Snorts greet Braxton Pope, Dominic Pope and Christian Pope as they walk up to their hog pen in the 4-H barn.
“My favorite part is when we get to pick out the piglets,” Braxton said.
“Mine too,” Christian echoed.
“I like to walk them,” Dominic said.
The Pope family is a part of the 4-H hog club that is getting ready for the Lincoln County Fair, Aug. 1-8.
Grace Tharp used to work with goats as well, but has since switched to only pigs.
“I don’t get stabbed with horns with the hogs,” Tharp said. After washing, deworming, and making sure the hogs hit the weight limit, Tharp said she is ready to do showmanship at the fair.
Cyndi Ashliman has been showing hogs for eight years. She also shows goats, rabbits, and roosters. However, the rabbits and roosters are staying home this year. Ashliman said she likes to show her animals and is ready for fair.
“I like walking them and teaching them how to go,” Ashliman said. “The go button is in the armpit and the turn button is on the side of the neck. There is a little more cushion there, so the whip doesn’t hurt them.” Ashliman said that walking them in front of the judges doesn’t always go as planned.
“They are hogs,” Ashliman said. “Sometimes they just don’t want to do what you want.”
Tharp said she isn’t sure how things will be different this year with COVID-19, but she assumes more space in between people will affect showing.
“I’ll know when I get there,” Tharp said.
All of the kids are ready for the fair; a few are ready for it to be over. Nearly everyone is ready for their new hogs.
“We look for a coke bottle shape,” Kabrie Witbeck said. “The judges like it better.”
“We also look for their personality,” Ashliman added. “A good personality makes it easier and more fun to work with.”