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[caption width="250" caption=" Trent Fielding poses with his heavy-weight barrow after winning the championship Monday afternoon at the Delaware County Jr. Fair. (Gazette | Kate Liebers) "][/caption]

KATE LIEBERS

Staff Writer

The barrow hogs at this year’s Delaware County Fair are much better than last year, a judge declared Monday before awarding top barrow honors to Trent Fielding

In addition to the barrow heavy weight championship, Trent left the show with two additional awards: barrow grand champion and medium weight gilt reserve champion.

At 262 pounds, Trent’s hog was the lightest pig; the heaviest was 280. More so than weight, judge Donna Hines said she was looking for an animal that can move easily and “balances muscle and design.”

These are the telling signs for a hog that is fit enough to put on consumers’ plates, Hines said.

A slight swelling in one pig’s rear legs, for instance, did not go unnoticed.

The hog had only slipped earlier that day, which Hines said was heart-wrenching in terms of the competition. Yet on the market, these details matter; Hines said a pig prone to limping may not fare well in a commercial setting in which pigs are in pens with 20 others.

This is why her judging is based on the hog’s structural integrity, she said.

Trent said the judge was precise in her critique, and was excited that his hog won her favor.

He has collected various awards over the eight years he has been working with pigs, yet this is his first grand championship. Last year, Trent won the grand championship for medium weight, he said.

The top champions this year agreed that feeding the pig well is key. Trent said he fed his hog a combination of Show-Rite animal feed and oats for the past three to four months.

The heavy weight barrow reserve championship went to Joey Millspaugh, who has also been working with pigs for about eight years. This is the first year he’s placed in the heavy weight division at the county fair.

He attributed his success to hard work and good luck.

Jessica Harsh, who won Market Pig Showman of Showmen on Sunday, won the gilt grand championship on Monday. This is the third year she has been working with hogs and the second year she has won the gilt championship.

Joey Millspaugh was awarded the barrow reserve championship and Colton Weber was awarded the gilt reserve championship.

Even more important than the plaques and ribbons was the evidence that the competitors had improved from last year, Hines said.

“We want to make sure we’re using the animal as a vehicle to develop leadership in our kids,” said Hines. “Pigs go to market, but we keep our kids for a long time.”

The championship awards will be finalized pending a drug test, which was administered immediately after the judge’s selection.

The pigs are scheduled to be auctioned on the fairgrounds at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday.

Other champions included: Aaron Zieg, champion medium weight barrow; Drew Hopkins, reserve champion medium weight barrow; Jack Nebraska, champion light weight barrow; Logan Sellers, reserve champion light weight barrow; Colton Webers, champion heavy weight gilt; Cole Davis, reserve champion heavy weight gilt; Aubree Clase, champion light weight gilt; Emily Warnock, reserve champion light weight gilt.

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