Swine steal the spotlight at San Juan County Fair

Noel Lyn Smith
Farmington Daily Times
A pig is prepared to enter the Jerry Connelly Show Ring Wednesday for judging in the swine show at McGee Park in Farmington.

FARMINGTON — Family and friends did not contain their excitement when Lauren Ewing's Berkshire pig took champion of breed at the swine show at the San Juan County fair Wednesday.

After collecting a championship buckle, trophy, ribbon and a new feed bucket, Ewing walked her gilt, Layola, back to a pen, where she was greeted with hugs from supporters in response to the win.

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"I'm really happy. My Berk is low and a lot wider than other pigs but I have been working on it and I'm proud of myself," Ewing said.

The class for Berkshire pigs is new to the swine show this year. The breed previously competed in the spot pig class.

A pig heads back to it's pen after being judged Wednesday during the swine show at the McGee Park's Jerry Connelly Show Ring in Farmington.

At another pen across the arena, Carsyn James, of Waterflow, celebrated her pig's second place finish in the medium weight spot class.

"It's always fun to show your pigs and whenever you get a sale, you feel good that you made that sale," the 10-year-old said.

James and her brother, Gatlin James, 12, are members of the Levi and Calico 4-H Club and have 10 pigs in the competition.

Their mother, Amber James, was a 4-H Club member when she was a child and said the experience teaches her children about hard work and responsibility.

"They have to make sure they get up and feed their animals," Amber James said. "They have to put their animals before a lot of the stuff they want to do."

Chance Slone walks with his pig after the heavy weight spot-class competition, Wednesday during the swine show at the McGee Park's Jerry Connelly Show Ring in Farmington.

During the show, a participant uses a stick to gently tap and guide the pig around the judge's ring.

The judge watches the animal's movement as well as its physical features, form and response.

Among the preparation Waterflow resident Tyler Stock, 14, does for shows is training his pigs to walk with their heads up.

By walking in that matter, a pig displays presence and its muscles, he said.

"If you go out and your pig won't walk, you will not place well. You need to make sure you can walk your pig in front of a judge," Stock said.

His work was rewarded during Wednesday's competition when his Duroc boar was named champion of breed.

Sydney Abbott reaches over a pen to clean her pig Nose Rub Wednesday during the swine show at the McGee Park's Jerry Connelly Show Ring in Farmington.

Kirtland resident Cadyn Hartsfield is also leaving the fair with a champion of breed win for his Hampshire pig named Bruno.

The 16-year-old said he like Bruno – named after singer Bruno Mars – because of the boar's easy going nature.

"You learn a lot about a pig. How they're breed, what you have to do, how to feed them and what to look for," Hartsfield said before guiding another pig to the ring for judging.

For Pioneer Kidz 4-H Club member Lilly Racine Eavenson, Wednesday's show was bittersweet because she has reached the age limit for participating.

At 19, her interest in the animal started in sixth grade and after her older brothers started showing pigs.

Contestants show off their pigs to swine judge Jon DeClark, pictured at top right, Wednesday during the swine show at the McGee Park's Jerry Connelly Show Ring in Farmington.

"It's a family thing to have pigs," Eavenson said.

Her effort earned champion of breed for spot pigs and for Chester pigs.

"It is good to go out on a good note," she said. "The moment you walk into the barn for the last time on your last show date, it's teary eye."

Noel Lyn Smith covers the Navajo Nation for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4636.