No hamming it up at hog show - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

No hamming it up at hog show

Thomasville- Thomas County 4-H and FFA members held their annual Market Hog Show in Thomasville Monday afternoon. It was an event they spent months preparing for.

     The Thomas County Market Hog Show took a lot of training for showmen like Tyler Stephens to get off the ground. "Probably 4 or 5 months. You just kind of walk them around, get them used to the stick, you being there. And pointing them in the right direction," he says.

     Those months of hard work pay off in the ring. The name of this game is keeping a hog that weighs a couple of hundred pounds well-behaved for the judge. "You try and keep the pig in front of the judge, give him a good, clear view, not walk in front of him or anything. An keep your eye on him. You have to watch the judge," says Stephens.

     The "alleyway" is where the hogs are lined up before entering the main arena. It's also where the excitement of the competition begins. "We tell the young ones, if they start fighting, get out of the way and let the ring man separate them with partitions," says show chairman Ken Stringer.

     Stringer's years of experience come through. He says that while these types of events are fun, they're also a necessity to South Georgia. "If it wasn't for the show pig business in the south, hog farming would kind of be lost." That's because there are no major packing facilities around here.

     But as long as up and comer's like Stephens keep showing an interest, hogs can still bring in good money for South Georgia farmers. "They start at about a dollar, and may go up to 4 and a half, to 5 dollars a pound," says Stringer. That's big money when you've got a farm full of big pigs.

     The people who participate in hog shows generally raise the animals from piglets. After the event, they can either keep the animals for next year, or make a little money selling them at market value.

Posted by stephen.ryan@walb.com