I went to my first honest to goodness pig show last week in San Antonio. My nephew, Nick, is in high school and came to town to show is pig so I thought it would be a good opportunity to spend some time with my family and see what this FFA business was all about.
This was quite an experience for me to say the least. I felt I was walking into this event with all the knowledge I needed since I watch Toddlers and Tiaras and I figured this was no different than a people beauty pageant, except for the fact that it was pigs. For the most part, I was right, but I didn't take into consideration that you should watch where you step and I quickly learned that nine west boots + pig poop = unhappy Laura Louise Lane. Within minutes of my arrival I stepped in a small pile and ran out of the pig pen squealing just like all the other little piggies trying to get out!
After I ran out of the where the pigs are kept I went to the larger pen where the people were corralled and stared over the several fences that safely separated me from more poop. I was still close enough to witness all the work that went in to prepping Miss Cayene, who is the pig my nephew raised and was showing today.
Before the show we had breakfast and ran a little late. That being said Nick didn't have time to give Cayenne a full shower so this is the spray bottle he used to prep her for her debut. She didn't seem to mind so much and happily chowed on her grub as he gave her a sponge bath of sorts.
Unfortunately, Cayenne didn't place at this show but I learned a whole lot!
First of all I learned that men at these kind of shows are generally your true cowboy gentleman. I met a Mr. Donnie Reed and he was one of the most polite men I have ever met. Before we were even introduced he was tipping his hat off to say hello to me and my mom and offered his hand to help us in our seats. After a few moments and a few clearly ignorant comments on my part, he kindly started offering me some information. This is what I learned:
A gilt is: a non-breading female. I am assuming she feels guilty because she hasn't added her share of bacon to the world. (Terrible joke, I know, but I couldn't help it.) A sow is a pig that has had babies. A barrow is a castrated male and a boar is an "intact" male (lucky for him). It takes 114 days or 3 months, 3 weeks, and 3 days from conception to birth for these momma pigs. I also learned all about ear notches and what they mean but that's complicated. If you want to learn, just send me an email and I'll do a white board demo in your office. Now you can never say you never learned anything from my blog! Thanks Mr. Reed! And just fyi, so you know my info is legit, he's a bona fide FFA advisor/teacher in Texas.
The other thing I learned was that there is a LOT of bling at these shows. Girls with bright pink gear and sparkles everywhere! Mr. Reed told me that it was important to stand out to the judges, especially when all the pigs can look the same. It was very interesting and definitely new to me.
After his pig was finished, Nick went on to show a pig for one of his classmates who couldn't make it. What a nice guy, right? So this time I got to see where all the real bathing takes place.
Okay, so it's no secret that I didn't exactly fit in. No sparkles and improper shoes but hey, I look totally comfortable here, right? So maybe I'm a little afraid, I most def didn't want another poop incident. Anyways, right here is where the critters get their real showers before the show. It was fascinating. They got warm water baths and you could even see the steam coming off their fur since it was such a cold day.
Before the show my mom took us to breakfast and it was beautiful and delish: