The theory of how to show a pig sounds pretty simple, even fun, right up to the point when a live pig is added to the equation.
4-H kids spent Friday learning about swine, how to take care of them and show them at the first Eastern Idaho Swine Camp at the state fairgrounds. The kids learned how to give shots, how to notch ears, the different breeds of pigs, what to feed them and how to show them.
Presenter Lynsee Shaffer from Albany, Ind., taught four tips about showing swine.
"My first and most important tip is always maintain eye contact with the judge," Shaffer said.
"Keep the pig moving.
"When moving the pig around the ring, do not get between the judge and your pig," she said. "You want the judge to see your pig, not you. The order of showing is: you, the pig and the judge.
Finally, maintain "the look," said Shaffer. "Look professional. Girls, make sure your hair stays out of your face."
The 45 4-H kids were divided into three groups. They spent the morning learning about pigs and how to care for them. In the afternoon, they learned about showing pigs and practiced doing it.
Shaffer worked with each student, pointing out how to hold and handle a whip, how to handle the pig in the ring and how to help your pig stand out to the judge.
"Never run when you're in the ring," she said. "If your pig runs from you, do not change your pace as you approach your animal," Shaffer said. "Keep a measured, steady pace."
She also discussed how to clip your pig and what she, as a judge, looks for when judging swine.
The training continues with a Junior Jackpot Show today on the Eastern Idaho State Fairgrounds.
Hogs were transported from southeastern Idaho, the Burley and Twin Falls area and Vernal, Utah, for the jackpot, said organizer Robert Johnson. The jackpot helps 4-H kids get ready for the county and state fairs.
The camp was sponsored by The Idaho Pork Producers.
"They gave us $1,500 for this camp," Johnson said. "We feel fortunate Lynsee [the presenter] is here. We would like to see her come back."
"My grandpa started our family farm in 1963," Shaffer said. "I attended Butler Community College in El Dorado, Kan. For my junior year, I transferred to Purdue University and graduated in 2011 in ag (agricultural) education.
"I taught one year and decided to go back into [swine] production," she said. "We have a full family farm."
Her advice on choosing a quality pig is "judge by structure."
"Everything about a pig can be changed except the structure of the animal," said Shaffer.