Strutting their stuff

Empire FFA’s Dillon Johnson walks his Chester Market Barrow pig, Hoss, during the Stephens County Junior Livestock Show 70th Annual Premium Sale Friday evening. Hoss placed third in his class at the competition.

Some participants in the 70th Annual Premium Sale at the Stephens County Junior Livestock Show took the opportunity to strut their stuff.

Wearing an array of hats, bandanas, tu-tus, bows, glitter and bling, these “it” girls and boys of the pig world placed high in their class and brought in top dollars.

The reason behind the pigs’ fashion statements has a lot to do with good, old fashioned fun.

Chavez, Jacob Hall’s Poland Market Barrow, entered the arena glittering gold from head to hoof, the effect of colored hairspray.

Hall’s reason behind creating Chavez’s jazzy style? It was done all in the name of fun.

“He’s just all glittery,” Empire FFA’s Hall said.

When Velma-Alma 4-H’s Mercedes Brown’s Cross Market Barrow took his turn, there was no doubt to anyone in the audience what his name was.

NIBBLES, spelled in foam letters, adorned the right side of the pig, who was also covered in colored shamrocks.

“I just did it so everyone will know his name,” Brown said. “Plus, it’s fixing to be St. Patrick’s Day.”

For Hoss, Dillon Johnson’s Chester Market Barrow, the day started off pink and ended up a schmorgeous board color.

Sporting a orange strip down the center of his back and green, yellow and pink polka dots and stripes, Hoss was certainly an eye-catcher.

“I wanted to do something different than last year’s show,” Empire FFA’s Johnson said. “I figured I’d make him look a little pretty.”

The product behind Hoss’s look? Colored hairspray mixed with glitter.

But dressing up their animals is only part of what these kids do.

“I walk him for 30 minutes and feed and water him in the morning and afternoon,” Hall said. “It’s like a big dog.”

Brown can certainly attest to that. Nibbles plays fetch.

She doesn’t use a ball or a stick, though. A rag does the trick and like his pawed friends, sometimes Nibbles will just run off with it, leaving Brown to “fetch” him.

“All of my family says he’s a dog,” she said. “It’s fun.”

In the past, Johnson has taught his pigs how to sit.

“They’re pretty smart,” he said, noting that sometimes that’s exactly what leads to their stubborn personalities.

And while the pigs certainly bring an air of excitement in the ring, in the end, the premium sale is all about supporting the kids.

Contrary to what the name suggests, the animals aren’t really “sold.” Their local booster clubs raise prize money for the animals who make it to market.

The proceeds, in turn, go directly to the kids.

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