CNJ staff photo: Gabriel Monte Jenna Kirkland, 10, said she has been raising her York show pig for four months. She and her two older brothers exhibited their pigs Saturday at the Farwell Junior Livestock Show.
By Gabriel Monte: CNJ staff writer
The spray of skin and hair conditioner foamed over the portly hide of the four-month-old show pig as its owner brushed it down with gentle, deliberate strokes.
The pig didn’t much care for its beauty treatment, but his owner, Jenna Kirkland, hoped the judge would notice the effort once she brings the York pig out to the showroom floor.
The 10-year-old girl and her two older brothers exhibited their pigs Saturday at the Farwell Community Center.
This is her first time exhibiting a pig. The year before, she watched her brothers, Dillan and Daniel, both 12, exhibit their pigs and wanted to do it, too.
“I just like to do it. It’s fun to work with animals and watch them get bigger and bigger,” she said.
Yorkie, her pig, started out as a 30-pound piglet, she said, and now he weighs about 185 pounds.
“You feed him twice a day, keep him warm and give him shelter, and (he) just grows,” she said.
The Farwell Junior Livestock Show is open to Farwell residents aged 9 to 18 who are members of the 4-H or the Future Farmers of America, according to organizer Tomee England.
She said the local show would give novice exhibitors a chance to prepare for bigger, regional shows, which start mid-January and last until March.
In all, 47 animals were presented, including steers, goats, lambs, heifers, and pigs, according to England.
Yorkie was competing with 30 other pigs.
For Jenna the draw of the shows is the opportunity to raise an animal and work with it while exhibiting it to the judges.
“(At the shows) your pigs get to make a lot of friends,” she said pointing to another pig at an adjoining pen she said Yorkie befriended.
“I think he likes that one a lot. He goes over there and lays a lot.”
Jenna’s father, Brandon Kirkland, said raising animals teaches his children responsibility. Kirkland also raised pigs when he was in 4-H and passed on what he learned to his children.
Chandler Barns, 13, has been raising pigs for stock shows since she was 9 years old. This year, her 9-year old sister, Kenlea, is joining her. Her father, Doug Barns, said he is impressed by his children’s passion to compete.
Last year he said his children picked going to a livestock show in Houston over a trip to Hawaii for spring break.
“Evidently, they like (competing) more than you’d think,” he said.
Chandler said one of the perks of going to the shows is being able to skip school for a few days to go to major livestock shows.
But, like Jenna, Chandler said the most enjoyable part of raising animals is seeing them grow.
But she said she didn’t name her pig.
“He’s been called a few names,” said Barns.
If she did, her father said she’ll get attached to it once they have to sell it.
“Then I cry,” she said.