Friday morning, March 26th at 8 am in the pavilion of the George H Henderson Exposition Center in Lufkin, Brookelyn Powell will be competing against 66 other exhibitors in the market hog show. It is the Angelina County Fair and Brookelyn has been preparing for months.
Brookelyn attends Diboll Jr High and is active in the Diboll 4-H club. Her family includes her mom and dad, Amber and Clay Powell, sisters Abigail Powell and Ashley Husband, and brothers Trevor Powell and James McEntire. In addition to raising livestock, she says she likes to paint and draw.
This is her first year to show a hog and her second year to show rabbits. Brookelyn states, “I chose to show rabbits because it has been a family tradition for many generations.” When asked why she chose to show a pig, this sweet junior high student said, “I like hogs and they taste good too!”
Brookelyn named her hog “Oddball” and raising and showing ‘Oddball’ requires dedication, hard work and a little luck. Selecting a good animal, providing good facilities, developing a sound feeding and health program, learning showmanship and paying attention to details every day are all important.
Pigs raised for this year’s show were entered and received an ear tag in December. From that point until the hog show on Friday morning, March 27, families have been carefully feeding and raising their project.
Exhibitors usually select their animals when the pigs are 8 to 10 weeks old and weigh from 40 to 80 pounds. The challenge is to try to predict what that feeder pig will look like at market weight, which is about 250 pounds or 6 months of age.
Brookelyn me her best memory is when “my pig Oddball climbed up my back and started trying to eat my hair.”
Once at home, pigs are given prime attention. The most important nutrient is clean water. Checking the water is a daily task. Nutrients and feed intake are monitored closely and there is lots of competition among feed companies to provide the best blended feed to raise a champion.
Brookelyn says her hardest part is, “trying to give my pig a bath because he does not like the water.”
Exhibitors will practice walking them with a “bat” or “whip” which they use to tap on the shoulders to gently direct which way the hogs will walk in the show ring.
Hogs may weigh no less than 230 lbs. and no more than 280 lbs. at the official weigh-in. Entries that fail to meet these weights will be disqualified.
The Angelina County Fair allows exhibitors to show either a barrow (castrated male) or gilt (young female). If you watch the show, you will notice that gilts are heavily favored in the competition and, as such, are shown by most everyone.
Her mom, Amber, says her children have been showing in the Angelina County Fair for the last five years. She said, “I think Brookelyn has benefitted most from learning about responsibility and accountability for something other than herself. I wish other families knew that being a part of a 4-H/FFA club can help you children make new friends and help learn lifelong lessons.”
Amber adds, “I wish people knew how much time and effort our kids put into their animals and projects. I also want people to know how rewarding it is for a child to raise and be responsible for an animal and that the bond they share with that animal is incredible to witness. It’s not about winning it’s about the experiences the encounter and the lessons they learn along the way.”
After the judge determines his placing, only the top 48 hogs will be sold at auction starting at 4 pm on Saturday, March 27.
Looking way ahead, Brookelyn has plans. “In the future I want to go to college to be a teacher, and I want to live on a farm with lots of animals.” For more information about this year’s Fair, go to www.angelinacountyfair.com.