Local 4-H champion gives pig show pointers to youth
July 25, 2001
Take one-part swine and one-part Devin Roberson, and you have a winning combination. The 17-year-old 4-H member has won Reserve Grand Champion Showmanship once, Reserve Grand Champion Market twice and Grand Champion Showmanship three times.
When it comes to pork Roberson knows his onions, and last Thursday he passed his championship knowledge on to 51 other aspiring 4-H members.
“We went over all of the basics of what needs to be done when showing a pig,” he said. “From what’s to be worn in the arena to how to prepare your pig. Swine is a popular kind of livestock to show, especially for younger children. The reason being is it a forgiving form of livestock, more so than cattle and sheep.”
“The kids still have to care for the animal, like anything else, but swine offers a greater margin of error than other kinds of livestock,” Moffat County 4-H Director Nate Balstad said.
The reason swine is more forgiving of mistakes is that the animal is more even tempered, easier to care for, and the physical judging stipulations are more lenient than in other shows.
Among the topics Roberson spoke about was the pre-show preparation of a swine, and how to feed and train a pig so that it looks and acts in a championship style.
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“There are just little things kids need to know about getting a pig ready, like not to switch its diet suddenly, and to use the least stressful methods on the pig,” he said.
After going over the basics of pig preparation, Roberson discussed what needs to be done in the arena to give the best performance possible. He talked about the proper attire that needs to be worn, how to treat the judges and how to handle a pig emergency.
“Kids need to know that if a pig gets away from them in the arena, they aren’t suppose to chase after them, since the judges will mark them down,” he said. “And, if a pig gets into a fight not to break it up themselves, the men with the pig boards will do that.”
He also gave tips on what can be expected from the judges.
“When you’re in the showmanship category it’s all how you carry yourself, and how you control your pig. It all comes down to how well you’ve prepared.” Roberson said. “The market section on the other hand is all about the pig, and the judges’ preferences.”
Roberson held the showmanship seminar to give back to a program that he feels has given so much to him.
“I’ve taken a lot away from 4-H, it’s a wonderful program,” he said. “It involves the entire family in all the events, and teaches a lot of responsibility along the way.”