participate.
The goal of the showmanship portion of the event is to show the livestock judge the participant had worked with their pig to be able to control it while in the show ring, giving the judge could get a clear view of the pig. The judge will often ask the youth questions about the pig – from its breed to how much feed it ate per day.
J.D. Pflueger won the blue ribbon in the intermediate division, while Madison Darnell, Allie Eddy, Kayleen Coggin, Sean Butler, Sam Gullion and Emma Johnson, all of Morgan County, swept all of the prizes in both the senior I and senior II age categories.
Young people from Morgan County also placed high in the showmanship competition. In junior showmanship, Tucker Myers came in fourth place, Colton Penney came in fifth and Collins Bellew came in sixth. Pflueger was named the reserve grand champion in the intermediate showmanship competition, while Morgan County youths swept the senior competition, with Darnell being named grand champion, Butler winning reserve grand champion, Coggin placing third and Eddy placing fourth.
Gullion was named the grand champion in the senior II division, and Johnson was named the reserve grand champion.
The pigs then competed in market class. Based on the entry weight of the pigs, they were divided into four market classes and judged based on muscle definition, girth and more.
The goal of the project was to grow the pigs to market weight – ideally about 280 pounds.
Butler won reserve grand champion in Division I. In Division II Johnson and Eddy took home grand champion and reserve grand champion, respectively. In Division III, Gullion won grand champion, and Darnell won reserve grand champion.
Gullion also won overall grand champion market hog. Johnson won overall reserve grand champion market hog, and third place overall went to Darnell.
After the show, the majority of pigs were auctioned off to be processed into pork chops and bacon. Auctioneer Jacob Murray led the bidders to purchase 13 pigs, ranging from $1.40 to 2.90 per pound – a higher price than the average, as a nod to the hard work the 4-H’ers put into the project.
The Morgan and Lawrence County 4-H team appreciates all who supported the project. A special thanks is extended to those that helped in the ring: Doug Gullion, LeAnne Pace, Kayln Nelson, Austin Blankenship and Livestock Judge Ethan Lake. Extension personnel involved in the project included Lawrence and Morgan County 4H Agent Kenneth Gamble, Morgan County 4-H volunteer Betty Gottler, program assistants Karen Melson (Morgan) and Marsha Terry (Lawrence), administrative associate Shannon Murray and County Extension coordinators Brett Crow (Morgan) and Donna Shanklin (Lawrence.)