MOUNT VERNON — Seventeen classes of ham on the hoof were featured Monday at Knox County Fair’s Market Hog Show, starting with “lightweight” gilts and barrows at 220 pounds and moving to the 280-pound “heavyweight” class.
Show judge Todd Creager said he was very impressed with the overall quality of the swine, and sometimes had a bit of a hard time choosing one over another to lead the class.
“Even the bottom end of these classes,” he said, “ are pretty darn good.”
He announced the qualities of each animal presented, discussed whether it met certain criteria related to frame size, maturity, build, design, skin, hair and the like, and explained why he chose the class winner and ranked others as he did. Sometimes, he said, it came down to an animal’s feet and legs. Although it was not a showmanship competition, Creager pointed out those exhibitors who demonstrated good showmanship skills.
Before the final round, carcass hog winners were announced. Monique Adam, Better Livestock 4-H Club, exhibited the champion carcass hog; Josh Stimpert, Critters and Creators 4-H Club, had the reserve champion carcass.
The 17 class winners then returned to the ring for the championship drive and the judge scrutinized them again, comparing builds, confirmation and even how they moved around the ring.
The championship market hog trophy was awarded to Kari Bartley, a first-time participant as a 4-H’er. She thought it was pretty cool to win her first year, and said she really didn’t do anything special with her pig. Bartley, a member of the Cloverleaf Chums 4-H Club, has been showing in open classes for several years.
Mason Shipley’s hog received the reserve champion designation. Shipley was happy to win the trophy for the first time in five years of competition as a member of the Redbrush 4-H Club.
Creager then rounded out the list of top 10 market hogs.
He expressed his appreciation for the audience, the quality of the animals and the opportunity to judge a show in “such a great setting.” Creager also praised the ring help, and said, “I enjoyed my stay here. I enjoyed the people. And most of all, I enjoyed the kids.”
Prior to the start of the show, two winners of scholarships sponsored by the Knox County Pork Council were introduced. They are nine-year 4-H member Tori Carpenter, a sophomore at Ashland University majoring in elementary education and special education; and 10-year 4-H member Christina Fry, a nursing major at Mount Vernon Nazarene University.
A complete list of winners will appear in the results tab in the Aug. 5 edition of the News.