It was the beginning of the summer of 2017, and we were in the car on the way to Des Moines, Iowa to show at the 30th annual World Pork Expo. This swine show isn’t just any show; there are people from all over the world at this show. I met people from as far away as New Zealand and Australia. This show is in the top 10 largest swine shows in the nation with over 23,000 people that attended throughout a 4 day span. This is the greatest pig show of all time; this is the World Pork Expo!
The trip to get there lasted about twelve hours,and took us through five different states on the way there. Unfortunately, the people we were following to Des Moines decided that they were going to drive the entire way in the middle of the night. We made two stops along the way one was in Amarillo,Tx and the other was in the heart of Kansas. So when we arrived at our destination, it was about three in the morning so everyone got a hotel room and clocked out for the rest on the day.
We woke up the next morning, hopped in the truck, and headed to the Iowa State Fair grounds. There weren’t very many people there on the first day since all we were doing is unloading our trailers into the barn and getting set up. Once we got everything into place we went back to get our animals off the trailers , and since they had been on the trailer for over 24 hours they were afraid of just about anything they saw. We all lined up and herded them into one big pen the slowly look them to their individual pen one by one.The only thing is those were all female pigs and I had a male, so he couldn't be in the same are at the females since that is risk of getting one of the females impregnated on accident. I had taken the pig down to the other end of the barn where the boar (male) pens are and left him there.
Feeding time was really chaotic that day since I had to walk so far just to feed one pig, while I had six others on the totally opposite side of this half mile long barn. The man I was with was telling me exactly what to feed and I had to remember everything what he said right when he said it, so I kinda felt like a waiter trying to remember a family's order at a restaurant. When all of this is happening, my dads flight still hasn’t even left Texas yet so I was all on my own trying to feed six hogs at once. I was really stressed out from the time we got the until my dad got there to help, because my little brother Jack is not helpful at all. He would be more worried about going and throwing the football with his friend rather than trying to tend to his own pigs, no, he wanted me to do all the work just so he would be the one ending up showing. My dad took care of that problem as soon as he got there and thing went a lot smoother as you can imagine.
On show day, I pretty much woke up ready to hit the showring and see what I could accomplish that day. So we leave the hotel and get to the barn, and when we got there, you could barely even see the ground five feet away from you there were so many people. I went to the pen that had my pig in it, and I got her all cleaned up and show ready. I was really dreading trying to walk my pig through a crowd of people that big to get to the show ring, but i did it and get in ne of the holding pens beside the ring. It was my turn to go into the ring and I was ready as I would ever be, the gate swung open and I walked my pig straight out with her head pointing toward the sky. The judge like her immediately and put her in a different pen so that he could compare my pig to the better ones in the class after mine. When I went back out is when stuff started getting serious. It was the top pigs in that specific breed and my pig was one of them. He had driven us for about ten minutes before he finally started explaining which one would be that champion. When he was done talking we walked out and shook the hand of the champion and reserve cross gilts. Then he worked his was from 3rd to last and I was the one that got third overall. I was the happiest I’ve ever been. After I walked out of the ring my family swarmed me with great jobs, it was the best feeling in the world. At the end of the day I walked out of that big barn with a 3rd overall banner and a smile on my face, and I’ve only showed one pig. My mind immediately went to the thought of my boar, who was supposed to be really good according to my dad.
The next day was the boar (male pig) show and the crossbreed showed at eight o’clock that morning. I was tired, but I was ready as I would ever be. We took him to the ring with the thirty other opposing pigs as well. The judge stares at the for a while before he finally picks up the microphone and starts talking about which on will win the class. The judge puts me in 4th place which is a guaranteed spot in the sale. With this being my first year i was very nervous and didn't know what to expect when i got there, but in the end i am very happy with how i did last year at the World Pork Expo and will definitely be going back for years to come