I had every intention of writing a long and sentimental post about the 2010 Kentucky State Fair hog show.
Unfortunately, I’m still recovering from a month full of farrowing pigs, unpacking my apartment, sleep deprivation, settling into classes and the annual dose of “barn bug” that accompanies spending 5 days at the fair.
I’ll get all sentimental after life slows down a little, for now I’m just going to update everyone on how the fair and the weeks leading up to it went.
We sold our stocker calves the first week of August.
This is the most stressful time of year for my dad because we’re at the mercy of the always volatile cattle market. Luckily, this year things went in our favor. Dad came home with a smile on his face and we went out for a celebratory family supper.
Normally, when the cattle sell things relax around Laurent Family Farms.
This year, however, was my brother Bud’s first year of college.
When he moved to Lexington to attend the University of Kentucky we lost not just his company but a valuable farm hand, leaving extra work for us girls.
With one sister the captain of her high school soccer team and the other busy with marching band rehearsals, the extra work usually fell on me.
Luckily, I was able to recruit help from my fiance Aaron and my 3 year old brother Daniel (who usually provided more entertainment than help).
I spent most of August smelling like a pig.
We had 6 showpigs to get ready for the Kentucky State Fair.
This meant feeding special rations to make sure they look their best on show day, clipping their hair and keeping their hair and skin as clean as possible.
As if that didn’t keep us busy enough, the litters of pigs we raise for the Louisiana state show are always born during the State Fair.
This is especially stressful because our entire family spends nearly a week in Louisville with the show pigs, leaving the sows and piglets at home.
Though we always make arrangements for a friend to look after the farm, nothing makes us more nervous than the possibility for a sow to go into labor without us there to handle any complications.
Luckily, two litters were born the day before we left and my parents planned to come home early to be there when the last ones was born.
Aaron and I took the showpigs to Louisville on the 24th, leaving the rest of the family to take care of the newborn pigs until the next morning when they met us at the fair.
This was the first time my parents had ever fully trusted me with all the showpigs.
My siblings and I have always made the final decisions with the showpigs but we always had my parents there to offer their advice and guidance.
This year, however, my parents would only be at the fair for the 25th and 26th before they headed home to care for the sows and piglets.
Adding to the stress was the fact that this was the first time we had raised every pig we were showing.
We were anxious and nervous to see how they’d stack up against pigs that other showmen had purchased out of state.
In the end, all our nerves were for nothing.
My sister Renee and her beloved crossbred barrow won their division of showmanship.
In the swine skillathon (a test over industry knowledge) I took top honors in the senior division, with Renee only trailing me by three questions.
In the junior market hog show we won a yorkshire class and crossbred class. Our crossbred class winner was named Reserve Champion Lightweight Crossbred.
In the junior breeding show, one of our yorkshire gilts was named Reserve Grand Champion Kentucky Proud Breeding Gilt!
In the open breeding show, our two purebred yorkshire gilts were 1st and 2nd in their class.
Most meaningful to me, were the many compliments we got from other showmen and breeders.
Even the open show judge approached me to tell me how much he admired our pigs and that we had a lot to be proud of.
I couldn’t agree more!
We didn’t just make it through another August, we got to see years of hard work pay off.
As I look back on the longest month of the year, I can’t help but be proud of everything we accomplished.
We didn’t get much sleep and we worked our tails off, but we’ve got 4 class winners, 3 litters of pigs and thousands of memories to show for it.
Ok, maybe I did get a little sentimental.