The Madison County Fair was hog-wild all evening, with plenty of open class hog competitions, including market gilt and barrows shows Thursday afternoon.
The judge was Bret Vickery of Warren, Indiana, who works and lives on a family farm, including pure and crossbred sows consisting of Duroc, Chester and York breeds.
“Thank you for the opportunity to come over here to Madison County and sort through your open shows today,” said Vickery. “This place is kinda like a second home, we show here in the winter time and this facility is an absolutely wonderful place to show and enjoy your day … I commend the people who put this facility [the Eby Arena] together.”
Fives shows were held, two market barrows, market gilt shows and a Showman of Showmen competition.
During the first round for market gilts, more than 10 classes of crossbred or purebred hogs competed. Only two won the competition overall.
Colton Hughes won the championship in show one for the gilts.
“It comes down to three or four of these, and what comes to mind when you think about it,” said Vickery. “But for me it’s a two horse race, it comes down to a couple of these crossbreds and I think they’re very similar in their type and kind … I know they’re a market hog but if they’re not built right they’re not going to set down on a good foot … and they’re not going to be comfortable when they go across the ring. I think this one is extremely cool and the way she goes about her business, that calico … is going to be your champion.”
The reserve champion was Scott Parker.
“For me there’s one that’s a pea in a pod,” said Vickery. “She’s elegant in her design, she has that look and design all the way through her skeleton.”
Vickery had praise for the other class winners as well.
“Humidity is through the roof, but I think their temperature is holding well,” said Vickery. “They’re staying together and I think that has to do with their comfort, they’re able to get out here and drive … I am very pleased with how these are built.”
Next was the first show for market barrows, which also ran through more than 10 classes.
The champion for this show was, Leah Stroup.
“This set is extremely good,” Vickery said. “But for me it’s the fundamentals, if you can put the fundamentals into one where they’re built well from the ground up … I think there’s one that does this extremely well for me, the presence and ability to go out there. This young lady [Stroup] is going to be your grand champion.”
Overall, he was pleased with the competition so far.
“A nice round of applause for these kids out here,” he said. “They’re out here doing good work and that is what it takes to be in this particular drive. I will say this, for those of you who were in second third, fourth, fifth, hopefully you can take the criticisms I give you today, take the positives, take these home. If you get better you’ll be driving one of these someday when it comes down to crunch time.”
He also wanted to give a thank you for all of the parents who supported the contestants.
“I want everyone in the ring of every kid who does this for their summer … I want them to give their parents a big hug and a big kiss and tell them thank you, because this is something that’s not easy to support,” he said. “I tell my family every time I need a better sponsor because it’s not cheap. I think these kids will realize one day that when they get down the road or they get older they’ll understand the sacrifices we make to give these the wonderful opportunity to get down here, and that’s to show livestock.”
Maximilian Kwiatkowski can be reached at 740-852-1616, ext. 1617 or on Twitter @MSFKwiat.