Kids kick off market season with swine weigh-in
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LEETOWN — Emily Everhart pigs have got some growing up to do. And that’s a good thing.
On Saturday morning, Emily, 14, and her 11-year-old sister Jenna brought their two pigs each to the Jefferson County Fairgrounds to check them in and weigh and tag them; it’s the start of fair season when area young people obligate themselves to spend a season with four-legged charges of their choice for the purpose of showing and selling them.
Emily said both her pigs weighed in at 95 pounds. A good start. By fair week, hogs have got to weigh between 215 to 285 pounds, said swine superintendent Matt Miller. Anything else and they can be shown, but not sold.
Saturday’s market swine weigh-in saw 105 pigs get tagged and weighed, Miller said, adding some of the pigs showed up for the weigh-in already looking a little too porky.
“There’s a couple that were coming through that could have went to the fair tomorrow,” he said.
Emily, a student at Shepherdstown Middle School, is in her sixth year with the Shenandoah Shamrocks 4-H Club. She’s raised pigs, lambs and one year, a steer. This year, Jenna, a student at Shepherdstown Elementary School, was last year’s Junior Miss. She is raising two pigs of her own and a couple of breeding goats.
Emily got her pigs about two weeks ago. She said she plans to sell whichever one shows the best. The other one will go to a livestock sale. She hopes to earn enough from the sale to be able to buy more next year.
For her, showing at the Jefferson County Fair is all about meeting new people and getting to do something fun. The pigs can get a little crazy, she says, but it’s worth it.
“They’re less work, except when you’re giving them a bath,” she said. “But you can’t be wild around them of they’ll go wild too.”
Katie Thorsell, 24, and a student teacher and Charles Town Middle School and Washington High School calls the experience a good one for young people.
“It’s hard work and it takes dedication and responsibility,” said Thorsell, who also raised pigs for the fair and also kept horses and cattle. “But this is a great opportunity for kids to learn things they won’t learn anywhere else. There’s nothing else like it.”
The Jefferson County Fair begins on Aug. 18.