Sunday, October 16, 2011

Pig Showing - County Fair

My family spent some time at our county fair this weekend and it was probably the first time we've been during the first weekend - lots of events going on.  It was a beautiful day so we spent all afternoon there (our usual fair weather is either soaking wet/muddy or freezing record cold).  We even got a chance to watch a few events we haven't seen before (and still don't understand).  One particular one was a pig show.  The teenagers (assuming 4-H'ers) bring their pigs (these aren't cuddly ones - these big fat pigs) into the arena and walk them around and around, using sticks (I'm sure there is an official term for it - in horse world it would be a dressage whip) to guide the pig's direction (hitting/tapping around the neck to make them turn either side).  Some of the kids had a difficult time getting their pig to listen & ended up in the corner or smashed between the pig and the fence.  They walked their pig around until something happened (this is what we missed & don't understand) - the teen would hold up their hand, their family would clap & whoop/holler - then a group of men with boards (plastic) would come over & safely guide the pig out of the arena.  We can only guess, but we think it was an auction type event - the teens who raised their hands had their pigs bought (although we didn't hear any auctioneer doing his thing, and they guided the pig out with the boards to keep it safe from harm from other pigs, etc. I guess so that it would be nice & pretty for slaughter?  Another interesting thing (we did see this in action) - the teens all had brushes in their back pockets - they used them to brush off the pig's rear-ends... not sure the purpose of that other than to keep them clean, but that's what we saw.  At one point one pig was made to lay down & roll over - took several people to do that - or maybe he wasn't supposed to roll over just held for better inspection??  This will forever be a mystery since I don't see any of us going into pig showing.  Here are a few pictures from that event.

Although I really don't like them, we stopped at the petting zoo - this one had several exotic/unusal animals to pet in addition to the regular goats, miniature donkey, etc.  One animal that was really cute was a guanaco.  We've never seen one or heard of one, so I had to look it up when we got home.  Here's what I found:  native to arid mountain regions of South America (poor guy - considering our heat/humidity - must have been miserable - note:  even the chickens were panting in their cages on this day, and we had nice weather), they are in the camel family, will spit when threatened, and their fiber (hair/coat) is comparable to cashmere.  This one was a youngster and was very cute, although I still don't like petting zoos (one reason - those kids who think it is funny to hit the animals & they are old enough to know better - why aren't the parents doing something?  oh - because they think it funny - I will stop at that, although there are many many other reasons for my dislike).  So, here's a picture of that cute quanaco.

guanaco - native to South America

On a better note - my son & I entered the photography contest.  I've entered for several years off/on and this contest is intense in my county.  A lot of good amateur photographers (and student photographers) and a lot of good opportunities for photos (birding, close enough to coast, close enough to big city, etc).  I always hope to win a ribbon, but there are many times that I haven't.  I was really hoping my son would at least get 1 honorable mention, but sadly he didn't.  I was pleasantly surprised that I did get a 2nd place ribbon and an honorable mention (each entrant is allowed a total of 5 pictures). 

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