4-H members strut their stuff, highlighting handling skills in showmanship class at annual livestock competition
By Kaitlin Mayhew -- firstname.lastname@example.org
FRONT ROYAL -- Elizabeth Barron has been around farm animals her entire life.
On Tuesday, she won two overall prizes for her hogs Pearl and Plankton at the Warren County Fair 4-H Hog Show.
"I named all my animals after 'Spongebob' characters this year," she said.
Barron, 15, grew up on her family's farm in Hume. She attends Fauquier High School.
Barron has also been showing hogs at the Warren County Fair show for three years.
She said the first step to the competition is making sure the hogs are really clean, especially their ears and feet.
"They judge you on how well you walk them and how you do with the judge in the showmanship class," she said.
Barron competed in all three classes on Tuesday, showmanship, market and breeding.
The showmanship class deals mostly with the handler, whereas the market and breeding classes have more to do with how the pig looks, said the judge of the event, Chris Terembes.
"[In the showmanship class] I was looking for someone who was relaxed but still looked like they wanted to win," he said "Also someone who could keep their eye on me while keeping their pig under control."
Terembes holds an associate's degree in Agricultural Technology from Virginia Tech and is currently a senior at Kansas State seeking his bachelors of science in animal science and industry. He is due to judge another fair in Greene County today.
Barron was awarded overall second place in the showmanship class, and the grand champion in the breeding class.
She said she spends about an hour a day with her pigs at home, feeding and watering them, cleaning out their pens and just spending time with them.
Barron also handles them a lot, and weighs them once a week. She also has other show animals in the fair -- two goats, two lambs and a steer.
"I've been around animals since I was born," she said. "I think [4-H] will help because I want to be a vet."
Barron said she plans on competing in the Warren County Fair shows as long as she is able. The oldest handlers can be in the 4-H shows is 19.
Terembes said he thought all the 4-H handlers did well on Tuesday, even given the debilitating heat.
"I think all the kids did a great job keeping their hogs together," he said. "I'd never been to Warren County before, but it's a great fair with good facilities."