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Swine show, sale a success

February 20, 2007|by DONIELLE INSKEEP

Snow, ice and low temperatures couldn't keep the Washington County Swine enthusiasts indoors Saturday, Feb. 17. After a long week of school closings, delays, and cabin fever starting to set in, Washington County's 4-H Swine Club members were excited and anxious to load their market hogs and travel to Four States Livestock Sales in Hagerstown for the Washington County 4-H/FFA Spring Swine Show.

At 6:30 Saturday morning, Jim and Barb Starliper had the furnaces running to warm the sale ring, where 4-H'ers and FFA members would be exhibiting their market hogs. Fred Burkholder from Maugansville Ruritan had the warmest seat in the house, serving breakfast in the kitchen to the early rising youth. In the barn, 4-H'ers, FFA members and their families were unloading hogs, finding their way to an open pen, and begining the morning chores to prepare for the day's activities.

Mr. Josh Flohr, of Emmitsburg Md., began evaluating the youth on their showmanship abilities at 9:30 a.m. Mr. Flohr watched the showmen maneuver their animals around the ring and then asked each individual a question regarding their animal or the swine industry.

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Justin Martin, of Smithsburg, was awarded the honors of Champion Junior Showman. Taking the honors of Champion Intermediate Showman was Scott DeBaugh of Boonsboro. The senior champion showman of the day was Garrett Hamby of Williamsport.

Following the selection of the senior showman, Justin, Scott, and Garrett returned to the show ring to compete for the top honors of Overall Master Showman. Flohr commented that each individual had good eye contact, and was knowledgeable about their animals. He selected Garrett Hamby as the overall master showman because he answered his question regarding the changes he would like to make in the swine industry very confidently and for his greater experience showing hogs.

For the market show, each 4-H'er and FFA member presented their pigs. The animals were divided into classes based upon their body weight. A winner was selected from each class and competed for the top honors of Grand Champion Market Hog. As the judge moved carefully around the animals in the show ring, he took one final look to determine which animal was the most complete in muscle quality, bone structure and body composition. He announced he would take one last look and then shake the hand of the exhibitor with the champion market hog.

As the audience's eyes carefully followed Flohr, the anticipation grew, and then he shook the hand of senior 4-H'er Garrett Hamby, who was exhibiting his 268-pound crossbred gilt. Then Flohr made a second lap around the show ring looking for the second best market hog in the show, the Reserve Champion Market Hog. With still a smile on his face from receiving the Grand Champion Market hog, the judge reached out and shook Garrett's hand once again, for he had won Reserve Champion with his barrow, which was also a class winner.

If there was a triple crown winner awarded in the swine show arena that day, Garrett would have received the award. "This has been a dream of mine for a long time," said Garrett, as he rubbed his head grinning as if the excitement had not truly set in yet.

The exhibitors then were asked to select their two best pigs to compete for the title of Champion Pair of Market Hogs. Senior 4-H'er Timmy Martin of Smithsburg took the honor with his pair of Yorkshire market hogs. "The hogs were similar in their design, and uniform in their muscling," Flohr said.

At 2 p.m. the 4-H'ers and FFA members presented their animals to the public for sale with the assistance from longtime supporter and auctioneer Floyd Davis. Wilson Ruritan purchased the Grand Champion Market Hog for $3.25 a pound, and then donated the animal back to be resold for the proceeds to benefit the Washington County 4-H Swine Club.

The hog was auctioned again and purchased by John Clopper for $2 a pound, with over $500 going to the 4-H club. Clopper then gave the animal back to Garrett.

Anyone sitting at ringside Saturday afternoon during the auction witnessed the true meaning of giving and community support for the 4-H program in Washington County. For these generous individuals and others donated animals back to be resold to benefit the community service projects and programs in which the 4-H'ers participate. Wayne Gaver of Middletown, Md., purchased the Reserve Champion Market Hog and Martin's Elevator purchased the Champion Pair of Market Hogs.

The day was a great success. Youth were presented the opportunity to work together exhibiting their 4-H and FFA market hogs while speaking to members of the community during the sale. Flohr said he believed the Washington County 4-H/FFA Spring Swine Show was an excellent opportunity for youth to utilize off-season pigs in the area.

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