By Ryan Cornell
FRONT ROYAL -- Jordan Taylor celebrated a momentous birthday on Tuesday.
The morning he turned 18, Taylor, of Browntown, was named champion overall showman of the Warren County 4H Swine Show.
His 283-pound hog, Nibbles, also won grand champion market hog.
When Taylor first bought Nibbles in April, the 2-month-old hog weighed no more than 80 pounds. In the months since then, with it feasting on show pig feed and gaining about 2 pounds each day, Nibbles now looks every bit the part of a market hog.
Tim Mize, an agriculture agent with the Virginia Cooperative Extension in Fauquier County, judged the swine show.
"The really good showmen are actually the ones who don't stand out too much," he said. "Sometimes you can overshow, and with Jordan that hog was sort of on autopilot, it was just always in front of me, always walking out and never in the corner."
Mize said he looks for a number of factors when judging the hogs.
"In the market class, we're actually going to predict what the carcass is going to be, so we're looking at the amount of muscle and then also the amount of fat," he said. "We're trying to get that range there that's going to get us a lean carcass, but with enough cover on it."
For the showmanship category, Mize said he asked the 4Hers questions ranging in what was affecting the sow size herd this year to what they would change about their pig.
Jackie Markley, 18, was named reserve grand champion.
Her 279-pound Blue Butt, Bleu Cheese, performed well, but got a little overheated, she said.
The show hogs will be sold at an auction on Friday night and go to slaughter.
Contact staff writer Ryan Cornell at 540-465-5137 ext. 164, or firstname.lastname@example.org