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Pig a surprise champion in class at county fair

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Kira Balok shakes hands with judge Kevin Williams after the pig she showed for her sister, Kimber, was named champion of the Hampshire class Tuesday morning at the Chaves County 4-H and FFA Fair. The sisters are members of the Shepherd’s Flock 4-H Club. At right is Kegan Shaw of the Rustic Arrows 4-H Club. (Juno Ogle Photo)

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Sometimes the judging ring can be unpredictable.

“Every judge is different,” Kira Balok said as she waited to show her pig in the cross class of the swine show Tuesday morning at the Chaves County 4-H and FFA Fair held at the Eastern New Mexico State fairgrounds on Southeast Main Street.

Not long before, Kira had shown a pig for her sister, Kimber, in the Hampshire class. That pig wasn’t her sister’s top choice to show.

“She had a pig before it that we thought was going to be great, so I showed it because it was just kind of the ‘ehhh’ pig,” Kira said.

Judge Kevin Williams, an associate professor of agriculture education at West Texas A&M University in Canyon, Texas, saw something in the ‘ehhh’ pig that others didn’t, ultimately naming it champion of the Hampshire class.

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Kira said she and her sister look to their father to help pick out which livestock to show, but they also seek advice from Daniel Mathews, FFA sponsor at Goddard High School.

They picked out their pigs from breeders in Oklahoma a couple of months before school was out last spring and worked with them every day to prepare for the fair, Kira said.

What makes a pig a winner in the show ring?

“A good stomach, a good top on it and a good butt, and the way it walks. You don’t want them to kick their feet. That shows they’re getting too old and there’s too much weight on their bones,” she said.

Kira went on to win first place with her pig in the second division of the crossbreed class.

Following the swine show Tuesday were the meat goat and dairy goat shows, with the FFA and 4-H rodeo in the evening.

Wednesday morning starts at 8 a.m. with the breeding sheep and market lamb shows. At 2 p.m. is poultry showmanship and poultry judging. The dairy heifer show is slated for 5:30 p.m.

City/RISD reporter Juno Ogle can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 205, or reporter04@rdrnews.com.

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