If a person is too young or too old to compete in 4-H, the Auglaize County Fair still does not discriminate.
The Auglaize County Pork Producers held its annual Pee Wee and Adult Showmanship competition on Monday.
The competition has showmanship for the 5-, 6-, 7-, and 8-year-old classes as well as one for adults. A total of 81 youth and 10 adults participated in the contest and smiles could be seen everywhere.
“Depending on when your birthday is, you can start in 4-H when you are 9 (years old) or in the third grade,” event chair Mark Tangeman said. “The event is mainly help get youth interested in participating in the fair and 4-H, but we have an adult competition also. It is mainly just about having fun.”
Tangeman said the primary goal is “keeping eye contact with the judge while walking the pig in the show area, keeping the pig between them and the judge, and just making sure the little ones don’t get hurt.”
Competitors start “training” their pig approximately a month before fair time. For 7-year-old Adam Emerick, of St. Marys, it was his first time participating in a fair event.
The showmanship contest definitely had its desired effect on him, as he plans to participate many more times.
“I had to wash him and clean his pen,” Emerick said of getting his pig ready for the showmanship competition. “I tried to keep eye contact with the judge. It is a lot of work,, but I had fun.”
Emerick, who lives on a farm with his family, said he plans on competing at the fair for many years to come.
For Gavin Schwartz, 7, and his brother, Griffin Schwartz, 9, both were competing for the first time and it became a friendly competition among siblings.
Griffin said they chose their pigs ready around July 1 and took turns at home walking their own pigs for the show. Gavin said he enjoyed competing and was ready for more.
“I spent a lot of time washing and walking my pig,” Gavin said, while proudly displaying his trophy he had won in the competition.
He said one of the biggest things he had learned was how to keep his pig in control while walking him around the show area.
“You have to whip them right here,” Gavin said, holding his finger just so on his neck to show the area. “It became a lot easier after I figured that out.”
When asked what was his favorite part of competing, Gavin said it was “winning a trophy,” as he proudly lofted his prize up in the air for display.
Tangeman said the fair has had the competition for approximately 20 years. Prizes were awarded to the top three in each class.
“It gets the younger kids interested and helps keep the fair going in the future,” Tangeman said. “It lets adults get involved too and it is just fun for everybody.”