The swine barn at the Moffat County Fairgrounds has been an active place this week. With squealing pigs, buzzing fans and laughing children, the building is filled with action.
"Right now, everybody's trying to get washed and ready for the show," parent Jimmy Kurz said Thursday morning.
The youths scurried around to get their animals bathed, shaved and presentable for the late afternoon competition. Kurz's daughter, Sara, 13, has good pigs, he said, but being at the fair makes them all a little skittish.
"Her pigs are used to being washed in a more open area," he said. "Now, being in a strange environment and penned up, it kind of freaks them out a little bit."
Some pigs try to escape and can usually make it halfway down the aisle before someone captures the animals and sends them in the right direction again.
"The price you pay for pretty pigs," Kurz said.
But once the pigs are contained again, the children and adults have a good laugh at the craziness of the barn.
"I rode one today," said 4-Her Adrie Camp, 11. "It was coming at me, and I tried to stop it like this, and it picked me up."
Kurz said this just comes with the territory.
"(Pigs) pretty much have a mind of their own," he said. "The bottom line is humans always win."
Clay Foulk, 17, a six-time swine showman, knows the ropes by now.
They can be hard to control, he said. "If you work with them enough, they aren't too wild."
But children like Nate Chap--man, 12, sometimes have trouble leading their pigs.
"They're so strong," he said.
He was nervous for his first time showing Thursday afternoon.
"You've been getting them ready for so long," he said. "And today's the big day."
Foulk still gets a little nervous, but says all the work and worry is worth the end result.
"You have fun doing it," he said, "then you get to sell the pigs and make a little bit of money."
He uses the profits from the livestock sale to pay for his truck, college and the following year's livestock. He really enjoys 4-H and has had a blast participating over the years.
"If I have kids," Foulk said, "I'll probably encourage them to do it."
Michelle Perry may be reached at 824-7031 or firstname.lastname@example.org.