2008 Spring Swine Show

2008 Spring Swine Show
by Shannon Sturtz

On the cold morning of Saturday, February 16, 2008, the 72nd Annual Spring Swine Show took place at Four States Livestock Sales in Hagerstown through the generosity of Jim and Barb Starliper. The show is believed to be the longest running youth Swine Show in the eastern U.S. There were about 100 people in attendance. Mr. Blaine Brown, of Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania, served as the judge for the event. Fifty-six hogs were exhibited by seventeen Washington County 4-H / FFA exhibitors.
At 6:30 Saturday morning, Mr. and Mrs. Starliper had the furnaces running to warm the sale ring, where 4-H'ers and FFA members would be exhibiting their market hogs. In the barn, 4-H'ers along with FFA members and their families were unloading hogs, finding their way to an open pen, and beginning the morning chores to prepare for the day's activities.
Mr. Brown began the day evaluating the youth on their showmanship abilities at 9:00 a.m. followed by the market show. Fourteen exhibitors showed in the showmanship categories. Exhibitors were put into three classes of junior (8-10 year olds), intermediate (11-13 year olds), and senior (14-18 years old). The classes were based on their age. Mr. Brown watched the youth maneuver their animals around the show ring and then asked each individual a question regarding their animal or the swine industry.
Exhibitor Justin Martin, of Smithsburg, was awarded the honors of Champion Junior Showman. Taking the honors of Champion Intermediate Showman was Jordan Williams also of Smithsburg. The Senior Champion Showman of the day was Katherine McCormick of Smithsburg.
Following the selection of the senior showman, the winners of each age division competed for the top honors of Overall Master Showman. Justin, Jordan, and Katherine returned to the show ring to compete for the top honors of Overall Master Showman. Brown commented that each individual had good eye contact, and was knowledgeable about their animals. He also gave some showmanship advice about how to turn the hog to get it away from the corner and how to properly use the show cane. Junior exhibitor Justin Martin was selected as the overall master showman for his experience showing hogs. He made sure he watched his hog along with the judge, while using his show cane to maneuver the hog around the show ring.
In the market show, each 4-H'er and FFA member presented their hogs. The animals were divided into eleven classes based upon their body weight. A winner was selected from each class and competed for the top honors of Grand Champion Market Hog. A prize hog should be well balanced with excellent muscle expression and adequate fat for flavor. The ideal weight for a market hog is between 225 and 280 pounds.
As the judge moved carefully around the animals in the show ring during the Grand Champion drive, he narrowed down the field to three hogs after carefully determining which animal was the most complete in muscle quality, bone structure and body composition. Brown then announced the exhibitor with the champion market hog and then he shook the hand of senior 4-H'er Garrett Hamby of Williamsport, who was exhibiting his 266 lb. crossbred hog. Then Brown announced the second best market hog in the show, the Reserve Champion Market Hog. Brown then shook the hand of Tim Martin of Smithsburg, exhibiting his 246 lb. Yorkshire Cross.
The exhibitors then were asked to select their two best pigs to compete for the title of Champion Pair of Market Hogs. Senior 4-H'er Gabrielle Williams of Smithsburg, took home the honor of receiving the Champion Market Pair award for her 242 lb. and 256 lb. crossbred hogs.
While the show lasted a little over two hours, the work that went into these 4-H projects began months ago. Some of the exhibitors raise their own pigs from birth while others buy feeder pigs. Feeder pigs are young weanlings that weigh between 50 and 100 pounds. All the 4-Hers feed and care for their pigs for four to six months before showing them. Each 4-Her learned how to take care of their pigs through the swine project and through there daily farm chores. Most of these exhibitors would get up and go to the barn before going to school and go back to the barn after school to care of their animals. Through the swine project 4-Hers learn about swine management skills along with learning important life skills like responsibility and decision making.
Following the market shows at 2:00 p.m. 4-H and FFA exhibitors presented their animals to the public for sale and sold them to the highest bidder with the assistance from longtime supporter and auctioneer of Davis Auctioneering, Floyd Davis. The hogs that were sold ranged in weight from 210 to 278 pounds. Garrett Hamby's Grand Champion Market hog sold for $3.00 a pound to Wilson Ruritan Club of Hagerstown. The Wilson Ruritan Club has purchased the Grand Champion for over ten years. The club then donates the hog back and it is resold with the proceeds going to support the Washington County 4-H Swine Club. The animal was resold to John Clopper for $2.00 a pound with over $500 benefiting the 4-H Club.
Timmy Martin's Reserve Champion Market hog sold for $1.25 per pound to Eader's Butcher Shop and Trucking of Big Cove Tannery, Pennsylvania. Gabrielle Williams' Champion Market Pair Hogs were sold as a pair to Thomas and Sons Farms for a $1.00 per pound and were also donated back to support the Washington County 4-H Swine Club. The pair hogs were than resold individually to Eader's Butcher Shop and Trucking and to Charles and Faye Hose of Williamsport. Anyone sitting at ringside Saturday afternoon during the auction witnessed the true meaning of giving and community support of the 4-H program in Washington County.
The day was a great success. Youth were presented the opportunity to work together exhibiting their 4-H and FFA market hogs while speaking to members of the community before and during the sale. The day was filled with fun and excitement.
The Washington County 4-H/FFA Spring Swine show is an excellent opportunity for youth to utilize off-season pigs in the area. The show was developed so that youth could show their second litter of pigs that were born in the fall. Every year pigs have two sets of litters once in the spring and again in the fall. The show is always the Saturday before President's Day each year. We are currently planning the 73rd edition of the Show in February 2009 and hope to see you there.
On behalf of myself, the exhibitors, and the families, I would like to thank all the supporters assisting during the show and sale, Jim and Barb Starliper for their continued generosity supplying the facility, to auctioneer Floyd Davis and to all the buyers for purchasing the youth's animals. Without the volunteers the show would not have been such a success.
List of Buyers: Thank you to our 2008 buyers!
* Eader's Butcher Shop and Trucking
* Palmyra Farm
* Mike and Lisa Drake
* Gower's Feed Mill- Marvin Gower
* Tropical Acres- McCormick Family
* Donald Spickler Insurance
* Wilson Ruritan
* John Clopper
* MacIntosh Realtors- Jason Hose
* Martin's Elevator
* K's Place- Karen Beckley
* Charles and Faye Hose
* Brad Poffenberger
* Steve Martin
* Hoffmans Meats
* Tim Hession
* Cool Spring Farm- Allen Hess
* Dr. Ed Wrumb
* T & R Tires
* Dean Dawson
* Crown Stone Farms- JC Schnebly
* Davis Auctioneering- Floyd Davis
* Lisa Repp
* Joe Frey
* Thomas and Sons Farms
4-H is an educational organization for boys and girls who are at least eight years of age and have not passed their 19th birthday by January 1st. 4-H offers a variety of projects in the human sciences and animal sciences programs. The Clover Program is for youth ages 5-7. Programs are open to all regardless of race, color, sex, handicap, religion, age or national origin. For more information on the 2008 Spring Swine Show or about the 4-H Youth Development Program in Washington County, please call 301-791-1404 or email 4-H Extension Educator Shannon Sturtz at ssturtz@umd.edu.