4-Hers Go Hog Wild

WAPAKONETA — Area students showed off their hogs during Wednesday morning’s Junior Fair Market Hog Show at the Auglaize County Fair.

Participants led their hogs around the swine arena as they were judged on their size and coat.

“They want really big muscles in the pigs and a big loin — the line down their back,” Wes Hirschfeld said after showing a gilt. “They want a very full look.”

The St. Marys student said this is his 11th year in 4-H, and he started out as a Cloverbud.

“This is my seventh year in pigs,” he said.

Hirschfeld noted all of the other fair events he is participating in this year.

“I have steers, sewing, woodworking, designing interiors, art is expression, demonstrations, a safety speech and a safety skit,” he said. “I have six projects and three speaking events.”

He added what he likes about being in the fair.

“You get to do a lot of different things, and you learn a lot,” Hirschfeld said.

Hirschfeld, along with his older sister Victoria, are members of the Lakeside 4-Hers Club. Victoria Hirschfeld was also participating in the market hog show.

“I did take steers for several years,” she said. “I’m just taking hogs this year.”

She added she has been showing for a few years.

“I’ve been showing hogs for about 10 years in regular 4-H,” she said. “I did do peewee showmanship. In all, I’m a 14-year member of 4-H.”

Victoria Hirschfeld is also participating in other events.

“I’m also doing sewing, woodworking and demonstrations,” she said. “I like sewing because it gives me a lot — it’s a big learning experience — and I can prepare my own clothes.”

She described showing at the fair as a “good learning experience.”

“I’m not doing it to win, but if I get something, that’s great,” she said. “It’s a big learning experience. It’s fun being able to do all you can do here.”

St. Marys student Shelby Core also participated in the Market Hog Show — bringing home first place in her class for one of her hogs.

“At the fair this year, I am doing my swine project — I’m taking two pigs, and I’m the pork queen,” Core said. “This is my 10th year and my last year of 4-H.”

To prepare her hogs for the fair, Core said it takes a lot of work.

“You have to work with them a lot, you have to walk with them a lot,” she said. “You have to know the right things to feed them, things like Paylean, which makes their muscles leaner.”

During fair, Core said, water is a big focus because of the heat.

“You have to make sure they have fresh water all the time,” she said.

Core said she also participates in quality insurance meetings, which entails the “moral way to care for your animals.”

“Basically, you treat them how you’d want to be treated,” she said. “You have to keep the animals clean and spend time walking with them. The more time you spend with them, the better they are at walking with you.”

Core said she has enjoyed participating in the fair every year.

“All the work you’ve been doing has paid off,” she said. “Everyone comes here — you get to see everyone’s project and meet new people. I like the whole atmosphere.”

Core, who is a member of the Moulton Lucky Livestock Raisers, said she will miss participating in the fair in the years to come.

“Even though this is my last year, I’m definitely coming back next year and the year after that,” she said, adding her father is the adviser of her 4-H group, so she may continue to help with the group. “Maybe I’ll try and be an adviser or helper or something because I really like it.”