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Senior Contributor

Re: Strange animal doings

Your parents must have been really strict not to allow you to show hogs at a terminal show. I really feel sorry for you. There were a few families that had hogs but wouldn't let the kids show because they couldn't stand to lose. That is tragic too. If you don't know how to lose, what is going to occur when that time comes? Overprotection leads to more dangerous activities when the kids aren't supervised.

We won't buy hogs at a sale barn either. Too much traffic. We do buy some at state fairs and then go through proper biosecurity precautions. We know semen can carry disease too so a closed herd isn't right for us.

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Veteran Contributor

Re: pride goeth before the fall

In our county the only animals that HAD to go to slaughter were the hogs, any other livestock unless auctioned was able to go home which made no sense when the sheep show was in the same ring and barn as the hogs.  Anyways, we showed on the county level but not the state level.  My dad didn't want to do pseudo testing though we never had it that we know of (no dead birds, dogs, or cats) and he didn't want to farrow out that late.  We raised our own show pigs from our regular market hogs and we seemed to do fairly well.  I was Grand Champion Barrow a couple of times and Grand Champion gilt, my sister also had Grand Champion gilt at least 1 time.  Grand Champion Rate of Gain as well as Showmanship a couple of times.  We learned early on that we don't always win but we always congratulate the winner which was more important.  There was some greasing of the judges hands a few times and it was blatently done which is just sad.  Come on really???  At a county 4-H show???  Still makes me laugh that someone would put that much of an emphasis on winning to do that.

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Senior Contributor

Re: pride goeth before the fall

It was kind of ridiculous with the pigs at our fair.  Some people would spend a lot of money and go a long way to get a pig.  Our kids took pigs several years, just so they could come home from fair with a little money.  Only the 2 dairy kids that got to sell the symbolic pail of milk got anything.  Usually just a couple of hundred bucks.  No big money at our fair.  We always got our kids pigs from a local Amish.  And guess what we actually had one win Grand Champion.  One year I watched a classmate of my 2nd son berating her parents, calling the judge stupid because she had spent a lot of money for her pig and hadn't won.  We always felt that the majority of the kids were at the fair just for the money and pigs were the easiest of the market animals and besides they are kind of fun. Even the pig showmanship was very laid back.  None of the right down on your pig, working it around the judge, it was just kind of wander around the ring and hope you could keep track of your animal.  Many years ago the daughter of the then Ag teacher was very aggressive in her showing. ( he actually is a breeder that people come from out of state for his pigs for their fairs)  and she showed pigs many other places besides our little fair.  Kids would make fun of her.  Of course she always won showmanship because the judges actually knew that what she was doing was the correct way.

Dairy got pretty competitive for a few years.  I never took it too seriously.  Only once for a beautiful 2 year old that I personally did the training on so she could go to the fair.  Gorgeous animal.  She was Grand champion 3 times in the 6 years she went to fair.  But mostly my kids just took their pets.  The ones they started out with as calves.  Taffy was the one I trained and Henry took her 6 years.   Sofia had this red one, Thunder, absolute disaster as a show animal. But Sofia loved her and she was wonderful in the barn because the little kids could crawl all over her if their parents were inclined to let them.  At home she'd come like a dog from the pasture when Sofia called her. Martha had Cotton.  A long legged not bad animal, except she had bad feet and would occasionally shake one of them as she walked.  Walter had Giggles.  An actually very good red cow.  She went 9 years and was Grand Champion twice.  I think every body in the county knew who Giggles was. Mostly because they always used her for the Sadie bingo.   It was kind of funny the last year she went.  She was so old, dry at the time.  Actually 3 quartered but you couldn't tell because she was dry.  Show day she walked into the ring, just cleared the gate so it could close behind her, set herself up perfectly and would not move again.  Very sweet judge that year.  A young girl.  She just laughed and said "well the old girl knows where she's at and what she's doing so we'll just let her stand there."  Course Giggles started working before the show was over and you know the judge really liked her.  Said she would have made her Reserve champion if she hadn't been dry.  LOL  Those were the ones my kids loved.  There were others that went of course because if you want to be competitive you got to have a good looking 2 year old there,  But these few animals are the ones that made all the wonderful fair memories for my kids.

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Honored Advisor

Re: Strange animal doings

In my case, I'd say it was not that I wasn't supposed to take a chance at losing - I participated in sports my entire youth.  I certainly did not always play on the winning side in every game. 

I'd say it was more that my father could not be bothered to take the time.  I heard a lot of reasons, but that is the true one. 

Is that a pointed enough answer? 

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Honored Advisor

Re: pride goeth before the fall

My post below explains the hog issue - it was cholera protection law. 

My family had a gilt stolen from a pasture, and even when it was found at the livestock market where it had been sold off by the thief, it could not be returned to us under that law.  If you ever knew anyone whose hogs had cholera - and I remember one family that did - you would understand why.  It was devastating. 

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Senior Contributor

Re: pride goeth before the fall

I think the animals that didn't get rosettes or trophies provided the best teaching moments for the kids. Humility is very hard to teach to kids that want to win for the fame and honor. It is more honorable to have not won a thing but learned a lot of information and made a lot of friendships. They will usually last longer than the dusty trophy sitting in a box.

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Senior Contributor

Re: pride goeth before the fall

Exactly.  When my kids reminisce about the fair it isn't about whether they won or loss, but the good times, goofy times and the friends.

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