‘I want to beat so-and-so…’

Even on a cold, dark night (after school and after basketball practice), pigs still have to be worked. Time to bundle up, turn on the headlights and get to work!


This is the time of year when we get lots of calls. Inquiries on pigs, appointments, prices – you name it. We truly enjoy visiting with each of you and answering all your questions.

However, we are noticing a disturbing trend. We get more and more inquiries, like this one, every season. And, it goes like this:

Caller: I want a champion showpig, can you help me?

Us: We do raise show pigs, and many of our feeders are very successful. What exactly are you looking for?

Caller: Well, I want to beat (so-and-so). They (the so-and-so family), beat us every year. I’ve been watching you on Facebook, and I want a champion pig like the one that was just pictured.

Us: Yes sir, that was a very good pig. That family did a phenomenal job, they’re good feeders and they work very hard.

Caller: And, we want to win…

The caller goes on and shares about their feeding program (a self feeder filled with a mix made at the local Co-Op. ‘I don’t have time to hand feed, I work and we’re gone a lot on the weekends); and their exercise program (‘we start walking a few weeks before fair – kids have to walk every afternoon before they go to the pool’).

Basically, they want to beat the so-and-so family, by investing the least amount of TIME and EFFORT into their swine project.

If you want to be successful, I challenge you develop a brand-new mindset this show season. Many of you know that we are a die-hard basketball family. Our entire family plays ball and there’s even an indoor, full-size court next to the kids’ show barn.  Basketball is a lot like showing livestock: You’re not going to win a championship without practicing; without being in shape and eating right; and without working hard both in and out of the gym.

Colorado 1A Regional Basketball playoffs. Our nephew, Matthew, leading the South Baca team onto the floor.

Folks – if your family refuses to put time and effort into the project, then no breeder out there is going to be able to help you. Even if you could afford to buy the most expensive pig out there, your chance of success with that pig is slim to none.

And as for the cost of livestock, think of it this way: Expensive basketball shoes don’t make the player. It is hard work, dedication and determination that is going to take you and your sneakers to the game. Do champion players often choose one brand of shoes over another? Yes, absolutely they do. Winners want a proven product, something that meets their demands and is going to be worth the investment of both their time and money. Proven products are used for a reason, no matter if it is basketball shoes, show feed or successful breeding programs.

Winning starts with a desire to succeed.  Take that and mix in a pig with great genetics, fuel it with proven feed, and quality time spent in the barn – and you’ve got a recipe for a memorable show season. There are NO shortcuts. There are NO quick fixes. There are NO substitutions.

Don’t blame the refs, and don’t blame the judges. They are simply calling it like they see it.

Don’t blame the coach, and don’t blame the breeder/extension agent/ag teacher.  Their job is to guide you, not do the work for you.

Don’t blame the other team, and don’t blame other exhibitors. Their job is to show up & work hard, it’s not their fault if you weren’t prepared.

Don’t blame the equipment, and don’t blame the animal. Neither one will be in their prime,  if you don’t care for them.

Your success starts with you. I challenge you to have a positive attitude and an athlete’s work ethic. If  you want to win this season, start stepping up your game at home.  Your efforts, or lack thereof, will speak for themselves on show day.

The pigs enjoyed a rainy practice session, and a trip to the wash rack, but the kids did not. But, those moments of ‘going the extra mile’ always show up in the ring. Are you willing to go the extra mile this show season?







20 thoughts on “‘I want to beat so-and-so…’

  1. Very well said and a must read for all show families. I see it alot in our school barn. I’ve seen good pigs go bad just because the family did not do the work. Good pigs are bred and Champions are Fed. Self Feeders were a mark of shame in our barn. That meant the Ag Teacher knew you were missing alot of feedings.

  2. This is an Excellent article. I would much rather see Champion KIDS then Champion livestock, either way it takes hard work all the way around!! If you want to win, you have to work like a winner, think like a winner and have a winning attitude along the way as well!

  3. i have heard it for so long: its my kids project; we don’t have the time to evercise every day;we can’t hand feed; how come your family nearly always wins? the answers are right here in this supurb article!! BTW this is why we no longer are leaders in 4-H or offer classes on raising and showing animals. they all want the trophy but nearly no one wants the work!! thanks

    1. Great article! Our family was a pig showing, basketball family too! This article “hits the nail on the head”. He played travel basketball from age 10 until he went to college. He would walk his pigs with flash lights in the am before leaving to go a tourney and return home late at night and do the same. NO one wins or is successful without commitment and lots and lots of hard work regardless of what you do. And it is that way in basketball to as you know. He wasn’t in the list of top 100 basketball players is the state of INDIANA his junior and senior year by sitting on the couch! Again GREAT article.

  4. Great article!! We use to be one of those families that would make a call to a breeders. It took us a few years, but figured out you could have the top breeding, but if you don’t put the time in, it was just an average pig. Now Our kids put 4-6 hours a day with their animals for the summer show season and they won shows and lost shows, but they understand they have to continue to work hard everyday and it’s one judges decision/opinion on that day if they like your pig or not. Our kids made the decision on their own, not to show in winter shows because they were not going to be able to dedicate the time their animals, with school and sports. I miss not having pigs for stock show, but respect the kids decision. It is their projects and their responsibility.

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