By Cathy Spaulding
Phoenix Staff Writer
Some pigs simply don’t want to be out of their pens.
That’s how the Hampshire pig owned by fourth-grader Hannah Howard reacted when it was showtime in competition Friday at the Muskogee Regional Junior Livestock Show. Hannah’s pig was among 547 hogs shown. The show concludes at 6 p.m. tonight with the premium show and sale.
Hannah’s pig kept scrunching into a corner as Hannah and her father, Kevin Howard, coaxed it out. As they escorted the pig to the Muskogee Fairgrounds arena, the Hamp kept trying to dodge into other pigs’ pens.
Hannah, who is in her first year as an exhibitor, said her crossbreed pig is easier to handle than the Hamp.
“My Hamp is kind of crazy,” she said. “She likes staying in her pen. She doesn’t like to get out. We have to force her to get out of the barn.”
Hannah’s hesitant Hampshire didn’t place in its category. But Kevin Howard said raising pigs was a worthwhile experience. He said his stepson, Warner fourth-grader Jase McKenzie, also competed.
“They learned about hard work,” Howard said. “They had to know how to walk them, wash them, brush them.”
Jase showed three pigs — a Hampshire, a crossbreed and a Poland China — at the show. He said he expected his crossbreed to do best in competition because he worked so hard.
“When he was little, he didn’t look so good and stuff,” Jase said. “Then he started getting better. He was coming up and getting better muscle.”
Jase said he keeps busy caring for all three.
Cortni Carman of Fort Gibson FFA is in her second year of showing pigs, but she has a lot of experience with shows – she accompanied her brother and sister when they had animals in competition.
Cortni said she learned a lot about responsibility.
“If you don’t take responsibility for her, she won’t walk for you,” Cortni said of her pig. “When you got that bond, she’ll work with you.”
Cortni showed the breed champion Duroc. She said she often gets nervous before she shows, “but when I get in the ring, I get determined and focused.”
She said the biggest challenge was putting her lean Duroc up against larger, heavier pigs.
“The pig can be stubborn sometimes, but most of the time, she’s cooperative,” she said. “When you get her on the ring, you have to make sure she doesn’t lay down or get dirt on her snout or anything.”
Reach Cathy Spaulding at (918) 684-2928 or email@example.com.