By Joshua Lucero
It was an exciting day at the Roosevelt County Fair for first-time swine show competitor Madea Geezay.
Geezay, 14, had two pigs primed and ready to compete in the market swine first year feeder class.
Geezay, who lived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, before moving to Portales, said it was her first time being in contact with pigs, but she had fun with the learning process.
“At first they’re small and curious and always biting on stuff,” said Geezay of her pigs, Gnarly Beard and Gladiator.
She said it became easier to handle the pigs as they got older and she became accustomed to them.
Over time, Geezay said, she formed a connection to the pigs that was going to be difficult to sever after the summer they spent together.
The time spent with the animals does provide a lesson in responsibility, according to Kylee Berry of Portales.
Berry, whose son showed three pigs Tuesday, said raising pigs to show at the fair is a family affair that teaches participants work ethic and how to work as a team.
“We get up early to help with feeding and walking the pigs,” said Berry.
Berry’s son, Cody Webster, 9, said he likes the show because it’s “really fun.”
Judges are looking at a number of qualities in each pig to determine a winner and each participant raises their pigs to best fit the judges preferences.
First year feeder and county breed judge Logan Mason of Lubbock said judges look for muscle, structural correctness, balance and completeness of each pig.
A pig with a lot of muscle that isn’t skeletally correct, for instance, wouldn’t be as complete or balanced as a pig with less muscle and a better structure, said Mason.
Mason, 22, who showed animals from the third grade through his senior year in high school,, said genetics and feed are the most important factors when raising a show pig.
“If you miss feed or water one day it can be bad for the pig. It can start a domino effect,” Mason said.
Mason, who participated in collegiate judging, said he is able to give the participants feedback that will help them when raising animals for other shows.
For Mason, judging animals is a chance to interact with the youth.
“It’s really cool,” said Mason, “these are future leaders.”