Dustin Camp has been working all year long to make his pigs Toxic and Blackberry Wine picture-perfect. The hogs that weigh a combined 476 pounds had their chance to shine Thursday at the market swine show at the Moffat County Fair.
"It'd be kind of nice to win grand champion," the 13-year-old mused before the competition. The top award earns a belt buckle.
Participants are judged on how well they can handle their pigs in the ring before a judge. The pigs also need to be in good physical shape and clean, said Clay Foulk, 16, a member of the FFA.
"Pigs can be smart as long as you train them while they're young," he said. "You have to be good about guiding them left and right."
Participants in the swine show start by steering pigs into the ring that is filled with other pigs and their owners. Participants also have to keep their eyes on the judge "and remember to smile," Foulk said.
Knowing that his pig soon would be sold didn't affect the teenager much.
"It's not sad when you see the paycheck," he added.
Rodney Trail said the experience of raising pigs has been positive for him and his children. And children showing pigs really cash in when it's auction time, Trail said.
While the going price for pork is about 50 cents a pound, fair prices can fetch up to about $4 a pound.
"The kids don't learn much about the real market value of the animals," he said.
When Trail's children sell their pigs this year, most of the money will go toward investments toward next year's piglets and feed. That may cost up to $700, he said.
"It's a lot of fun," Trail said. "They're all just like big pets."