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Children take to the ring to showcase prize hogs at Washington County Ag Expo

July 22, 2013|By KAREN MAWDSLEY | kmawdsley@schurz.com

Amid a frenzy of oinks, hay and driving tools, dozens of children took to the ring Monday to showcase their prize hogs at this year’s 4-H/FFA and Open Class Swine Show at the Washington County Ag Expo and Fair.

Participants could showcase both their showmanship and their market hogs in the two sections of the competition. Each section was further divided into classes, which usually contained between four and six entrants.

For showmanship, those classes were grouped into junior, for ages 8 to 10; intermediate, 11 to 13; and senior, 14 to 18.

For the market swine show, they were grouped into weight divisions: light, 176 to 237 pounds; medium, 240 to 263 pounds; and heavy, 264 to 288 pounds.

“Mr. Judge, this is your class,” the announcer would say once all the contestants and animals were in the ring.

David Gordon, a graduate of Middletown High School, then Towson University in 2004, served as the sole judge for Monday’s swine competition. He works as an educator for the University of Maryland Extension, an agriculture-focused education program within the University of Maryland System.

Contrary to previous years, this year’s showmanship competition started with the older youngsters, who could serve as an example to their younger counterparts, Gordon announced.

The competitors worked diligently to demonstrate Gordon’s “first cardinal rule of showmanship,” which is: “Never get between me and your hog.”

While all participants received ribbons presented by Ag Expo and Fair Queen Valerie Mason, only a select few left the ring as champions, receiving boards donated by the Washington County Swine Club and canes from Martin’s Elevator of Hagerstown.

The champion junior showman was Abigail Spielman; the champion intermediate showman was Gunner Crawford; and the champion senior and overall champion showman was Todd Welch.

In the market swine competition, the champion light weight was shown by Erin Corbett, and the reserve champion light weight by Kiley Slimmer; the champion medium weight was shown by Todd Welch and the reserve champion medium weight by Mackenzy Crawford.

The heavy weight champion was shown by Gunner Crawford and the heavy weight reserve champion by Justin Martin. Gunner Crawford received the award for grand champion market swine and Todd Welch for reserve grand champion market swine.

Carly Shaw took the champion county bred and owned award, with Justin Martin as reserve. Braxton Griffith was recognized for his champion pair of hogs.

As the final and youngest showmanship class retreated from the ring, it seemed its participants had already learned from the older children.

“I think our swine class will be in good hands for the future,” Gordon said.

The Washington County Ag Expo and Fair, which opened July 20, runs though Saturday. Daily admission is $6 for anyone age 2 and older, and includes unlimited carnival rides but not track events. A weekly pass costs $35 and does not include track events. Gates open at noon.

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