Even with the rain there was a big crowd Friday at the Minnesota State Fair. Again this year I was asked to be the announcer for  the 4-H Swine Show. There was a Gilt and Barrel Ring going at the same time. With two announcers, two judges and one sound system you had to jump in as soon as there was a break. My task was to call the different classes to the staging area and then announce the placing for each class.

I always especially enjoy watching the Showmanship contest. This contest is all about how well the 4-H member has trained, prepared and handled the pig in the show ring. That means how was the pigs skin, hair, did the pig go where the exhibitor wanted them to? Was the 4-H member watching the judge?

When showing cattle you lead the animal around the ring on a halter. However, with pigs you "drive" the pig around the ring. The exhibitor, in this case 4-H member has a small whip or stick. By tapping the pig on the right or left shoulder the pig while walking slowly will turn right or left. It the pig is not moving, a tap on the rump and the pig will begun walling.

You do not beat or whip the pig to get them to move! If the 4-H member has spent a lot of time training and practicing with the pig, it will go where they are supposed too! Otherwise, all you have is pigs running around the show ring! There are three classes in showmanship, Advanced, Senior and Intermediate. In the center of the picture is Maddie Patterson from Goodhue County. Maddie was Reserve Champion in the Advanced Showmanship contest!

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