FFA and 4H students have bonded with their hogs for two months, training and exercising them by using a stick as a guide as they walk, washing the mud off them and giving them haircuts to prepare for one moment — the annual hog show.
Pigs and their trainers got to strut their stuff Wednesday at the Miller County Fair hog show at the Eldon fair grounds. Eldon FFA and 4H students competed for the best hog. Dozens of pigs were judged on balance, proportion, posture, weight and more.
Backstage, students brushed the pigs, gave them water to drink, poured water on them to make them shiny and steered them through the area.
Abby Miller, a senior at Eldon High School, and her pig, Chester — named after his breed, chester white — won first place at the hog show. Miller has been competing in the annual hog show since she was 8 years old.
"You're trying to get the pig that will give you the best product," she said. "I really enjoy it because anyone can win. It all depends on the judge and what he wants."
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Chester is marketable because he's muscular and stout, she said, while other pigs are marketable because they strut and glide or have proportionate bodies.
"This pig here balances out better, certainly handles his rear legs better, is smoother and more sustainable out of his hips," the judge said of one pig when determining the winners.
Behind the hog show was a view of a Ferris wheel and a burst of vibrant colors as children laughed and spun around on rides. Families played games and won giant cartoon character stuffed animals as they ate funnel cakes and cotton candy.
As the hog show and carnival continued, children ages 4-7 from Miller and the adjoining counties competed for the titles of Little Mr., Miss and Princess at the Little Royalty Contest at the Eldon High School Performing Arts Center.
Lola West won Little Miss Miller County, Bryson Morff won Little Mr. Miller County and Payton Hinshaw won Miller County Princess.
Lillian Wieberg was the runner-up for Little Miss Miller County, and Carissa Girdley was the runner-up for Miller County Princess.
Lola told a joke to win the crown of Little Miss Miller County: "Why does Frankenstein have no friends? Because he's a pain in the neck."
Lola, who also competed last year, said she loved competing in the pageant because she loved having the opportunity to dress up.
A livestream of the Little Royalty Contest can be found on the Miller County Fair Facebook page.