Learn more about the members in the National Junior Swine Association. Just click on the links below to find out about these NJSA current and former members. If you are a youth interested in being featured on this page, send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sometimes showing pigs comes with opportunity cost and for Kayla Toenyes, that cost was playing sports in high school. After suffering numerous concussions her freshman year while playing basketball and softball, Kayla decided to give up sports to travel the country to show pigs competitively.
“Showing pigs became my new sport,” said Kayla. “You have to remember to never give up in life and keep your head up because you never know what else there is out in the world!”
Because of Kayla’s determination and dedication to her swine projects she has exhibited across the country, from the National Summer Spectacular in Louisville, Kentucky to the Arizona National in Phoenix, Arizona. Through all her travels across the U.S., the Eastern Regional in Hamburg, New York has remained one of her favorites.
Kayla, 19, from Moro, Illinois, credits her siblings and cousin for opening opportunities for her in the swine industry. Kayla decided to follow in her family’s footsteps at a young age and first started showing pigs at her county fair at eight years old. Both in and out of the show ring, she says has her years working with her showpigs to thank for her work ethic and drive to succeed.
Over the years, Kayla has had numerous highlights in the ring. As the first NJSA show Kayla attended, the Southeast Regional sticks out in her mind where she brought back a blue ribbon with her Landrace gilt. Her proudest in the show ring came last year as she was named Reserve Champion Hampshire Barrow at the Illinois State Fair.
Inside the show ring is not the only place that Kayla pushes herself to be at her best. Her first time showing at the Southeast Regional in Perry Georgia, she was just shy of placing top ten in showmanship, and the experience only pushed her to continue working towards being the best and sharpening her skills. While competitive in showmanship, her favorite NJSA contest is the judging contests. Kayla says that the judging contest allows her to build her livestock evaluation skills.
Today Kayla is a sophomore at Lewis and Clark Community College and plans to become an occupational therapist while also running a show pig operation so she can stay involved in the show industry.
When asked what her advice to younger showman would be, she had this to pass on to the next generation of showman, “No matter what happens in your show career keep your head up and keep working hard because one day you will achieve your dreams. “
Growing up in a family that has raised pigs for over 40 years, Rhett Thompson, 18, prides himself on carrying on his family tradition. For Rhett, showing pigs has been a family affair for as long as he can remember.
“I can’t remember when I first started showing,” he said. “I’ve showed in open shows for as long as I can remember.”
For the Patoka, Indiana native, showing pigs is not just about the banners, but rather knowing you put the work in at home and being proud of your success and the animals you exhibit. Not all of Rhett’s success has come from within the show ring, but rather the friends and memories he has made throughout the barn. When asked what his most memorable moment was as a NJSA exhibitor, it was not a being named champion in the showring or making top ten in sweepstakes but rather the connections he has made through the years.
“It’s because of pig shows and the NJSA that I’ve meet some of my best friends,” he said.
While winning may not be his favorite memory, Rhett has had his fair share of success in the show ring. In 2018, he was named Reserve Yorkshire Gilt at the Eastern Regional that takes place in Hamburg, New York. While attending NJSA shows, showmanship is Rhett’s favorite contest to compete in.
“Showmanship at NJSA shows has the stiffest competition of any of the shows I attend,” Rhett said. “And it pushes me to only get better.”
During his time as an NJSA member Rhett has participated at both the World Pork Expo, The Exposition, NJSS, and multiple regional shows. One show that sticks out as a favorite is the American Royal.
“Being in the city atmosphere exhibiting at a historic show against really good livestock is just a cool experience,” he said.
Rhett is currently a senior at Princeton Community High School. After graduation he would like to continue his basketball career into college while pursuing a Project and Construction Management degree.
As a young stockman who has traveled all over the United States showing livestock, Rhett had this piece of advice for younger exhibiters, “Don’t get burnt out, I know it can get tiring and can feel like you’re constantly pushing towards the next show, but remember this time doesn’t last forever so make sure you make the most out of it.”
Seventeen-year-old Maddy Dishman from Spiceland, Indiana is the daughter of Brandon and Holly Dishman and the older sister to 14-year-old, Landon Dishman. Maddy is currently a junior at Tri High School. When she is not in school Maddy enjoys showing pigs, photography and helping her father manage their family’s four commercial hog barns.
Six years ago, Maddy’s cousin encouraged her to begin showing pigs and join the NJSA. In 2014 she exhibited at her first national show, the North American International Livestock Expo. Over the last five years as a member of the National Junior Swine Association, her love for showing pigs has continued to grow. She has participated in the Southeast Regional, The Exposition, and the National Junior Summer Spectacular. Amongst these many shows and events attended, her favorite NJSA show and event to participate in is The Exposition. Maddy says the aspect of showing pigs that she enjoys the most is spending time with her “show family.” While she enjoys showing pigs at many NJSA shows and events, she also loves to participate in the photography contest.
Maddy believes, “Good things take time,” and has certainly showed this through her evolution of accomplishments over the years. Some of her accomplishments within the NJSA include Fifth Overall Hampshire Barrow at the 2017 NJSS, Reserve Champion Division 1 Hampshire Gilt at the 2018 NJSS, and Fifth Overall Division 1 Duroc Gilt at The 2019 Exposition. Maddy’s success doesn’t just exist within the NJSA. Some of her accomplishments outside of the NJSA are: Champion Berkshire Gilt and Fifth Overall Gilt at the Indiana State Fair in 2016, Fifth Overall Berkshire Gilt at the World Pork Expo in 2016, as well as having the Champion Hampshire Gilt at the Indiana Stock Show in 2016. Maddy’s fondest memories of her experience in the NJSA are these accomplishments.
Once she has graduated from high school, Maddy hopes to attend a college of business to study graphic/web design. After obtaining a degree in this field, she plans to become a graphic designer within the swine industry in effort to stay connected with her passion for showing pigs. Maddy would like to express to the younger generations in the NJSA that, “this organization gives you great opportunities within the industry.”
The NSR and NJSA are proud to present this month’s youth spotlight, Miss Maddy Dishman from Spiceland, Indiana!
Our next Youth Spotlight is Skylar Knapp of Greenfield, Indiana. The daughter of Michael and Renee Knapp has been showing pigs since the age of five at the Marion County Jackpot Show. Fast forward 15 years and Skylar now attends the University of Saint Francis where she participates in the Student Nurses Associations and continues to show pigs at The Exposition. Her show career began when her grandfather, who was also a breeder, bought her her first show barrow. Since then, she has continued showing because “It’s a personal sport and no matter the outcome it is always a lesson learned and a rewarding industry to be a part of.” With that being said, Skylar most enjoys the family interaction the industry gives her. She has built the strongest bond with her family through the sweat, tears, and smiles of each pig. Additionally, the friendships she has made with individuals from across the country will always hold a special place in her heart.
Over Skylar’s last 12 years in NJSA, she has shown at the World Pork Expo, The Exposition, National Junior Summer Spectacular, Southeast Regional, and Eastern Regional with her favorite being World Pork Expo, and now The Exposition. There Skylar and her family can relax and truly bond by watching classes together, getting their own pigs ready, and enjoying meals prepared by Show-Rite. The Exposition also holds her most memorable moment of earning the honors of Champion Yorkshire Gilt in 2010. This just begins Skylar’s list of accomplishments in the NJSA. Along with Champion Yorkshire Gilt, Skylar has also won 13 showmanship titles, nine sweepstakes awards, Champion Chester Gilt and Champion Hamp Sired Crossbred Barrow.
If Skylar could tell younger members something about the NJSA it would read, “Embrace every moment. You’ll win some and you’ll lose some and sometimes you’ll forget about what you won or when you lost but you will always remember the friends you made. Whether it be riding scooters around the fairgrounds, playing cards on top of a cooler, or being teammates during the judging contest, those friends will have the greatest impact on you. Being an NJSA member gives you the opportunity to build relationships of all kinds; some that will lead you into your future career. But most importantly, the NJSA is an environment meant to create fun, long-lasting memories.”
Congratulations Skylar and good luck in your future!
The NJSA would like to put Reece Sandburg under this month’s spotlight! Reece is the 10-year-old daughter of Keri Guthrie and Ian Long. Hailing from Roseburg, Oregon. Her mother noted that if anyone who knows Reece knows she is a sassy, competitive, old soul, mouthy, smart girl who's never met a stranger and never stops talking! She stands out in a crowd! Reece is a 5th grader at Melrose Elementary. In school she enjoys art, PE, math, basketball, and volleyball. At the age of 6 Reece started showing pigs to get her mind off of the loss of her grandma who suffered from a rare brain disease. Reece says, “My grandpa and mom use to show pigs so we bought a couple local pigs to show. My first jackpot was in Medford, Oregon called SOJC. I loved it!”
After her first pig show, she became addicted to the sport. Reece loves the personalities of the pigs and all the people that she shows with. Reece has an amazing support system when it comes to her showpig family. Noah, Kai, and Kekoa Taipin became Reece’s role models in this industry, showing her and teaching Reece how to compete at the highest level she could. Although none of her success would be possible without Russel Pedrett and Mark and Sandy Ottenwalter. She states, “Russel has helped me from day one on how to feed, and be successful in the swine industry. I also love the competition because I am competitive and strive to do the best I can.”
Being a member of the NJSA since 2017, Reece’s first national show was the Western Regional. Her favorite shows include Western Regional, Desert Storm Jackpot, and Western Bonanza. She comments that she likes the NJSA because they have a skillathon and sweepstakes. Reece likes the skillathon contest because this allows her test her knowledge and see how well she does against kids in her age division. She enjoys going to attend the Desert Storm jackpot ever since she won showmanship and beat a senior to capture the W. The Western Bonanza is a favorite of Reece’s as well because that was the first show she won a belt buckle at! Reece’s favorite NJSA event is the sweepstakes because it combines everything as a total point system from the entire week of the event. Her favorite memory from NJSA is from the 2017 Western Regional when her team took home the victory from Barnyard Olympics.
Even though Reece has only been in the NJSA for a little over 3 years, she has quite a track record when it comes to high end performances on the big stage. Exhibiting the Reserve Grand Champion Gilt, 2nd in showmanship, and topping the sweepstakes division at the Western Regionals are among some of the accomplishments. Reece has been very fortunate to be highly competitive at the Oregon State Fair as well with having the Reserve Grand Barrow in 2017.
Reece’s favorite quote is from team Ottenwalter and Kekoa Taipin. “Strong alone, unstoppable together." Her future plans are to continue to show for Ottenwalter Show Pigs and show more national shows! One day she would like to be on the NJSA Board! She would like to be a Lawyer in Agribusiness. The NJSA would like to congratulate Reece on all her accomplishments and wish her the best of luck in future endeavors!
Son of Jim and Chelsie Kilmer, Kolton Kilmer, is a 9-year-old 3rd grader at Eastlawn Elementary School. Whether it be working with show pigs in the barn or playing catch in the yard, Kolton loves spending time with his younger siblings. He has a 6-year-old brother named Karson, as well as two twin sisters, Jordyn and Ryland, who are each two years old. At the age of 6, Kolton began showing pigs at the NJSA National Junior Summer Spectacular in Louisville, Kentucky, and has loved it ever since. Kolton credits his father, Jim, for getting him started in the show ring and for continuing to teach him and help him succeed. Since beginning his show career, Kolton has had the opportunity to travel the country with his family, attending the Exposition, Eastern Regional, National Junior Summer Spectacular, and North American International Livestock Exposition. Kolton's most memorable moment showing pigs comes from the 2019 North American International Livestock Exposition, where he exhibited the Champion Yorkshire and Reserve Champion Overall Market Hog.
When competing at NJSA shows, Kolton enjoys showing his pigs in the ring over the other competitions because of the time that he spends with his family to work with the pigs to make sure they are broke, fed, and have healthy skin and hair. He also enjoys being able to spend time with his friends and family at shows. Aside from showing pigs, Kolton works very hard at baseball, basketball, and football. Like his passion for teaching pigs, Kolton's love for sports requires dedication and hard work, with the hopes of one day playing professional athletics. Kolton's future dreams are to attend Purdue University to play sports before becoming a professional athlete. However, with a great future ahead of him in the show ring, Kolton is excited to begin his first year of 4-H and continuing to spend time with his friends and family doing what he loves.
Landry Kaysen from St. Charles, Iowa, is the daughter of Brett and Tara Kaysen. Landry is 11 years old and has one sibling McKinley. She attends Wintrest Middle School where she is involved in many different aspects of school. Landry plays the French Horn in the band and attended last year’s Voxman Honor Band in Indianola. She is also a great role model in school as she is part of the school safety patrol. Not only is she a role model but Landry is very competitive as she is going to compete in the Huskey Reader Competition and hopefully bring home the win with her team for a second year. Outside of school where she loves to dance, especially in classical and modern ballet. Landry continues to explore her passion for singing and playing guitar as she has played for other grades in her school. Landry also loves to judge livestock and hopes she can continue judging livestock and eventually shows for the rest of her life.
Landry began showing pigs when she was three years old at the World Pork Expo in Des Moines, Iowa. Landry credits passion for showing pigs to that late-night show showing her York gilt Jesse, as well as crediting her dad for helping teach and build her skills inside and out of the show ring.
Landry has been an NJSA member for eight years and has enjoyed spending time with her family and traveling to many shows like The Exposition, National Junior Summer Spectacular, Southwest Regional, National Barrow Show and Eastern Regional. Landry enjoys many aspects of the shows she attends, but her favorite contest is the Mixed Media Contest where she gets to create a project that shows her love for the industry. Landry’s favorite show is The Exposition as she loves the fairgrounds and the memories she has made with friends and family there. Landry is very accomplished in the show ring as well receiving honors such as 2018 Third Overall Premier Breeder, NJSS Reserve Champion Bred-and-Owned Landrace Gilt, The Exposition Reserve Champion Bred-and-Owned Landrace Gilt, Southwest Regional Champion Novice Sweepstakes, 2019 Premier Landrace Breeder, Eastern Regional Reserve Champion Landrace Barrow, as well as numerous judging, speech, and advertising contest awards. Landry’s message to the younger member is that, “The NJSA is a great program, and is one that will stick with you, but you must work hard and be involved with this program if you want to be recognized.”
Landry’s favorite quote comes from a song by Ava Max and says, “It’s OK to be different, because so am I.”
In the future, Landry wants to receive a scholarship and attend Florida State to study astronomy and agriculture. Landry also hopes to get her band The Three Broomsticks started up with her sister and Landry Mabry. Landry’s careers goals are to work for NASA as an astronomer or astronaut.
Macy Jacobson is the 10-year-old daughter of Andy and Nicole Jacobson from Osceola, Iowa. Macy is currently in the fifth grade at Clarke Elementary where she loves playing softball. Outside of school she enjoys playing softball and showing livestock, particularly pigs and cattle. She credits the start of her career showing pigs to her 13-year-old brother, Drew.
When Macy was four years old, she exhibited in her first jackpot show in Iowa due to her older brother showing pigs and it became a family affair. She continues to show pigs for the pleasure of spending time with friends and meeting new people. Macy says, “Sometimes I only get to see this group of friends a few times a year, so I really enjoy the time I get with them at shows.” Although she enjoys spending time with friends and meeting new people, she believes the feeling you get when you are showing in the Grand Drive is “The best of the best” and is the most enjoyable aspect of showing pigs.
Over her six years as an NJSA member, Macy has exhibited at World Pork Expo, The Exposition, National Junior Summer Spectacular, American Royal and North American International Livestock Exposition. While participating in these many shows, Macy has had a very successful show career. Some of her accomplishments include: Champion Novice Showman at the 2018 World Pork Expo, Champion Novice Showman at the 2018 National Junior Summer Spectacular, and Reserve Junior Showman at The 2019 Exposition. Amongst all these accomplishments her most memorable show was the World Pork Expo in 2018. She was fortunate enough to not only show in the Grand NJSA Purebred Gilt Drive, but she won the honors. Macy says, “This is a memory my family and I will never forget.”
Not only does Macy enjoy showing livestock, she also enjoys participating the livestock judging contests at NJSA Events. Seeing many young exhibitors that have similar interests bring their talents together is inspiring to her. Macy hopes these livestock judging contests will help her in future endeavors. She plans to finish school, play softball, and judge livestock at the collegiate level. Once she has obtained a college degree, Macy hopes to become a large animal vet.
Macy’s love for livestock and spending time with her family shines bright through her show career within the NJSA. Traveling across the United States is something she truly cherishes. When asked what she would tell a younger member about the NJSA Macy said, “this organization has made me the person I am today, and I can’t wait to see what the NJSA does for me in my career growing up. Join today!”
The NSR and NJSA are proud to present this month’s youth spotlight, Miss Macy Jacobson from Osceola, Iowa!
Trenton Collings is a 21-year-old native of Crothersville, Indiana and is the son of Beth and Terry Melloncamp and brother to Brittany Hoevener. Before graduating high school in 2017, he found himself actively participating in FFA, welding class and various agriculture classes. Outside of school he has found a passion for showing and placing livestock all the while traveling to different shows and meeting new people from all over the country.
Nine years ago, Trenton found himself exhibiting in his first livestock show, the Jackson County Fair, after his stepfather began to raise pigs. He has continued to do so for the satisfaction of studying good livestock and being an active member of the swine industry. Shortly after beginning his show career, Trenton became an NJSA member and has participated in the National Junior Summer Spectacular for the last eight years. He says he enjoys the NJSS because, “This show is nearly a full week of showing swine and being around great people who are part of the swine industry.” His fondest memory from the NJSS is being awarded Fifth Overall Barrow in 2019. Although Trenton truly enjoys exhibiting at the National Junior Summer Spectacular, the rich history from the famous stockyards makes the American Royal in Kansas City his favorite livestock show.
Participating in many shows over the years, he reflects on his many accomplishments and one stands out the most: being the owner of Indiana’s winningest barrow of 2019. After a long and successful show career Trenton believes the quote that has helped keep him striving through his career is, ”Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not by men,” Colossians 3:23. Keeping this in mind, he works toward someday owning his own sow herd and becoming part of the genetics business. Until then, Trenton would like to remain part of the livestock industry by helping and teaching children particularly about swine alongside placing hogs around the country. He believes the NJSA enables you to create memories and relationships that will last a lifetime and that is something he expresses to the younger generation beginning their show careers.
The NJSA has been an important factor in shaping Trenton into who he is today. He says, “I am so happy I was introduced into the industry. NJSA is a great thing for all children to be involved in and instilled in me some of my best qualities as a person, as well as tremendously built my character.”
The NSR and NJSA are proud to present this month’s youth spotlight, Mr. Trenton Collings from Crothersville, Indiana!
Fourteen-year-old Kadence Emenhiser from Lafayette, Indiana has let her passion for the show pig industry shine bright through her show career over the past nine years. The daughter of Brian and Jodi Emenhiser started showing pigs at five years old when she decided she wanted to follow in her sister, Jayden’s, footsteps. She got a start to her show career in the open shows of the Indiana Junior Swine Circuit and has continued her showing career for the joy of spending time with her family, creating a strong bond with her livestock, as well as meeting new people and making connections that will last a lifetime.
Kadence is currently an eighth grader at Rossville Jr./Sr. High School where she enjoys choir, forestry and participating in Discovery FFA. Outside of school she spends her time playing soccer, participating in 4-H, livestock judging and archery, all alongside showing pigs. While being extremely active Kadence always keeps in mind, “There are no limits to what you can accomplish, except the limits you place on your own thinking.” She says, “this quote really says a lot about me. I always tell myself that I can’t but, in the end, if you put your mind to anything you can do it.” Over her four years as an NJSA member, she has truly shown that if you put your mind to anything you can do it!
Kadence has exhibited at the North American International Livestock Exposition for three years and the National Junior Summer Spectacular for two years. The many contests and the vast number of exhibitors from across the country makes the NJSS her favorite show to be a part of. Although she has participated in the Livestock Judging Contest, Fine Arts, and Skillathon Contest at the NJSS, Kadence’s favorite contest is Showmanship. She says, “it helps me to learn the correct way to present my pig so the judge can get the best impression of my pig.” Competing in these contests together has provided many memorable moments for Kadence. One being named Fifth Overall Intermediate Sweepstakes at the 2019 NJSS.
Outside of the NJSA, Kadence has had a very successful show career. Some of her accomplishments include: 2019 Champion Senior Swine Showman as a fifth year 4-H member at Tippecanoe County, Champion Hampshire Barrow at the 2019 Tippecanoe County Fair, and the 2018 Reserve Champion High-Point Hampshire Gilt in the Indiana Junior Swine Circuit.
When thinking about her time in the show ring Kadence expresses to younger members eager to get their start in the NJSA to, “Create as many memories and friends as they can because all of the NJSA shows and events give us many opportunities to make lifelong friends and memories.” In the future Kadence plans to keep showing pigs, hopes to win Supreme Showman at the Tippecanoe County Fair, and will continue to help her younger sisters, Leia and Melayna, in showing pigs.
The NSR and NJSA are proud to present this month’s youth spotlight, Miss Kadence Emenhiser from Lafayette, Indiana!
This month’s spotlight is Courtney Jackman of Milroy, Indiana. Courtney is 16 years old and the daughter of Tammy and Dr. Robert Jackman. This sophomore from Rushville Consolidated High School is not new to the show ring. She has been competitive showing pigs since she was four years old and started tagging along to jackpots and national shows with her older brother, Crosby.
This NJSA member has been a part of our organization for an entire decade now and has traveled to some of our largest shows including the National Junior Summer Spectacular and North American International Livestock Exposition. Her favorite show is The Exposition, because some her best memories have been made at the Iowa State Fair Grounds. However, she truly enjoys The Indiana State Fair because all the livestock kids of every species are in one place.
Courtney is no stranger to success in the show ring with multiple accomplishments under her belt. Some of her more notable wins are Champion Duroc Gilt at The 2019 Exposition Open Show, 3rd Overall Gilt at the 2019 Indiana State Fair and her favorite NJSA memory is winning Reserve Champion Hampshire Barrow at The 2019 Exposition. Then just a few weeks later winning Champion Hampshire Barrow at the National Junior Summer Spectacular with the very same barrow. This success has certainly given her some insight and her advice to younger NJSA members is to, “Learn from your mistakes and failures because that is the only way you can improve.”
There’s no question this young person embodies what the NJSA stands for. She shows pigs because of the life lessons it teaches you and the opportunity to be part of something bigger than yourself. While Courtney just like everyone else enjoys winning, she also enjoys meeting people and building relationships with them along the way. As active as Courtney is in the NJSA, she keeps herself busy outside of the organization as well. She actively participates in FFA, Cheer Block, Student Council, 4-H, and makes time for friends. With such a busy schedule, there’s no surprise Courtney’s favorite quote is, “It’ll buff.”
Courtney’s future plans include graduating Rushville Consolidated High School in June of 2021, attend a junior college and then transfer to Purdue University to major in agricultural sales. She hopes to someday be an Animal Pharmaceutical Sales Manager. Thank you, Courtney, for representing the NJSA is such a positive light.
One of this month’s youth spotlights is Brigham Bunt who comes to us from Ringwood, Oklahoma. This ambitious seven year old is the son of Will and Holly Blunt, and the big brother to five-year-old Bradshaw and two-month-old Quincy.
Brigham has been showing pigs since he was just two and a half years old and for the past five years seen a tremendous amount of success. It started when his Dad, who is an FFA teacher, got him two pigs to jackpot in Northwest Oklahoma. Brigham says he shows pigs because his family was always at stock shows with his dad, and his mom also showed pigs growing up. In his short five years in the NJSA Brigham has been able to participate at The Exposition, American Royal and the Southwest Regional. His hard work shows with his Reserve Champion Duroc Gilt and Fourth Overall Purebred Gilt at The 2019 Exposition along with his Reserve Champion Yorkshire Barrow at the 2019 Southwest Regional. He’s also done very well on the Oklahoma Circuit with the title of Novice Premier Exhibitor and Overall Premier Exhibitor.
Brigham’s fondest memory can certainly resonate with others. He was able to “stay up really, really late” at The 2019 Exposition with his Duroc gilt for the grand drive. Then getting to help ear notch the same gilt’s litter this winter. It’s not shocking his favorite show is The Exposition when he gets to visit with his friends and tour the booths. He also enjoys visiting the Oklahoma Youth Expo and watching the grand drive where he is excited to one day show.
His favorite part of showing pigs is getting to travel the country with his family and visit so many different towns and states. He believes others should join the NJSA because, “Not only do you get to compete in showmanship and the actual hog show, but you also get to do really cool things like judge and play games with the Junior Board Directors.”
Dustin James Andrus from Gooding, Idaho is the son of Brian and Amy Andrus. Dustin is 19 years old and has a set of identical twin sisters, Ashley and Courtney. He is a freshman at the College of Southern Idaho Electrical Apprenticeship Program. Outside of his schooling, Dustin enjoys showing pigs, welding and livestock judging. Dustin began showing pigs at is local county fair when he was 9 years old.
Dustin states when he was asked how he got started showing pigs is, “Once I was 4-H age a family friend encouraged my dad to get me into 4-H and I started showing pigs. I was instantly hooked. From then on I have been determined to learn more and make my pigs better.” Showing pigs has taught him a lot of responsibility. After The 2019 Exposition, Dustin officially showed his last pig in the ring as a junior exhibitor. He has since passed the “stick” to his younger sisters and now his focus is on feeding and raising competitive showpigs. Dustin is a firm believer that why he likes showing pigs is the people he has met and continues to meet. A lot of his mentors and idols that encourage and help him daily are always the people at the shows as well.
Western Regional is without question Dustin’s favorite show because it is a fun, relaxing and enjoyable environment. Dustin joined the NJSA seven years ago because, “I thought it would be a great organization to get involved in to increase my knowledge of the swine industry.” He has competed in The Exposition and Western Regional. The moment that triumphs Dustin’s show career was being selected as Champion Yorkshire Barrow and then Reserve Grand Overall Purebred Barrow at Western Regionals. Outside of the NJSA, Dustin has been an active member of 4-H and livestock judging. Through 4-H, Dustin has also shown cattle, where he has won Reserve Grand. Dustin is a showmanship expert as he was never beaten in swine showmanship at his county fair.
Dustin would tell younger NJSA members, “If you want pigs to be a part of your future. You need to be involved in the NJSA program and what it offers. Don’t ever give up on your dreams, even when you hit a wall or it seems impossible.” His favorite quote is, "Wealth is in the mind, not the pocket."
In the future Dustin wants to raise and sell competitive showpigs. If you have made it this far reading Dustin’s bio, the best statement is at the end. “I could not have been a successful showman or be where I am today without my parents. They are always behind me 100% on this adventure. Whether Dad is driving the truck or Mom is cleaning the barn and helping me farrow. They are always there for me. To my sisters who help me in the barn. I know I ask a lot of two 10 year old’s but, I do appreciate their help. To my mentors and idols, you always help me stay grounded.”
The NJSA would like to wish Dustin the best of luck in his future!
Words that come to mind about Kirsten Shafer are, successful, talented and driven. As a 21-year-old from Springdale, Arkansas, she is in the first year of her graduate program at the University of Arkansas. Kirsten is pursuing a master’s degree in poultry genetics. She is the lovely daughter of Paul and Elizabeth Shafer. If trying to obtain a master’s degree doesn’t keep Kristen busy enough, she is an active member of Sigma Alpha Sorority (Sisters in Agriculture), member of the Poultry Science Club, and also a member of National Honor Society of Leadership and Success. Outside of the classroom, Kristen enjoys running, crafting and working with her showpigs. She loves helping the younger generation learn about pigs and build their confidence in the ring.
Being a member of the NJSA since 2013, Kristen has been to a numerous shows. She claims she got her start showing pigs when she was a sophomore in high school at a jackpot show in Miami, Oklahoma. Kristen got her start showing pigs in an interesting way. She started showing Mini Rex rabbits and won many shows with them. Kirsten was up to the challenge of showing a different animal. With the help of a friend who had space to house a pig for her, her interest in showing pigs was sparked.
Kirsten shows pigs because she is passionate about the swine industry and enjoys seeing the different developments of genetics and how feed interacts with a pig’s physical changes. Being a Landrace enthusiast, she enjoys showing because of how competitive she can be in the ring against her friends, but on the outside, everyone gets along and helps each other. She enjoys the idea that if you work hard you will be rewarded. You might not be grand champion, but you can place in class and be competitive.
When asked what her favorite livestock show was, Kirsten couldn’t just pick one. “My two favorite shows would be The Exposition and Southwest Regional. The Exposition is one of my favorites because you get to see not only junior exhibitors, but also commercial breeders. I also enjoy the caliber of hogs at The Exposition and the people you meet and new friends you make. Southwest Regional is one of my favorites because it is a smaller show and a large group from Arkansas goes and we all hang out and have a good time. The show to me is less stressful than The Exposition and it is closer to home.” Kirsten got involved in the NJSA a unique way. She signed up to become a member at the FFA National Convention. After telling her dad and having a friend willing to haul her and a pig to Des Moines, was when she showed her first pig at the national level at the 2016 World Pork Expo. Since the first NJSA debut, Kirsten has traveled to The Exposition and Southwest Regional.
Kirsten’s favorite contest to compete in at NJSA events would be showmanship. She says, “It doesn’t matter what breed of pig you are showing, it matters how well your teamwork is. This contest starts at home.” Her most memorable moment in NJSA comes from the 2018 Southwest Regional where she captured the Champion Landrace Barrow title with a barrow she raised. Kirsten would tell a younger NJSA member that these experiences are going to stay with you for life. These are friends that you can call on and will be there for you. That this organization will help you gain confidence and grow as a person.
Kirsten has had a successful educational career. She graduated with her Bachelor of Science in Poultry Science and Minor in Agriculture Business in only three and a half years. She received an internship at Cobb-Vantress and received an Assistantship for graduate school through the University of Arkansas. Her favorite quote is, ““There’s a great big beautiful tomorrow, shining at the end of every day”- Walt Disney Carousel of Progress.
Her plans are to continue to get her master’s degree and eventually obtain a Ph.D. in poultry genetics. She hopes to be a poultry geneticist and continue raising showpigs and help to continue to develop the Landrace breed. The NJSA is proud to showcase Kristen as one of our spotlights and we wish her the best of luck in the future!
This month’s Youth Spotlight is Landry Rodibaugh. Landry is the 8-year-old son of Justin and Rhonda Rodibaugh and is from Rensselaer, Indiana. He is the brother to Riley, Gentry, and Remy and is in 3rd grade at Van Rensselaer Elementary School. While at school, Landry enjoys math class, playing at recess, and socializing with his friends. Outside of school, he likes to play baseball, basketball, soccer, and enjoys wrestling. Landry also enjoys going to his Wednesday night church group and riding with his grandpa during planting and harvesting.
Although Landry stays busy at school and playing sports, his true passion is showing pigs. He naturally became a part of the swine industry, as his grandpas, mom, and dad all showed when they were younger. Landry started showing pigs at age 3 at NAILE, in Louisville, Kentucky. When asked what he enjoys most about showing pigs, Landry said, “I enjoy the time I spend nearly every night with my family getting the pigs ready for each show. It makes all the hard work at home worth it, once I get to the show and get to spend time with my friends from all over the nation.”
Landry has been involved in the NJSA for four years and has attended World Pork Expo, and the National Junior Summer Spectacular. His favorite NJSA contest is the judging contest, however he loves being able to show in the big ring as well. One of Landry’s most memorable moments in the NJSA was with his landrace gilt named “Kylie”. Landry’s hard work paid off with her, as she was Champion Landrace Gilt at The Exposition and National Junior Summer Spectacular in 2019 and was Fifth Overall Purebred Gilt at the National Junior Summer Spectacular. Later that week in Louisville, she sold for $20,000 breaking the landrace selling record.
One piece of advice Landry would give younger kids in the NJSA would be to get involved, and make sure to meet other kids and make new friends.
The NJSA would like to congratulate Landry on all of his accomplishments in the swine industry thus far, and good luck with future shows!
Ruth Ann Carity of Minster, Ohio is an 11-year-old with a passion for the showpig industry. Ruth Ann is the daughter of Brent and Marie Carity, and sister to her 9-year-old brother, Cole. When she isn’t involved in 4-H and the NJSA showing pigs, and attending 4-H camps, she enjoys playing in her school band at Minster elementary.
Ruth Ann has been showing since she was 5 years old where she started out as a peewee showman at her local county fair. Her passion stems from both her father, and her cousins showing pigs.
Since then, she has been a member of the NJSA, and will continue to be involved with the NJSA for many years to come. When asked why she loves showing pigs she cheerily responded, “Making new friends and the fun of traveling with my family makes it all worthwhile.”
Ruth Ann has had the opportunity to attend National Junior Summer Spectacular, Eastern Regional and the North American International Livestock Exposition. When asked what her favorite shows are and why she responded, “Summer Spectacular is one of my favorites because of all the fun things to do and all the people you get to meet!” Ruth Ann also loves Ohio jackpots because she likes to show with the Ohio folks!
With being such a young showpig enthusiast, she has been able to achieve many top honors. One of her most memorable achievements was being named a 2019 Top Five Yorkshire Premier Breeder. Other accomplishments in the NJSA range from being Ninth Overall in the Novice Skillathon at Eastern Regional and placing in the speech contest, photo contest and even scrapbooking. “Scrapbooking is one of my favorite events because I get to make a scrapbook of my pigs from birth.” Ruth Ann says. Outside of the NJSA, she has won the Ohio Pigs Meat Judging Contest and placed Top Five in the Photo and Poster contest.
“Always say thank you” is Ruth Ann’s favorite quote and it speaks volumes how thankful she is for these opportunities she’s had within the industry. In her future, Ruth Ann plans to improve her Yorkshires, as well as continue to show in the bred-and-owned division. She has hopes of becoming a Preschool teacher. Ruth Ann would like to leave a word of advice to the future showmen. She says, “The NJSA is such a good experience, if you’re starting new, find a good mentor like I did that can teach you a lot of things.” She would like to give a special thanks to her mentor Lexi Delaney.
Jaxson James Cobb from Lake City, Arkansas is the son of Aaron and Cassandra Cobb. Jaxson is 11 years old and has three siblings Jett, 10, Jagger, 5, and Jace-Beckett,4. Jaxson is in the 6th grade at Buffalo Island Central where he likes to play basketball, draw and is active in student government. Jaxson spends his time outside of school playing USSSA Baseball, gearing up for hunting season and growing his Duroc herd.
Jaxson began his career showing pigs when he was 7 years old at the North American International Livestock Exposition in Louisville, Kentucky where he showed two Durocs. Jaxson credits his family for his determination to succeed. Jaxson says “My family raises showpigs. I’ve been going to shows for as long as I can remember.” Jaxson says its hard to choose a favorite show, but if he did it would be a tie between NAILE and the National Western Stock Show.
Jaxson has been an active NJSA member for five years and has had some amazing experiences traveling to The Exposition, NAILE, National Junior Summer Spectacular, Arizona National Livestock Show, and NWSS for the last 6 years. Jaxson is a competitive person by nature and enjoys the competition of the Barnyard Olympics. His favorite memory occurred at NALIE when he showed the Reserve Champion Yorkshire. Jaxson is very accomplished in and out of ring obtaining awards like the 2019 D.A.R.E Tournament 12U Golden Glove Award, School Citizenship Award, and the 2018 AGFC Triple Trophy. With the experience he has gained Jaxson has advice for younger members he says, “Take time to enjoy all the things you get to do at the shows. There are lots of things there for us to get to do besides just showing pigs. There are lots of awesome people to meet at shows too!”
Jaxson’s favorite quote says, “Do or do not. There is no try.”-Yoda
In the future, Jaxson plans to finish school and one day own a Whitetail Ranch while raising elite Durocs and crossbred showpigs with his dad and maybe his little brother. Jaxson also plans to continue carrying out his passion for hunting and cheering on the Boston Celtics, and the STL Cardinals.
A.J. Hornback of Coatsville, Indiana is a 20-year-old Junior at Oklahoma State University. She is the daughter of Steffanie Campbell and sister to her older brother Cale, 23. At OSU, she is a member of the livestock judging team, Agriculture Communicators of Tomorrow, OSU Swine Club and Block n Bridle. Outside of school she likes to work on her animals, as well as help her best friend on her cattle operation. She also enjoys helping younger kids she has met with their livestock projects.
A.J. has been showing pigs her whole life and has been an NJSA member for approximately 10 years. She was raised showing both cattle and hogs. She says, “Being taught how to show both species made me love both species!” So why does she show pigs? A.J. simply loves the animals all while accommodating the fact that she gets to meet so many new people, make new friendships and form new connections that will last a lifetime.
The First Time A.J. showed a hog was at the North American International Livestock Exposition at just 3 years old! Being so involved in the showpig industry for so long she has truly made some great memories. When asked what was one of her greatest memories she responded, “I believe my most memorable moment in the NJSA has to be receiving the Maschhoffs Scholarship at the 2019 National Junior Summer Spectacular. I was unsure of how the interview would go considering I was not only a pig driven kid, but it turned out great and I could not be more thankful for the opportunity!”
A.J. has accomplished one thing that many aspire to do, and that is to go to every NJSA show spanning from California to Georgia! What was her favorite show? “My favorite NJSA event is the Southwest Regional. It is in Oklahoma around the time school is starting. It is a place where my family can come down to visit me, and I get to show pigs too!” says A.J. Her favorite event at the NJSA events is Showmanship. How did she even get involved in the NJSA?
A.J. tells us, “I started getting involved in the NJSA by attending the Summer Spectacular when I was little. The show was close to home and we didn’t know exactly what the NJSA was all about at that time. As I grew older and got more involved, I realized it’s not just about showing pigs, but the people you meet and the difference you can make on someone’s life.”
A.J.’s accomplishments within the NJSA is nothing short of wonderful. She has been awarded the NYLC Outstanding Participant Scholarship and the Maschhoffs Scholarship.
This month’s spotlight has been showing pigs since the young age of two years old. The now 21-year-old, Payton Hines, from Quincey, Michigan still has the same drive and passion for competition as the young lady that got her national debut at the Eastern Regional in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Starting her show career came easy. With her grandfather raising numerous elite Hampshires and her neighbor, Dale Brown, raising Yorkshires, it was a no brainer to jump into the ring early on. Her dad always felt the need to have an organization where youth could exhibit their projects while impacting their future and building lasting relationships. The NJSA provided the grounds for Payton to do just that!
Although Hampshires were one of the first reasons Payton began showing, she has since continued to show due to her realization Freshman year that agriculture and showing pigs where her passion AND something she was good at. She enjoys traveling to shows for family vacation where she can meet new people, have fun and compete. Competition is one of Payton’s favorite parts about showing. She believes that competition builds character and teaches kids at a young age to be a good winner but an even better loser. With that being said, Payton’s favorite competition is the Bred-and-Owned Division. She is proud of the fact that through this competition she can know her Hampshire genetics don’t just compete with breeders her own age but all breeders as well. This can be demonstrated through Payton’s proudest accomplishment of raising the World Record-Setting Hampshire Boar, Gold Standard, alongside her family.
Family is a key component in Payton’s life. She is the daughter of Brian and Donna Hines and sister of Cailyn Hines. Now a sophomore at Lake Land College, Payton enjoys being a member of the livestock judging team, Ag Transfer Club, Colligate Farm Bureau and serving as a Student Ambassador. She plans to receive her associates degree from Lake Land then transfer to a four-year university to receive her bachelor’s degree and where she will then continue on to earn a master’s degree in agricultural economics. Throughout college, she plans to continue pursuing her passion of raising Hampshire hogs and attending NJSA events. The NJSA is pleased to present Payton Hines as a Youth Spotlight!
Kade Pendley a 17-year-old senior from Cyril, Oklahoma! He is the son of Dane Pendley and Lisa Mullens, as well as the younger brother of Harleigh. Kade attends Cyril High School where he enjoys playing basketball, being a member of FFA and the National Honors Society. Outside of school, he enjoys livestock judging and showing pigs which, he began at the age of nine by attending his local county fair. His passion for showing was ignited by his family, but he continues to show for the amount of hard work put into each project, the lessons learned and friendships built within the swine industry. At shows, Kade most enjoys being able to see his friends who share a common passion and drive for the industry. His favorite show is the World Pork Expo due to the deep set of hogs and laid-back atmosphere.
Since getting his start in the NJSA six years ago, Kade has exhibited at Southwest Regional, World Pork Expo and Fall Classic. Each show holds a unique significance to Kade’s show career. Fall Classic being his favorite NSR event because he is allowed the opportunity to see both breeding hogs and weanlings in the same complex. Southwest Regional holds his favorite contest - the judging contest. In this contest, he is able to sort and evaluate hogs of quality second to none, and lastly, World Pork Expo or more recently, The Exposition, holds his fondest memory of exhibiting the Champion Crossbred Gilt, in 2019.
If Kade could give any advice to younger members, he would tell them the opportunities presented are endless! In the future, he plans to attend a junior college where he will then transfer to Oklahoma State University to major in animal science. Kade would like to give a special thanks to Jarrett Mays and Drew Jervis for all that they have done over the years! Congrats, Kade!
Madelyn Rennecker is the 17-year-old daughter of Amy and Russell Rennecker, and the sister to Drake Rennecker. She currently is a senior at Bio Med Science Academy in Aurora, Ohio. While at school, she is a part of the Student Council, and Dynamic Darlings – a women’s empowerment group. Outside of school, she enjoys kayaking, and has a Youtube channel where she makes music videos and posts other funny videos.
Madelyn has been showing for the past 10 years, and first began showing at the Porter Randolph County Fair. She got involved in the swine industry, because her parents both showed horses growing up, and he dad wanted her to show livestock as well. When asked why she shows pigs, Madelyn said, “I like taking care of them and raising them. It is cool to see the change they make when bringing them home as wild babies, to them being able to drive in the ring.”
Madelyn has been a member of the NJSA for six years know. She first got involved in NJSA when her family was talking with friends about the Eastern Regional. Ever since, she has attended the Eastern Regional with her family because she likes that it is close to home and it is only a weekend long. During her time in the NJSA, Madelyn has been to the World Pork Expo, National Junior Summer Spectacular and Eastern Regional. Her favorite show has been the NJSS because of all the different contests that are available. This past year she enjoyed the speech contest, because she was able to share her passion about showing livestock with others, outside of the ring.
Madelyn’s has had success both at a local level, including winning show showmen at her county fair, being in the Top 10 in Sweepstakes at World Pork Expo, and having Third Overall Breeding Gilt at the Ohio State Fair.
After graduating from high school, she plans on attending American University, or Iowa State University. She wants to continue to pursue her interest for helping others and making an impact on the people around her.
Family, friends and showpigs are just a few words to sum up this spotlight. From Brooklyn, Wisconsin, Kelsey Klitzman enjoys spending quality time with her family while traveling to pig shows. Here she can meet new friends, visit with old and exhibit her love for showing every time she steps into the ring. She believes, “It’s not about how much you want it. It’s about how hard you’re willing to work for it.” She has demonstrated just that during her 13 year-long show career.
Winning Champion and Reserve Champion Yorkshire Barrows along with the Third Overall Barrow at The 2019 Exposition are among a few of Kelsey’s most memorable and proudest accomplishments. With The Exposition being her favorite show, she was able to visit with friends she has made throughout the years all while exhibiting her projects against the most competitive hogs in the nation.
Her favorite contest is showmanship because she is able to demonstrate all the hard work and connection she has built with her projects. Kelsey’s passion for the ring stems from her inherent love of pigs, older sister, Kayla, cousins, dad, and family.
Showing pigs is a family affair for the Klitzmans. Kelsey’s dad and his family grew up raising hogs allowing Kelsey to have the biggest love for pigs for as long as she can remember. Now attending University of Wisconsin-Platteville as a senior, Kelsey’s hobbies include having the opportunity to be a member of and network through numerous organizations such as Farm Bureau, Block and Bridle and Ag Business Club.
Her future plans are to continue to pursue her passion for agriculture through obtaining a career within the Animal Science field. Once in that position, her goal is to educate the public on the practices used within the industry in order to establish a new understanding of care we provide to pigs, people and the planet.
The NJSA is proud to present Kelsey as this month’s spotlight!
Vivienne is the 10-year-old daughter to Andy, and Tara Rash and is from Kewanee, Illinois. She is also the sister to Averey and Castin. She currently is in the fourth grade, where she enjoys science, math and reading. Outside of school she likes to play volleyball and basketball.
Vivienne has been showing pigs for almost two years. She got involved in the swine industry because her dad showed hogs growing up, and now she is following in his footsteps. Vivienne enjoys showing pigs because she enjoys working them and teaching them how to drive. She also likes to spend time in the barn with her family. Her favorite show is the Illinois State Fair, because she likes seeing her friends do well, and likes showing other species.
Since Vivienne has been involved in the NJSA, she has attended both the World Pork Expo and the National Junior Summer Spectacular. When at these events, she loves competing in Skillathon because she can put her knowledge to the test and see what she truly knows. The past summer, Vivienne had the privilege of showing a Duroc gilt that ended up in the Top Five at both The Exposition and NJSS.
Vivienne’s favorite quote is, “Life if good when the barn is where your best memories are made.”
Congratulations Vivienne, and good luck at future shows!
Max Heimer is the 9-year-old son of Jesse and Amy Heimer, and brother to Harper, who is 7. He currently is a fourth grader at Palmyra Elementary School in Taylor, Missouri. While at school, he likes to read about history, but especially enjoys learning about WWII. Outside of school, Max enjoys playing baseball and basketball.
Max has been showing since age 4, when he showed for a barrow for his cousin, Cooper, at the Missouri State Fair Open Show. When asked why he shows pigs, he said, “My dad and grandpa showed pigs and we raise pigs on our farm. I want to continue the family tradition.” While at a show, Max enjoys being with his friends, and the competition while in the ring.
Max’s love for the Duroc breed got him involved in the NJSA, where he has attended World Pork Expo and the National Junior Summer Spectacular. His favorite NJSA show is the World Pork Expo because he is able to be with his friends from all over the country. When at shows, his favorite contest is the Bred-and-Owned Division because he is able to show the Durocs he raises with the HHMX herdmark. When looking back at his time as an NJSA member, his most memorable moment thus far was having the Reserve Champion Bred-and-Owned Duroc The Exposition and NJSS in 2019.
In the future, Max hopes to keep raising Durocs, and hopes to show more cattle. He also wants to become a livestock judge and eventually go to college. After college, Max wants to be a cattle farmer and archeologist, if he doesn’t make it to the major leagues.
The NJSA is extremely excited to introduce Logan Rinderer from Highland, Illinois as one of this month’s Youth Spotlights. Son of Brian and Nicki, fifteen-year-old Rinderer is a freshman at Highland High School where he is involved with FFA aside from working on his family’s farm and taking care of pigs.
Logan’s passion for showing pigs comes from helping his brother in the barn and at shows. Lane help instilled in Logan that there is no “I” in team. Rinderer is very thankful to have a role model like Lane and a great support system that has helped him achieve his goals.
Rinderer has been involved with the NJSA for three years and during his time as a member he says that the National Western Stock Show is his most memorable show because he garnered the title of Champion Chester. However, the World Pork Expo is his favorite NJSA event because he enjoys getting to see pigs from across the country show in such a big ring. Additionally, he thinks WPX is a great place to learn more about the swine industry.
The NJSA has helped Rinderer garner much success including his Champion Chester and Reserve Lightweight Cross Barrow at the NWSS, Champion Poland at the National Barrow Show and Third Overall Duroc Barrow at the NJSS. Additionally, Rinderer gives credit to the NJSA for helping him learn how to enhance his public speaking skills.
“The NJSA is a great organization. It is a great way to learn about the swine industry and meet new people,” Rinderer says to younger NJSA members. “The NJSA also helps you set and accomplish goals.”
The future certainly looks bright for Rinderer because of his work ethic and passion for agriculture. After high school, he plans on attending Lake Land Community College. Following college Rinderer is interested in farming and working in the swine industry. The NJSA couldn’t be more proud of Logan and we can’t wait to see everything he will accomplish.
Dan Hoge’s wisdom “You’re never finished, your roles just change” really speaks to 21-year-old Hunter Langholff as he finishes up showing. His time as a junior may be over however, the NJSA is extremely proud of Langholff and we are excited to introduce him as this month’s spotlight.
While Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin is home to Langholff, he is currently a senior at Western Illinois University where he is majoring in animal science. Following graduation, he still plans on being involved in the junior livestock industry.
As a senior at Western Illinois University, Langholff reflects on his time showing pigs. He credits his uncles for getting him and his sisters hooked. “Erica, Maisie and I loved going there and walking hogs; we loved the thrill of competition you get being in the show ring,” Langholff says.
Some of Langholff’s accomplishments are also some of his most memorable moments. At his favorite show, World Pork Expo, Langholff received two handshakes, one being named the Reserve Champions Yorkshire Barrow and the other being Fifth Overall Poland Barrow. There is no doubt Langholff has been successful in the ring, but aside from that, it’s the friends and relationships that have been created over Langholff’s 15 years, in the show ring, that really mean the most to him.
Not only has he created lifelong friendships and connections with industry professionals and mentors, but he and his family have also been showing pigs because they enjoy the thrill of competition along with the responsibility and hard work that has been developed from each project.
As Langholff’s role within the industry change, he does share advice with the younger generation of NJSA members. “Enjoy the time you have showing while it lasts because you think you have ten years to show and while it seems long, it goes by really fast,” Langholff says. The NJSA is proud to showcase Hunter as one of our spotlights and we wish him the best of luck in the future.
Even at seven years old, Owen Hege has a love and passion for pigs and the NJSA is extremely excited to showcase him as one of our Youth Spotlights. Hege calls Rensselaer, Indiana home where he lives with his parents Jake and Beth Hege, and sister Hallie. We know there are big things coming for Owen in the swine industry because not many kids get to say their first time showing was at three years old.
Owen credits his family raising pigs with Tres Amigos for his start in the showpig industry. In his short show career, Owen has some awesome accomplishments. Some of those include: Champion Hampshire and Fifth Overall Purebred Gilt at the 2018 NJSS, Tenth Overall in Novice Sweepstakes at NJSS and Second Overall in Novice Sweepstakes at Eastern Regional.
The National Junior Summer Spectacular is Owen’s favorite NJSA show to attend because he gets to play whiffle ball and do Barnyard Olympics with all his friends. Since Owen is a big game guy, the Platt Invitational is also high on his favorites list because of the cornhole tournament.
When not showing Owen enjoys reading and being active at school during recess and gym. He is also very involved in sports playing football, basketball, baseball and soccer. He also enjoys going to Wednesday night SEEK at Trinity United Methodist Church. Owen also really enjoys the showmanship contest. He works hard at home with his pigs and likes to see how well they can work as a team during showmanship.
Learning and improving is very important to Owen, especially regarding showmanship. He loves what his dad says, “Have fun, be coachable and always work at getting better.” As Owen continues to get improve both in and out of the show ring, the NJSA is very proud of the person he is and all that he is doing. His future plans include going to Purdue, playing Major League Baseball, being a veterinarian in the off season and taking over Tres Amigos with his friends. The NJSA wishes you the best of luck, Owen.
Frankie Smolkovich of Herscher, Illinois is a 17 year old senior at Tri Point High School. He is an active NJSA member and is heavily involved in FFA, farming, and in his down time, snowmobiling. He is the son of Josh and Reta Smolkovich with two younger siblings Vinny, 15, and Ava, 13. Frankie plans on attending Lake Land College to earn a degree within the agricultural industry in hopes of becoming a heavy equipment operator or agriculture salesman.
Frankie has been heavily involved with showing hogs for 11 years and has been an NJSA member since 2013. He has enjoyed his time while traveling to numerous NJSA and local shows including World Pork Expo, NJSS, NWSS, Southwest Regional and the National Barrow Show. His passion for showing in the showpig industry all started when he was in the first grade when his father, Josh, decided to bring home their first projects to simply “try out”. Since then, their love for raising showpigs as a family has grown exponentially.
Frankie’s first show he exhibited at was the Kankakee County Fair. From there, he and his family have gone on to making some of his most memorable times in the show ring. Frankie says his most memorable moments in the NJSA include when he was named Reserve Landrace Barrow at both World Pork Expo and NJSS and exhibiting the Champion Overall Purebred Barrow at National Barrow Show.
When asked why he enjoys showing pigs, he replied, “I love to see the progression of my hogs getting better and better as I feed and continue working with them, knowing that all my hard work and dedication will pay off. I also love the fact that I continue to make lifelong friendships along the way.”
World Pork Expo is his favorite show because of the wonderful environment when he gets to see all his friends, and the memories that are made are everlasting. When asked what some helpful advice to younger members would be, he responded, “Work hard no matter what… Never give up.” He also wanted to leave them with one of his favorite quotes “The harder you work, the luckier you will get”
The NJSA would like to congratulate Frankie for his accomplishments and his passion for showing hogs! We wish him the best of luck in his future endeavors!
Carson Page and his family are no strangers to the NJSA. From Jefferson, Georgia, the Page family has exhibited at many NJSA shows and had great success. Carson is six years old and has been showing pigs for three years. His older sister, Savannah, initially helped him get started showing pigs and they both have been very competitive in the ring. Carson loves competing in showmanship and seeing friends at shows, but also enjoys the work he gets to do at home like washing his pigs. His favorite show is the Biggest Little Show in Georgia, which gives him a chance to work with a mentor and compete, despite being so young. Carson also enjoys competing in the livestock judging contests at NJSA events, and he hopes to continue judging in the future. One of his favorite moments in the NJSA was exhibiting the Grand Champion Crossbred Barrow at the Southeast Regional in 2018. He’s also placed in the top five in showmanship for the past two years there. Some of the kids in Carson’s class ask him questions about showing pigs. Carson says, “Everyone always thinks pigs are pink!” Carson tells his classmates what colors pigs really are and tells them how much fun he has travelling around the country and meeting new friends at shows.
Mason LaMonte of Zephyrhills, Florida, is an 18-year-old senior at Pasco High School where he is involved in his FFA chapter and plays soccer. Mason is the son of Mark LaMonte. Outside of school, Mason enjoys volunteering at the local vet clinic, fishing, livestock judging and, of course, showing pigs.
Mason was eight years old when he began showing pigs. He first started showing pigs at the Pasco County Fair. After watching a family friend show her pigs at the county fair, Mason decided he wanted to get involved. Since then, he has enjoyed learning about the swine industry while traveling to shows across the country. Mason also likes teaching people about his pigs and being a positive advocate for the industry. When asked what his favorite livestock show is, he responded, “The World Pork Expo. It’s great because it combines the show pig world with the industry world. Not only do you get to meet exhibitors from all over the country, but you also get to meet and network with industry professionals.”
Though Mason has only been an NJSA member for the past three years, he has made great strides to get more involved in the association. His time started in the NJSA when his mentor, Kyle Mendes, moved to Florida and encouraged him to get involved. Since becoming a member, he has attended a multitude of events including the National Youth Leadership Conference, Summer Spectacular, World Pork Expo, Eastern Regional and the Southeast Regional, his favorite being NYLC. Mason says, “I enjoy being able to learn about every aspect of the pork production from industry leaders. The conference is where I realized my passion for the swine industry.” His favorite NJSA contest is the livestock judging contest at the World Pork Expo, saying it allows him to practice judging his favorite species while competing with some of the best in the country. Mason’s most memorable NJSA moment was when he placed 4th in Intermediate Showmanship at WPX. Outside of the NJSA, he has many accomplishments including being on the 2018 Showpig.com All Star Team and being the Champion Senior Showman on the Florida Junior Swine Circuit in 2018.
If Mason could give younger members advice, he would say, “Get involved in the NJSA. I am very lucky to have gotten to travel to many different states to participate in NJSA shows and events. I have met so many cool people and my dad and I have made many awesome memories. The NJSA gives kids the chance to become more educated and involved in the swine industry, not only with pig shows but also leadership conferences.”
Mason’s favorite quote is “Success is not an accident. It’s hard work and determination.” His future plans include attending Modesto Junior College and obtaining his associate’s degree. He then would like to transfer to Iowa State University to study swine genetics and reproduction.
The NJSA would like to congratulate Mason on all his accomplishments and wish him the best in the future!
No words can describe Samantha Durst better than “silent, but deadly”. Samantha is a soft spoken eight-year old from Sidney, Ohio. Though quiet at first, Samantha is one very talented and successful young showman in the NJSA. She has been showing pigs since she was just three years-old, and this past year was only beaten twice in showmanship on her summer show circuit. Not to mention being undefeated in her winter show circuit. “I don’t know why she’s so shy,” says Samantha’s dad, Sam. “She’s definitely not when she is in the ring.” When asked what she likes most about showing pigs, Samantha said, “The competition and winning.” Her favorite show is the World Pork Expo, which was her first national show. Along with that, she’s also travelled to the Summer Spectacular and North American in Louisville, Kentucky, as well as the Southeast Regional in Perry, Georgia. She enjoys the skillathon contest because it gives her a chance to learn, but she also loves going back to the hotel after a show and swimming in the pool. She’s been very successful in the NJSA, finishing in the top ten on multiple occasions in skillathon, showmanship and sweepstakes. She also recently exhibited the Reserve Champion Duroc Boar at the Winter Type Conference. Outside of the NJSA, she has been very competitive, including winning the Berkshire gilt show at the Ohio State Fair. When she grows up, Samantha wants to be a vet so that she can help animals.
Our next Youth Spotlight is Cooper Bertolino from Morrisonville, Illinois. Cooper is the 14-year-old son of Shandy and Aaron Bertolino. As a current freshman at Nokomis High School, Cooper plays on the football, baseball and basketball teams. With that, he has a strong passion for showing pigs and working on the farm with his dad. At just four years-old, Cooper started showing pigs at his county fair, and has since increased his involvement by becoming a member of the NJSA. With the encouragement of his parents, Cooper and his two sisters, Sidney and Carson, have travelled across the country showing at national shows. So far, they have found great success including exhibiting the Fourth Overall Yorkshire Barrow and Reserve Champion Chester Barrow at the World Pork Expo. Cooper enjoys showing pigs because it gives him the opportunity to be competitive while meeting new people. In fact, his favorite show is the World Pork Expo, because it’s so large and pulls people from all over the country. He also loves getting to judge in the livestock judging contest in Des Moines, and hopes to transfer to a junior college after high school where he can continue this interest. Long term, Cooper hopes to major in ag finance and eventually return home to run the farm. He’d like to thank a few people for their help and encouragement during his show career: Luke McDonnell, Walter Colvin, Blake Danner, LJ Young, and his Grandpa Dan.
Sierra Graham hails from Lake City, Florida, where she is the 16-year-old daughter of Kevin and Donna Graham. Sierra is heavily involved in agriculture both in and out of the classroom. She is the secretary of her FFA chapter with which she also competes on the livestock and meat evaluation teams as well as other Leadership Development Events. For the past eight years, Graham has become more and more competitive showing hogs at the county, state and national levels. Her dad first encouraged her to show pigs at their county fair. There, she made a connection with a local breeder who helped her get to the next level. When asked why she enjoys showing pigs, Graham said, “I was raised to be competitive, and showing pigs gives me the opportunity to showcase that while making lifelong friendships.” Graham also serves as a junior board member for the Florida Junior Swine Circuit. She has been a NJSA member for the past five years, and enjoys traveling to the World Pork Expo more than any other show. “The atmosphere at the World Pork Expo is like no other,” Graham said. “You get to see every breed and meet people from across the country.” Within the time that she has been an NJSA member, she has been incredibly successful, from winning the Junior Sweepstakes at the 2015 Southeast Regional, to winning multiple skillathon contests and placing eighth in showmanship at the Eastern Regional this past year. Outside of the NJSA, Graham has raised multiple champions at her county fair and also recently won the Florida Junior Show Circuit Intermediate Showmanship division. A quote that motivates Graham is, “Nothing can dim the light that shines from within” by Maya Angelou. “I encourage any younger members to get as involved in the NJSA as possible,” Graham said. “The connections and opportunities are endless.” Moving forward, Graham hopes to continue her passion for meat judging at the University of Florida and study to become a USDA inspector.
Jenna Wheeler of Jacksonville, Illinois is a 18 year-old freshman at Lake Land College. Jenna is the daughter of Dennis and Joy Wheeler. She also has a younger sister, Allison who is 17. At Lake Land , she is a part of the livestock judging team, AG transfer club and the professional agriculture student organization. Outside of school she enjoys showing pigs.
Jenna has been showing pigs for the past 13 years. She started showing pigs in 2005 at her county fair and local jackpot shows. Once she was old enough, they began to buy more pigs to show at the state and national level. When asked why she show pigs, Jenna responded, “I think the older I have gotten the more I realize how many life lessons this industry teaches you. All of the kids who show livestock understand the value of hard work, what it’s like to lose, and becoming a respectful, well-rounded person. The morals and values that kids who grew up showing have really sets them apart from other people when it’s time to put down the whip and enter the real world.” Her favorite thing about showing pigs is the people. She says, “There isn’t a better group of people than those involved in the livestock industry”. Her favorite show is the World Pork Expo.
Jenna has been an NJSA member for the past 13 years. She has participated in many NJSA events including the World Pork Expo, National Youth Leadership Conference, National Junior Summer Spectacular and many of the regional shows. Her favorite event is the World Pork Expo because she enjoys getting to see all of her friends all at one time. Her favorite contest is showmanship because It teaches you a lot about yourself and how much work you put into something truly shows the most in showmanship. Her most memorable moment in the NJSA was when she had the Champion Duroc Gilt and the Reserve Champion Overall Gilt in 2010. Outside the NJSA, she has many accomplishments including being a part of the National Champion 4-H Livestock Judging Team and the state-winning livestock judging team.
If Jenna could give advice to a younger member she would say, “Set goals and keep striving to reach them. Be the best you can be always, and work hard for everything you want.”
Jenna’s favorite quote is, “There may be people who have more talent than you, but there's no excuse for anyone to work harder than you do.” After she finishes up at Lake Land College, Jenna would like to attend Oklahoma State University and get her degree in agricultural business. She would like to have a career in the animal pharmaceutical industry. Jenna would like to include that she would not be here today without her biggest supporters, God and her parents.
The NJSA would like to congratulate Jenna on all her accomplishments and wish her the best in the future!
Hailing from Lincoln, Illinois, the NJSA is extremely proud to introduce Ella Bobell as one of our Youth Spotlights. Ella is the 12-year-old daughter of Ben and Haylee Bobell in addition to being Claire and Alexandra’s older sister. With nine years of showing under Ella’s belt, you could say she is pretty experienced in the ring. However, when Ella isn’t showing she enjoys spending her time playing volleyball, basketball and softball.
Ella credits her early start to her Dad. He was a founding member of the Illinois Club Pig Association so it was a no brainer to get her on the stick as soon as she could show alongside her aunt. Ever since then Ella has continued showing because she loves it so much. Getting to spend time with her family at shows is fun, but she also gets to visit with the friends she has made across the country. While she loves the people that she gets to interact with, seeing the hard work that she puts in at home is something Ella also enjoys.
“It is not always fun doing the work at home, but it always pays off at the shows; even if we don’t end up with a banner,” says Ella.
Even though Ella has been to a lot of shows, her favorites are World Pork Expo, the Illinois State Fair and the National Western Stock Show. The World Pork Expo is her favorite NJSA show because of the warm weather, good food and great friends. The Illinois State Fair is near and dear to Ella and her family though. There is a lot of family history and traditions that go back to the Illinois State Fair. She loves the National Western Stock Show because the Herd Sire Displays are pretty hard to beat.
The NJSA is a big part of Ella’s career in the show ring. She has attended numerous NJSA shows and the most memorable show was the 2016 World Pork Expo where Ella raised and exhibited the Champion Crossbred Gilt. Raising the gilt that won made the victory even more special. Other accomplishments within the NJSA include: Reserve Champion Barrow at the 2018 National Junior Summer Spectacular, Champion Novice Showman at the 2015 WPX and 2014 NJSS and winning the title of Champion for Sweepstakes at the 2015 NJSS.
Ella’s shares with younger NJSA members to never give up, always try new things and follow your dreams. As Ella continues showing and works towards being on a collegiate livestock judging team, the NJSA is proud of all the she has accomplished. However, we know that if she follows her dreams and never gives up, there is even more success to come.
Brooklyn Day is from Atlanta, Indiana and is the daughter of Chad and Morgan Day. Brooklyn is nine years old and has two siblings Harper, 7, and Stella, 3. She attends Tipton Elementary School where she is involved in basketball and K-kids. Brooklyn spends her hours outside of school fueling her passion for showpigs, by spending extra hours in the barn working with her projects.
Brooklyn began her career showing pigs when she was four years old at the Indiana State Fair Yorkshire Open Show. Brooklyn gives credit to her family’s showpig operation for igniting her passion to show pigs. Brooklyn says, “My parents are involved in the industry, and it is what I have always wanted to do.”
Brooklyn has been an active NJSA member for three years and has had some amazing experiences traveling to the American Royal, World Pork Expo and National Junior Summer Spectacular. She has been very competitive in the livestock judging contest and she enjoys evaluating the different breeds of pigs. Her favorite NJSA memory is showing the Third Overall Yorkshire Gilt at the 2018 World Pork Expo. Brooklyn is very accomplished in the NJSA showring as she has also shown the Third Overall Hampshire Gilt and Third Overall Yorkshire Gilt at the 2018 National Junior Summer Spectacular. Adding to this already impressive resume is Brooklyn’s most recent success at the 2018 American Royal where she drove the Champion Hampshire Market Hog.
Brooklyn’s favorite quote is, “Get Better or Get Bitter.”
In the future, Brooklyn plans to continue showing pigs and assist mom and dad in running Top Cut Genetics!
Rachel Rumsey is from Prague, Oklahoma, and is an 18-year-old freshman at Northern Oklahoma College. Rachel is the daughter of Mike and Liz Blocker. She also has two older brothers Garret, 25, and Cayden, 20. Her hobbies include playing softball, spending time with friends and family and spending as much time in the barn as possible.
Rachel has been showing pigs for the past eight years. She started showing pigs at local jackpot shows when she was in sixth grade. Rachel says when she first started showing it was her brother Cayden’s idea. She did not really want to show at first but once they got pigs in the barn, everything changed, and she fell in love with it.
When asked why she shows pigs Rachel responded, “I show pigs because it brings something to my life that nothing else has. The moment I step foot in the barn or right when that gate opens, everything changes. The worries go away and I’m just living in the moment. It’s a kind of feeling that has brought so much emotion and change in my life that I find hard to explain. It has shown me that I never want to have to say goodbye to this industry. I am who I am because of the showpig industry and for that I am forever grateful.”
Her favorite show is the Oklahoma Youth Expo because it is the first show that showed her what all this industry has to offer and how far it can take you if you work hard and stay dedicated to your responsibilities.
Rachel has been a part of the NJSA for the past three years. She got involved when she decided she wanted to start showing at national shows. She has shown at the World Pork Expo, National Western Stock Show, NSR Fall Classic and Arizona National Livestock Show. Her favorite event is the World Pork Expo because she gets to meet new people from across the country and spend the week doing what she loves. Her most memorable NJSA moment was when she won Champion Yorkshire barrow at the 2018 World Pork Expo and was able to be in the Purebred Barrow Grand Drive, where she went on to be Third Overall Purebred Barrow. Outside of the NJSA, she has many accomplishments including having the Reserve Overall Commercial Gilt, 5th Overall Commercial Gilt and the Champion Yorkshire Barrow at the 2018 Oklahoma Youth Expo
If Rachel could give any advice to younger NJSA members she would say, “Take advantage of everything the NJSA has to offer and enjoy it because it comes to an end much faster than you think.”
Rachel’s favorite quote is “Some people succeed because they are destined but most because they are determined.”- Unknown.
After she finishes her two years at NOC, she plans to go to OSU to finish her degree in agricultural communications. After graduation, she would like to get a job marketing within agriculture.
The NJSA would like to congratulate Rachel on all her accomplishments and wish her the best in the future!>
The National Junior Swine Association is proud to recognize Krayten Trogdon as a NJSA Youth Spotligth. She lives in Paris, Illinois. Krayten is daughter to Jared and Kristen Trogdon, and a big sister to Suttyn and baby sister coming May 2019. Krayten attends Crestwood Elementary and is in the first grade. Her favorite hobbies at school include coloring, painting, reading and playing with friends at recess.
Krayten has been a NJSA member for two years. She got started showing because of her family’s involvement in the swine industry.
“My Daddy and Uncle Erik raises pigs, so I’ve been around them my whole life,” Krayten said. “The reason I really wanted to start showing though is because my Aunt Ashton and cousin Hallee show and I wanted to be just like them!”
Krayten’s favorite NJSA event is World Pork Expo because she gets to see all her friends and likes the big show rings.
Krayten’s most memorable moment in the NJSA was at 2018 Summer Spectacular when her and Skittles won Champion Bred-and-Owned Duroc Gilt. Although Krayten is only six years old, she has proven herself in the ring and has a list of accomplishments! In the future, Krayten would like to be a doctor and a farmer. She would like to thank her family and the NJSA for letting her show. Congratulations, Krayten, and best of luck in everything you do!
The National Junior Swine Association would like to recognize Ethan Stohlquist as a NJSA Youth Spotlight. Ethan is the 11-year-old son of Ryan and Victoria and lives in Poplar Grove, Illinois. He is a fifth grader at Poplar Grove Elementary and has to siblings, Isabel and Marshall.
Some hobbies he enjoys is drawing and working his pigs. Ethan started showing when he was three at a jackpot, and as he got older started showing in the state circuit. He explained showing as a way of life and loves the competition. Ethan became involved with the NJSA when his parents would take him to watch shows and the other families showing their pigs. That is when he realized he wanted in on the fun! A few years ago Ethan got the chance to go to Louisville with his Dad and help with the boar Amped Up. When he saw the boar win on those green shavings, it was then Ethan's goal to breed his own Yorkshires and show.
Ethan has participated in the World Pork Expo and National Junior Summer Spectacular. His favorite moment is when he walked his gilt out of the ring after being named Champion Crossbred Gilt at the 2018 WPX.
“There were so many people, a lot I didn’t even know, coming up to me, shaking my hand, patting me on the back say congratulations.” Ethan said. “I felt so much at that moment. A feeling that is really hard to explain. I was completely overwhelmed with joy.”Ethan’s advice to younger members is to set goals and work as hard so you can to achieve them. In the future Ethan wants to show as much as possible and grow his Yorkshire and Hampshire herd. The NJSA would like to congratulate Ethan on all his accomplishments and wish him the best of luck in future endeavors!
Wyatt Willison is the 17-year-old son of Don and Patty Willison who hails from Peru, Indiana. He is a recent graduate from Maconaquah High School. Wyatt has been showing pigs for the past 10 years when his brothers, Wesley and Wayde, started showing and has been passionate ever since. Some hobbies Wyatt enjoys is working on his family’s farm. They have 20-30 sows and raise showpigs, as well as farm corn and soybeans. One of his favorite things is working with his grandfather, dad and brothers. Wyatt's favorite part of showing is seeing the results from the amount of work put in. Wyatt has been a National Junior Swine Association member for the past three years and couldn’t decide on his favorite show because they’re all great! Wyatt has won multiple titles from Indiana State Fair and NJSA events. A few of his biggest accomplishments include Fourth Overall Purebred Gilt at the 2016 WPX and Champion Yorkshire Barrow and Third Overall Purebred Barrow at the 2018 NJSS. Wyatt plans to attend Black Hawk East and compete in collegiate judging, receive a degree in agribusiness management and hopes to return to the family farm one day and expand the operation.
The NJSA would like to congratulate Wyatt on his accomplishments and wish him the best of luck in his future endeavors!
The NJSA would like recognize Sierra Ann Reynolds, from Willis, Texas. Sierra is the 17-year-old daughter of Dan and Teri Reynolds. Sierra enjoys baking and entering her creations in her county fair, going to the movies and reading. The 4-H organization is something Sierra holds near and dear to her heart. She is a very active 4-H member and community service is something she is very passionate about. This inspired her to get involved with Project Linus. This program collects and distributes handmade blankets to children in hospitals or in other stressful situations. To date, Sierra has been able to collect over 250 blankets and over $250 for this cause.
She currently serves as president of her 4-H Club, 4-H County Council 2nd Vice President, Texas Junior Livestock Association Junior Director President, Montgomery County Junior Fair Board and Texas 4-H Livestock Ambassador.
Sierra has been showing pigs for 14 years. Showing pigs ignited a passion in Sierra from a young age. She started as a three-year-old girl chasing a pig with a ribbon tied to its tail around the ring. However, Sierra was more interested in finding people in the audience. It may have taken some time, but from the moment she won her first buckle she was hooked. Since that moment, Sierra has never looked back. From that moment on she decided she wanted a buckle every time she entered the show ring, but she knew this would take hard work and dedication. Sierra is now one of the most respected showmen in Texas, and in the nation.
Sierra has been extremely successful at the county, state and national level. She was recently named the 2018 World Pork Expo Champion Intermediate Showman. She has been extremely successful at her county fair, Heart of Texas, North Texas Fair, Fort Worth, San Angelo, State Fair of Texas and more. She has garnered multiple showmanship champions, breed champions and overall champions at every level.
Sierra joined the NJSA four years ago to show purebred gilts. Her favorite NJSA event is the World Pork Expo as it is a tradition for her family and friends. Sierra said, “I love the open barn, the people and friends you make from everywhere. It’s an opportunity to see this industry, become more educated, find up to date information on all products, swine related, and all the opportunities to meet and visit with professionals within the swine industry.”
Her favorite NJSA contest is showmanship. Sierra feels showmanship is the one part of showing where the exhibitor gets the opportunity to present the relationship between them and their pig. She has always enjoyed showmanship and the learning experience she gains from it. She said, “Ever since I was little I remember looking up to the showman who had won showmanship. It wasn’t that they had another ribbon or buckle, it was that they worked harder, they had more passion, and they were driven. I wanted to be that person so badly and I still work every day in hopes that I am now a better showman and the younger kids look up to me as a mentor.”
Her most memorable moment in the NJSA was winning Champion Intermediate Showman at the 2018 World Pork Expo. She loves the journey and the preparation for showmanship, and this show was no exception. When reflecting on her experience she said, “I was asked several questions by the judge and as I started talking about the swine industry I could not stop. I was, and still am, so passionate about this industry as a livestock exhibitor and a consumer. I wanted him to know all my concerns and thoughts.” This title was a long-time goal for her and the feeling she experienced is one she will never forget.
Sierra said, “I want young members to know the NJSA is a great resource for all passionate about the swine industry. NJSA offers so much to junior members and everyone there is eager to help in any way needed. There are many leadership opportunities, scholarships and so much more for any swine enthusiast. Most importantly, there is no better way to meet people who have the same interest in swine. You have the opportunity to learn the latest about the swine industry and youth leadership.”
Sierra’s favorite quote is, “Believe in yourself. Manifest your dreams. Talk positively to yourself and take action to create the life you want. Nobody is going to hand you anything, other than a bill. Don’t ever give up on your dreams.”
In the future, Sierra would like to pursue a degree in agriculture law or agriculture communications. She plans to leave her mark on the industry and defend every right we have within it. Her goal is to represent every farmer, rancher, breeder and exhibitor. She says, “I am sad that my time as an exhibitor will come to an end, but I cannot wait to see what the future holds for me and this industry!”
Sierra says the saying, “It takes a village to raise a child,” doesn’t apply to her. For her, it takes a whole show barn. She is incredibly thankful for her family, friends and breeders. Her advice for exhibitors is, “Don’t take for granted the little moments, everything isn’t a competition, show friends are the best friends, also, take every high or low placing and learn something.”
Congratulations, Sierra, on all of your accomplishments. The NJSA is extremely proud of you and we cannot wait to see what you accomplish in the future!
Jenna DeRouchey is from St. Marys, Kansas and she is the 12-year-old daughter of Joel and Julene DeRouchey. She has two brothers, James who is 14, and Jacob who is nine. Jenna is in the Seventh Grade at Wamego Middle School where she is involved in volleyball as well as managing the girls basketball team. Outside of school, Jenna enjoys showing pigs and cattle, baking, crafts and swimming.
Jenna first started her show career by showing in PeeWee showmanship at the Dr. Bob Hines Swine Classic nine years ago. Jenna’s family has a long history of involvement in the swine industry. Her Great Grandpa, Francis DeRouchey, started the first SPF Purebred Hampshire Herd in South Dakota and her Grandfather Fred raised purebred Chester Whites. Both of her parents showed pigs in 4-H and now her siblings do as well. Jenna loves showing because it has given her a way to make friends all over Kansas and multiple other states.
Jenna has been an NJSA member for five years now and has shown at both the World Pork Expo and the Southwest Regional. Her favorite is the World Pork Expo because she loves the high level of competition each year. Jenna’s most memorable moment in the NJSA comes from her favorite competition, showmanship. She has been very competitive in the showmanship ring as she has placed in the top five of the Junior Showmanship Division at the Southwest Regional three years in a row! Another memorable moment for Jenna and her family was exhibiting the Overall Champion Purebred Gilt at the 2016 NJSA Southwest Regional.
Some advice that Jenna would give a younger NJSA member is that this organization is very helpful in learning about the swine industry. She said that it can change your perspective about the many different career options throughout the swine Industry. Jenna is planning to go to Kansas State University and majoring in Food Science or Animal Science. From there, she would like to work with food, specifically within the swine industry. Congratulations to Jenna on all of her great accomplishments thus far and we wish you the best of luck in all of your future goals!
Caley Mayo, of Whitakers, North Carolina, is the 18-year-old daughter of Travis and Kristy Mayo. As a freshman at North Carolina State University, Caley is involved in the Sigma Alpha sorority. Outside of school, Caley dedicates the majority of her time to exhibiting livestock across the nation.
While Caley has only been showing pigs for a little over a year, she has been showing sheep and goats for the past nine. “I started showing pigs in 2017 at our local county show because I wanted to try something different,” Caley says.
“Jake Erceg from Coast to Coast Show Pigs asked me about showing in the fall of 2016, so I took him up on it and decided to branch out from just sheep and goats,” Caley shared. Caley went on to mention that she was glad she stepped outside her comfort zone. “I show pigs because it’s fun, but also to gain knowledge that will help in my future career.”
Caley quickly took to her new adventure of showing pigs, as she bonded with the animals and realized that each of them have their own unique personality. “The thing I enjoy most is being able to learn each of their personalities and how each of them respond while showing.”
As for the competition aspect, Caley has her own favorite spots to exhibit at. “The North American Livestock Exposition is one of my favorites,” Caley says. “I get to see friends from across the country and I get to compete with the best of the best.”
Being a true competitor at heart, Caley knew she wanted to branch out from her usual shows of choice and go somewhere new. This need to step outside her comfort zone was what originally drew Caley to the NJSA. “I got involved in NJSA because I wanted to compete in the Southeast Regional,” Caley said.
Caley’s leap into the unknown proved to be a great experience, as she exhibited the Champion Landrace Barrow at the 2018 Southeast Regional. However, Caley doesn’t credit the many achievements of her show career as her best memories. Instead, Caley cherishes nights in the barn with her friends.
“I think the most memorable moment for me would be when it was midnight in the pig barns at the North Carolina State Fair,” Caley shares. “A huge group of us were just hanging out and singing any song that came on. I’ve learned that it’s not the big wins that become the most cherished memories, but it’s the little things that lead up to them that mean the most.”
Sticking to the mantra of getting involved and making memories, Caley shared the advice she would give to a younger NJSA member. “Take advantage of all the amazing things the NJSA has to offer. I really wish I would have gotten involved earlier in my show career,” she said.
Looking to the future, Caley plans to graduate college and find a career in agricultural communications. “I hope to be the connecting point between farmers and consumers someday,” Caley says.
The NJSA would like to congratulate Caley on all of her accomplishments and wish her the best of luck as she goes forward!
The National Junior Swine Association would like to recognize Baylee Sliger of Bluffton, Indiana. Baylee is a sixth grader at Norwell Middle School. She is the daughter of Nick and Jessica Sliger and has one six-year-old sister, Brynlee.
Baylee enjoys being very active with her family like baking cookies with her mom, playing games with her family, along with riding around in their gator and watching movies. She loves spending time out in the barn with her pigs and working hard so they can be the perfect team in the show ring. Baylee started showing pigs in third grade at the Wells County 4-H Fair. Baylee began her journey into the showpig world from seeing the passion the Taylor Girls and hearing them share stories about showing. She found her passion very quickly and strives to work hard every day to become a better showman than she was the day before. Her “why” in showing is all the friends she makes and all the hard work she has to put in. Baylee is all about building friendships and knowledge of the showpig world. She also loves teaching her pigs new tricks. This was the first year she showed on the Indiana Junior Swine Circuit and she enjoyed being able to compete every weekend. She appreciated the feedback she received and then proceeded to try to fix or change to improve for the next show.
Baylee has just finished out her first year of being an NJSA member. She got involved by talking to others and asking ways she could show all year around. She was previously very active in gymnastics and basketball but made the decision to choose showing pigs over sports. Her first NJSA affiliated event was showing at the 2017 North American International Livestock Exposition. Baylee has also competed at the Southeast Regional and National Junior Summer Spectacular. The NAILE is Baylee’s favorite show because it was her first experience showing on green shavings and all the shopping. Baylee’s most memorable moment within the NJSA is when she received Reserve Champion Landrace Gilt honors at the 2018 National Junior Summer Spectacular. Along with having the Reserve Breed Champion she was also Fourth Overall Junior Showman. Baylee has received numerous titles from her country fair, such as Grand Overall Barrow and Reserve Grand Market Gilt, along with many showmanship titles at both at the county and state fair level. Baylee was named the Reserve Junior Champion Overall Barrow Showman at the 2018 Indiana State Fair.
Baylee’s future plans are to continue to show pigs! She would like to pursue a career as a teacher. She would like to help those less fortunate and try to help make someone’s else’s future brighter. She would also like to become a livestock judge someday.
When asked what her favorite quote was Baylee said, “Work hard for what you want because it won’t come to you without a fight. You have to be strong and courageous and know that you can do anything you put your mind to. If somebody puts you down or criticizes you, just keep on believing in yourself and turn it into something positive.” –Leah LaBelle.
She would like to send a big THANK YOU to her parents for always helping her and making it possible for her to do what she loves! Also to her little sister, Brynlee, for always helping walk pigs!
The NJSA would like to congratulate Baylee on all her accomplishments and wish her the best of luck in the future!
Jennifer Bittner is from Hamilton, Ohio and is the 16-year-old daughter of Jerry Bittner. As a junior at Talawanda High School, she is highly involved in her FFA chapter, participating in Career Development Events such as vet science, meats and livestock judging. Outside of school, Jennifer spends most of her time showing pigs all across the country.
Since Jennifer has been showing pigs for the past eight years, it comes as no surprise that she dedicates so much of her time to it. “I was eight when I started showing at the Butler County Fair and Ohio State Fair,” Jennifer shared.
Jennifer explained how her involvement in the showpig world came naturally. “It’s been a part of my family for a while,” Jennifer said. “My dad was really involved in the industry.”
Her family’s legacy of showing pigs has inspired Jennifer to continue to be involved. “I show pigs because I’ve grown up doing this. It’s a great industry to be a part of,” Jennifer said.
While Jennifer enjoys all parts of the showpig industry, her favorite aspect of showing pigs is the competitive edge that comes with it. “I enjoy the competition because I grew up being competitive.”
Along with that competitive drive, Jennifer loves the network that comes with showing. When asked, Jennifer shared that her favorite show is the Ohio State Fair because she has been showing there the longest and everyone knows everyone there.
Aside from her roots in Ohio, Jennifer wanted to get involved on a national level. With a desire to meet new people and compete against the best of the best, Jennifer chose to join the NJSA.
“I’ve been a NJSA member for the past three years,” Jennifer said. “I heard about it when I wanted to attend my first national show and knew it would be good to join.”
Since joining, Jennifer has been able to attend the North American International Livestock Exposition, World Pork Expo and the National Junior Summer Spectacular. “The National Junior Summer Spectacular is my favorite,” Jennifer added. “I always have a lot of fun there and it’s good to have a show dedicated to raising money for different causes.”
Not only has Jennifer had fun at the NJSS- she’s found success there as well. “This summer I was named the Reserve Champion Intermediate Showman.” No small feat at one of the NJSA’s most competitive events!
However, despite finding success in the show ring, Jennifer has stayed humble, even mentioning that her favorite quote is, “Remember where you started from.” She highlights some important advice for younger NJSA members as well, saying, “The NJSA is a great organization to grow up in. You’re learning about the industry alongside others who have the same passion.”
In the future, Jennifer hopes to attend college to study veterinary medicine and eventually become a large animal vet. The NJSA would like to congratulate Jennifer on her success so far and wish her luck going forward!
Nelson Hanson is from Clements, California and is the 21-year-old son of Jim and Stacie Hanson and has two older sisters, Molly and Laurel. Nelson goes to Delta College in California and when he isn’t showing pigs, he enjoys skiing, hunting and travelling to new places.
Nelson is a very experienced showman in the NJSA as he has been showing for 12 years. He started showing in 4-H when he was nine years old and his first show was at the Merced County Mayday Fair. Nelson and his family have come a long way since beginning their projects in an old 1940s dairy barn.
When asked why he shows pigs, Nelson responded with a simple answer. “I show pigs because I love pigs. They have the most hilarious personalities and are so different from each other.” Nelson goes onto say that showing pigs is also special to him because of the people he has been able to meet and become friends with all over the country. One of Nelson’s favorite parts of showing pigs is the challenge of the process. He says, “I enjoy the challenge of getting pigs dialed in and ready for a show, then maintaining that look and comfort throughout the trip. It is particularly gratifying when all of the hard work pays off.”
Nelson has been an NJSA member for 11 years and he got his start in Turlock, California at the NJSA Western Regional. Since then, Nelson has been to many other NJSA events including Southeast Regional, World Pork Expo, National Junior Summer Spectacular and National Youth Leadership Conference. Nelson said his favorite NJSA show is the National Junior Summer Spectacular because of the laid back atmosphere.
Nelson is an active NJSA member who enjoys competing in a variety of NJSA contests. Nelson particularly enjoys testing his knowledge in the skillathon contests. Nelson has some advice for younger members. He encourages younger NJSA members to attend as many NJSA events as possible, to participate in all the contests and to meet people because there is so much to learn from the people of the NJSA.
Nelson’s most memorable moment in the NJSA was being awarded the 2018 NJSA Herdsman of the Year. He also has been awarded Champion Crossbred Gilt at the 2018 Southeast Regional as well as being Top 10 in the Sweepstakes Contest multiple times.
Nelson made sure to include that he is very thankful for all of the support and guidance from his parents as well as James and Kara Backman through his years of showing. The NJSA is proud to congratulate on all of his accomplishments and we wish him the very best in the future!
Hallie Landry is from Jeanerette, Louisiana is the 19-year-old daughter of Jared and Allison Landry. Hallie and her 17-year-old sister, Keri, make showing livestock a family affair. Hallie is a freshman at South Louisiana Community College in Lafayette, Louisiana.
Hallie has been showing pigs since 2003 when she began showing at local jackpot and parish shows. She got started showing through helping her aunt and cousins walk their pigs when she was very young and became a National Junior Swine Association member in 2005. Hallie says she enjoys showing all around the country because she gets to spend time with her family and travel to new places.
Along with her family, Hallie has been to every single NJSA show including World Pork Expo, National Junior Summer Spectacular and the Southeast, Southwest, Eastern and Western Regional shows. Out of all of these, Hallie’s favorite show is World Pork Expo because she gets to see all of her friends at the same time in one place.
Hallie’s favorite NJSA contest is showmanship because it truly shows how much work the exhibitor puts in at home with their projects. Hallie and her family have had many showmanship and champions at NJSA shows but one stands out in Hallie’s mind. Her most memorable NJSA moment happened this past summer when she was named Champion Senior Showman at the National Junior Summer Spectacular.
Hallie would tell younger NJSA members to set goals and when they reach them, set higher goals to strive towards. Her favorite quote is, “Many champions pass through this barn but best of all are the kids who work in it.”
Hallie is planning on finishing college with a business degree and she wants to start a career with a company in the livestock industry. The NJSA is very proud to congratulate Hallie on all of her accomplishments and we wish her the very best on her future endeavors.
The National Junior Swine Association would like to recognize Jarrett Lackey of Springville, Indiana. Jarrett is an 18 year old Senior at Bedford North Lawrence High School. He is the son of Mark and Trish Lackey and has two siblings, one brother, Jayden Lackey (25) and one sister Taylor Lackey (21).
Jarrett is actively involved in FFA where he participates in livestock judging. After school he is constantly out in the barn practicing showmanship and proper care for his livestock. Jarrett has been showing pigs for 9 years. Jarett got his start at the Lawrence County Fair in 2010. He has had the best mentor, his brother Jayden Lackey, to fuel his passion for showing pigs. Jarrett said he shows pigs because he’s passionate about the livestock industry and what it has to offer. He especially likes the people he has met that share the same drive as him.
Jarrett has been a NJSA member for the past 3 years. He began his successful show career starting with the the Indiana Junior Swine Circuit and then advanced to the national level. He has participated in the 2017-2018 World Pork Expo and 2016-2018 Summer Spectacular. His awards include the 2017 Reserve Landrace Barrow at the 2017 Summer Spectacular, Champion Landrace Barrow at the 2017 WPX, 5th overall Landrace Barrow at NJSS and the 5th overall Duroc Barrow at WPX. His most memorable moment of the NJSA is being selected the 2017 Champion Landrace at World Pork Expo. Jarrett says his favorite show is World Pork Expo in Des Moines, Iowa, because it is the most laid back and you meet new, awesome people from all over the United States. Along with his achievements in the NJSA he has an outstanding record at the county and state fair level. He had the 2018 3rd overall Gilt at the Indiana State Fair, the 2018 High Point Barrow and 3rd overall exhibitor for the Indiana Junior Swine Circuit.
In the future, Jarrett plans on attending a junior college then attend a 4-year college pursuing a degree in Animal Science. His favorite quote is from Willie Kirkpatrick, “Folks, don’t confuse what we are doing were not improving the livestock, we are using the livestock to improve our kids.”
The NJSA would like to congratulate Jarrett on all of his accomplishments and wish him the best of luck in the future!
Lea Kimley of South Charleston, Ohio is the 20-year-old daughter of Kelley and Kirsten Kimley. As a junior at Ohio State University, Lea stays extremely active. Not only is she the President of the university’s Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow club, but she is also a member of Saddle & Sirloin and the Sigma Alpha sorority. Outside of school, Lea enjoys photography, reading and of course, showing pigs.
“I’ve been showing pigs for 15 years,” Lea shares. “I started at the county fair when I was five.”
Lea credits her pig-showing career to her family. “My dad raised pigs when he was younger,” Lea said. “When my brother chose his 4-H project, the family sided with pigs. We soon began to show at the state and national level and breed our own pigs.”
When asked why she showed pigs, Lea shared, “Showing pigs has allowed my family to work together every day and create networking opportunities across the country.” Lea also explained that, “Showing has helped me stay involved in the agriculture industry and choose a career path.”
Her favorite part of raising show pigs is picking out pigs at a young age with her family. “Whether we are buying them or picking out ones we raised, it is fun to predict the future of a pig by looking at genetics and feeding potential,” she says.
Lea’s favorite show to take her pigs to is the World Pork Expo. She loves the location and the amount of things to do.
Although World Pork Expo is her favorite that is not the show that Lea got her start with the NJSA. Lea got involved by attending the National Junior Summer Spectacular in Louisville, Kentucky. “In 2007 we went to the NJSS. We haven’t missed a year since!” Lea shares.
As a long-time participant at NJSA shows, Lea has been extremely active in the sweepstakes competitions. “My favorite contest is sweepstakes because it caps off the week at every show. However, if I had to choose just one sweepstakes event I would pick showmanship. I love putting in the work at home that will hopefully be what the judge wants at a show,” she says.
Lea’s favorite memory at a NJSA event is raising the Reserve Overall Gilt at the 2012 World Pork Expo. Lea’s advice to the younger NJSA members is to not to focus on the wins and losses but instead remember that showing is about the people. “The people you meet in the barn will be your lifelong friends,” Lea said.
In the future, Lea plans to graduate from Ohio State University with a degree in Agricultural Communications. Eventually, Lea hopes to find a career as a communications director for a commodity group.
The NJSA would like to congratulate Lea on all of her accomplishments and wish her the best of luck as she goes forward!
Joelle Boeskool from Hamilton, Michigan is the daughter of Corey and Wendy Boeskool. Joelle is 12 years old and has two siblings Travis, 15, and Mason, 9. She goes to Hamilton Middle School where she is involved in basketball, volleyball, track, soccer, and the Fuel Up to Play 60 Club. Joelle also enjoys being a part of the Cultivate Church Youth Group.
Joelle began showing pigs when she was 8 at the Michigan State University Green and White Show. Joelle credits her interest in showing pigs to her brother, Travis. Joelle loves showing pigs because of the competition and the friends she has made.
Joelle has been an NJSA member for 3 years and has had some great experiences traveling to World Pork Expo and the Summer Type Conference. She has been very competitive in showmanship placing in the top ten in Junior Showmanship at multiple NJSA shows. Her favorite memory in the NJSA is placing 3rd in Junior Showmanship at her favorite show, the Summer Type Conference. Joelle enjoys the challenge of participating in the skillathon competition at each NJSA show. Outside of the NJSA, Joelle has had many other accomplishments including winning Overall Showman at the 2017 Allegan County Fair.
Joelle’s favorite quote says, “Never hope for it more than you are willing to work for it.”
In the future, Joelle would like to play college basketball and work in a hospital. Joelle is off to a great start in our organization and we cannot wait to see what her future holds!
The NJSA would like to recognize Castin Rash, 11, from Kewanee, Illinois as a Youth Spotlight. Castin is the son of Andy and Tara Rash and brother to 12 year-old Averey and 9 year-old Vivienne. Castin is currently in the sixth grade, where he plays basketball and football.
Castin has been actively showing pigs for five years. He started exhibiting at the North American International Livestock Exposition and Illinois jackpot shows. His first NJSA show was the National Junior Summer Spectacular, where he took home 5th Overall Duroc Gilt honors. Castin has grown up watching his father judge shows at every level. Watching his dad judge shows prompted Castin to start showing pigs. When asked why he loves showing pigs his response was that he loves being able to teach them during the whip training process, he loves watching them change and progress as their feeding program changes to enhance their stock, he loves the feeling he gets before he steps into the ring, and he loves hanging out with his friends from all over the country. His favorite day of an event is show day. He loves the rush of excitement and anxiousness he experiences on that day.
Along with starting his showing career 5 years ago, Castin also started his NJSA membership. He has shown many years at both the World Pork Expo in Des Moines, IA and at the National Junior Summer Spectacular in Louisville, KY. Castin’s favorite NJSA event is World Pork Expo because he is able to show all of the breeds. He also likes hanging out with all of his friends that also show there. His favorite contest is the show itself. He spends months working hard to prepare for that day. He compares showing to the super bowl or the NBA playoffs. Castin works so hard in advance to prepare and a show is the chance to show off all the work you’ve put into your project. Castin’s most memorable moment is winning Champion Crossbred Barrow at Expo and receiving Reserve Grand Overall Gilt with his Reserve Champion Duroc Gilt at the 2018 NJSS. When asked what advice he would give younger members he said others should watch and learn from everyone around them and act like a sponge absorbing as much information as you can and apply it to your operation. You can learn a lot from watching others around you. Work hard at home and listen to all the tips and advice others in the industry give you. Lastly, Castin says to hustle, just as you would in sports, hustling pays off. Castin’s favorite quote is “Every day you have a choice to choose an attitude so pick a good one!”
In the future, Castin wants to continue playing sports and showing pigs. Long term goals for Castin include, going to college and eventually having a career in the agriculture industry but he says he’s only 11 so he still has time to think about all of the different jobs and opportunities available. Congratulations, Castin, on all your accomplishments, the NJSA would like to wish you the best in the future!
Zander Ivey of Bloomingburg, Ohio is a 14-year-old Freshman at the Fayette Christian School where he is actively involved in playing both basketball and soccer. Zander is the son of Amanda Ivey and Jim McCoy and is the only child. Besides the sports, Zander is heavily involved in showing pigs across the country.
Even at 14, Zander is already a seasoned veteran at showing pigs as he started showing when he was just 2. He got his start when Jim McCoy sent a Hampshire gilt named “Heidi Pig” to Arkansas for Zander to show. He contributes his first gilt as a major reason as to why he loves showing pigs. Zander also loves to show pigs because it is more of a lifestyle to him now. He said, “I love to show good livestock and making new friends.”
Zander’s favorite livestock show is the Ohio State Fair because it is two full weeks of showing and it’s the show that they have been working for all summer long. Zander has been to many NJSA shows and events including Southeast Regional, World Pork Expo, NJSS, and the NJSA Bootcamp. When asked about his favorite NJSA event, Zander said, “Southeast Regional in Perry, Georgia because it feels like you are showing on a football field.”
Besides just showing, Zander enjoys learning how to select better livestock through the judging contests at NJSA events. Zander’s most memorable moment in the NJSA was exhibiting the Reserve Hamp Sired Cross Barrow at the 2018 World Pork Expo this past summer. He was also fortunate enough to be awarded the Reserve Champion York Barrow at the 2018 Southeast Regional.
Zander would tell younger members of the NJSA that the shows are fun because he has been able to make friends from all over the nation through the organization.
Zander plans on attending The Ohio State University in the future and wants to eventually work for Real McCoy Genetics and judge pig shows across the country. The NJSA would like to congratulate Zander on all of his accomplishments and wish him the best of luck in his future endeavors!
Kayla Baker of Clayton, Indiana is the 13-year-old daughter of Adam and Sarah Beck. As a seventh-grader at Cascade Middle School, Kayla plays volleyball, basketball and is excited to join FFA in the upcoming year. Outside of school, Kayla most enjoys showing pigs and sheep and spending time with her friends and family.
For the past eleven years, Kayla has been extremely involved in the show ring. “I started showing pigs when I was two years old at the Morgan County Open show,” Kayla said.
Kayla explains that showing pigs was almost like second nature for her, as it is quite the family tradition. “We raise pigs and most of my family shows them as well,” Kayla says.
When asked why she shows pigs, Kayla’s response was simple. “I LOVE IT!” Kayla gushed. “Meeting new people, getting to see everyone at different shows, and learning something new in the barn all of the time makes it fun.”
Since meeting new people is one of Kayla’s favorite aspects of the show pig world, it’s not surprising that she enjoys attending national shows. “The Southeast Regional in Perry, Georgia is one of my favorites,” Kayla says. “It is so laid back, lots of my friends that I don’t usually get to see are there and the people in Georgia are so nice!”
The people also happen to be what inspired Kayla (at the very young age of just two years old!) to join the NJSA. “My family and friends are really what made me want to be involved,” Kayla said.
Since Kayla has been involved in the NJSA for such a long time, she has had the opportunity to compete at almost all of the NJSA shows. With that, she says, “I really do enjoy them all!”
Along with attending several different NJSA shows, Kayla has found great success at them as well. When asked to describe her favorite memory, Kayla says, “Winning the NJSS gilt show in 2015. I was very emotional… that was a huge moment for my family and me.”
However, the wins are not what Kayla defines as the best part of her NJSA experience. In fact, she shared that her favorite quote is, “A champion is defined not by their wins but by how they can recover when they fall.”
For Kayla, what’s more important than a grand champion banner is enjoying the moment. She shares that she would tell younger NJSA members, “Make a lot of friends. Have fun. Enjoy it! It goes by so fast!” Kayla adds to this by saying, “I still have quite a few years left but I just can’t believe how fast it has gone so far.”
In the future, Kayla plans to attend the University of Illinois or Purdue for nursing or to be a dentist. Kayla makes it evident that she will never forget where she came from though, saying, “I just want to thank everyone who makes it possible for me to be part of the livestock world. I do not know what I would do without all of you!”
Thank you, Kayla, for being an awesome member of the NJSA! The organization would like to congratulate you on your many successes and wishes you the best in the future!
The NJSA would like to recognize Hayden Everhart! Hayden is seven years old and the son of Blake and Ashley Everhart. He resides in Middletown, Ind., with his two siblings, Brody and Vivian. Hayden attends Shenandoah Elementary School. Outside of school, he plays flag football, baseball and basketball and enjoys reading books and building Legos.
Showing pigs is a family tradition for the Everharts and Hayden is following in those footsteps. Hayden began showing pigs when he was just four years old! His older brother, Brody, started showing pigs, and Hayden began as soon as he was big enough to drive one by himself.
Hayden said he shows pigs because it’s what his family does and he likes trying to do his best and win. He enjoys traveling to new places and meeting new friends. His favorite livestock show is the National Junior Summer Spectacular! He enjoys spending a week with his friends. It was also where Hayden received his first big win! He also enjoys the Indiana State Fair because he gets to be with his family and ride all the rides.
Hayden has been an NJSA member for two years. Hayden says, “My older brother Brody was involved and had a lot of fun, so I wanted to join as soon as I could.”
So far, Hayden has shown at NAILE and NJSS, but hopes to add World Pork Expo to next year’s plans!
Hayden’s favorite NJSA contest is Barnyard Olympics because he loves playing games and competing with his friends.
His most memorable moment in the NJSA was the handshake he received from Ben Bobell and Blane Olson when he won 4th Overall Gilt at NJSS!
Already at his young age, Hayden has had some big accomplishments in the NJSA. At the 2018 NJSS, he won Reserve Champion Yorkshire and 4th Overall Gilt. Hayden has also been able to see improvement in his showmanship skills.
Outside of the NJSA, Hayden was chosen as the Raider Role Model and Citizenship award at Shenandoah Elementary.
Hayden’s favorite quote is, “That pig is phenomenal!” His future plans include playing sports for Shenandoah and going to more hog shows. When he gets older, he wants to become a pig breeder.
Congratulations, Hayden, on all your accomplishments in and out of the NJSA! We know you have a bright future ahead and we can’t wait to see you continue to grow and excel!
The NJSA would like to recognize Brianna Cebollero. Brianna is the 21-year-old daughter of Mike and Astrid Cebollero. She is from Grass Valley, California and is currently a junior at Fresno State University.
While in high school, Brianna was very active in FFA. She competed in livestock judging, forestry and natural resources. She was also a chapter officer. She previously attended Reedley College where she worked at the swine unit and assisted in the breeding and farrowing operations. She showed on the intercollegiate swine show team and was on the I.H.S.A Women’s Western Equestrian Team.
Outside of school, Brianna’s family runs a small show pig operation. She also loves the outdoors, hunting, fishing, hiking, camping and horseback riding. She combats the central California heat by wakeboarding and wake surfing!
Brianna began showing pigs when she was 10 years old. Showing hogs runs deep in Brianna’s blood, as her father showed and raised hogs when he was in high school. Naturally, when she turned 10, she showed a hog too!
She first started showing pigs to follow in her father’s footsteps. However, her passion sparked and her love for showing and raising hogs grew immensely. She now shows hogs because she loves it and she loves being a part of the swine industry.
Her favorite aspect of showing hogs is being surrounded by her show family. As she approaches the end of her show career, Brianna will still attend shows to support her family and younger members.
Brianna’s favorite show is the Western Bonanza in Paso Robles, California. She says it is a great, competitive show with a great location.
Brianna has been a member of the NJSA for five years now. She began her involvement in the NJSA when she showed at the Western Regional in 2013. Since, she has attended the Western Regional, Arizona National and World Pork Expo. Her favorite NJSA is event is the World Pork Expo. She said, “Although I have only attended this show once so far, the sheer size of the event blew me away!”
Her favorite contest is by far the skillathon! She has always found this event as a fun way to recall on past experiences and answer questions to further her knowledge of the swine industry.
Brianna’s most memorable moment is hugging her dad and calling her mom after winning Supreme Pedigree Gilt at the Arizona National.
Her advice for younger members about the NSJA is, “It is a great organization that assists in getting you more involved and informed on the swine industry when you are young.”
Her favorite quote is, “Be busy making your dreams a reality.” Brianna has done just that! She plans to graduate this fall with a Bachelor’s in Communication. She is currently working towards obtaining a position as an emergency services dispatcher, her dream career. Currently, she is leaning towards wildlife fire dispatching, but would also consider the direction of city fire dispatching.
Brianna would like to thank everyone at Ottenwalter Showpigs, especially Russell Pedrett, for not only powering her goals, but also providing amazing support. She says, “Without you, I can definitely say I would not be where I am today.”
Congratulations Brianna on all of your accomplishments and we wish you the best of luck in your future endeavors!
The NJSA would like to recognize Kaden Entwistle from Sherman, Illinois as a Youth Spotlight. Kaden is the 9-year-old son of Jayson and Michelle Entwistle. Kaden is in the Fourth Grade at Sherman Elementary. In school, Kaden enjoys math and social studies while also playing football, basketball and baseball. Kaden also loves showing pigs and farming with his family.
A few of Kaden’s favorite accomplishments include having Champion Duroc Barrow and Fifth Overall Barrow at the 2018 World Pork Expo, and Champion Landrace Barrow at the 2015 World Pork Expo in Des Moines, Iowa. Kaden has been a part of the NJSA for four years and his favorite show is the World Pork Expo because he enjoys having the company of all his family and friends there to support him. When asked about his role models, Kaden said, “I am lucky to have my older brother helping me in the barn every year! He has had many accomplishments in the show ring, so he’s been a great role model for me both in and out of the show ring.”
Kaden’s future plan includes continuing to show pigs with his family and friends. After he leaves the show ring, Kaden hopes to go play basketball for Duke. Following his basketball career, Kaden’s ultimate goal is to return home to the farm where he can help his dad. The NJSA would like to congratulate Kaden on all of his accomplishments and wish him the best of luck in the future!
The NJSA would like to recognize Nate Swenson from Newark, Illinois as a Youth Spotlight. Nate is the 9-year-old son of Seth and Erika Swenson. Nate is in the Third Grade at Lisbon. In school, Nate enjoys math and P.E., while also playing soccer and baseball. Nate also loves Sunday School, 4-H, and livestock judging.
Some of Nate’s favorite accomplishments include having Champion Yorkshire Barrow and Reserve Champion Crossbred Barrow at the 2018 NJSA Southeast Regional in Perry, Georgia. Nate has been a part of the NJSA for two years and his favorite show is the World Pork Expo because after chores, he plays baseball with his friends and family. When asked about his favorite quote, Nate said, “To never give up, especially when you have a grouchy pig that doesn’t want to learn.”
Nate’s future plan includes continuing to show pigs with his family and friends. After he leaves the show ring, Nate’s plans to be on the livestock judging team and play baseball in college. Following college, Nate wants to judge pig shows just like his dad. The NJSA would like to congratulate Nate on all of his accomplishments and wish him the best of luck in the future!
The NJSA would like to recognize Bryce Bedeker from Seneca, Illinois as a Youth Spotlight. Bryce is the 18-year-old son of Darren and Jean Bedeker. Bryce is a freshmen at Lincoln Land Community College. In school, Bryce is very involved but ultimately waits for the bell to ring so he can go home and be in the barn.
Bryce got started with showing pigs from the stories and photos of his dad when he showed pigs. Bryce has been a part of the NJSA for 10 years and his favorite show is the National Western Stock Show because it’s so iconic and has so much history. When asked what he’d like to tell a younger member, Bryce said, “Have fun and work hard. Whatever you choose to do, do it for the right reason.”
Bryce’s future plan includes continuing to compete on the livestock judging team at Lincoln Land. Following college, Bryce hopes to return to the family farm to farm with his dad and raise pigs for the next generation. The NJSA would like to congratulate Bryce on all of his accomplishments and wish him the best of luck in the future!
The NJSA would like to recognize Austin Cain from Chariton, Iowa as a Youth Spotlight. Austin is the 9-year-old son of Dusty and Kim Cain. Austin is in the Third Grade at Chariton Community School. In school, Austin enjoys playing football, basketball, soccer and baseball. Austin also loves showing pigs, boating and working with his family.
Some of Austin’s favorite accomplishments include placing first in Skillathon at the 2018 Southeast Regional and National Junior Summer Spectacular. Austin has been a part of the NJSA for six years and his favorite show is the Southeast Regional in Perry, Georgia because the showring is turf so it’s like showing pigs on a football field. When asked about his favorite quote, Austin said, “Self-doubt kills dreams! Hard work beats talent, when talent doesn’t work hard.”
Austin’s future plan includes continuing to show pigs with his family and friends. After he leaves the show ring, Austin would like to continue raising show pigs for the next generation and going to shows with his dad and grandpa. The NJSA would like to congratulate Austin on all of his accomplishments and wish him the best of luck in the future!
Whitley O’Neal, of Spencer, Indiana, is a 15-year-old sophomore at Owen Valley High-School. At Owen Valley, she is actively involved in FFA, serving as the vice president for her chapter. Whitley is the daughter of Ryan and Amanda O’Neal and has one older sibling, Garrett, and one younger, Blakely. Outside of school, Whitley focuses the majority of her time on showing pigs and cattle.
Whitley has been showing for quite some time now- eight years to be exact! She first started showing pigs when she was eight years old at her local county fair. She got her start showing because her father asked if she would like to show livestock. He proceeded to list off the different species of livestock she could exhibit, and when he got to pigs Whitley knew that was what she wanted to do.
When asked why she chose pigs as her animal of choice, Whitley expressed that, “It’s my little escape from the real world and I get to spend time around people who enjoy the same things as me. It’s also a chance for me to influence younger showmen to always do their best and work hard toward their goals.” She also shared that what she most enjoys about showing pigs is, “When your hard work finally pays off and you can look back on how far you have come in your show career and have that feeling of accomplishment fill you.”
Whitley has been a NJSA member for six years and is a seasoned one at that. She has attended events such as the North American International Livestock Exposition, World Pork Expo, American Royal, National Barrow Show, NJSA Boot Camp and LEAD camp. Her favorite event is World Pork Expo, as she said she feels there are so many fun different activities to do with friends and she can meet new people. Whitley also explained that she believes there are several learning opportunities at Expo that help expand her knowledge of the swine industry.
Whitley shared that her most memorable NJSA moment was when she won her class at the 2015 NAILE. She went on to say, “I know this was only a small victory, but it felt like a large accomplishment to me at the time, because I knew I was getting one step closer to reaching my goals.” Whitley has also had a reserve breed champion at the National Barrow Show, has won her county fair several times and has experienced much success in showmanship.
When asked what she would tell a younger NJSA member, Whitley answered, “Be involved in as much as they possibly can in the NJSA. By being involved in more they will be able to learn so many important things that will help them later on in life and meet new people who will be lifelong friends. Also, don’t be afraid to try new things in the NJSA because, it may end up benefiting you in the long run and open up an opportunity that you never knew was possible!”
After high school, Whitley plans to attend Purdue University for animal feed nutrition and marketing/sales. She would like to stay involved in her family’s farm and help her younger sister throughout her show career. Eventually, Whitley wants to raise pigs of her own, while pursuing a career in either animal feed nutrition or as a livestock feed sales representative.
The NJSA would like to congratulate Whitley for all of her accomplishments and wish her the best of luck in her future endeavors!
The NJSA is proud to introduce one of our Youth Spotlights, Mr. Cody Maxwell, from Valparasio, Ind. Cody is the son of Mark and Kim Maxwell, with siblings Courtney (21), Kylee (20) and Kaden (10). Cody currently attends Morgan Township High School where he is a very busy senior involved in basketball, baseball, National Honor Society and the Student Athletic Leadership Council. While being incredibly involved in his school, Cody is also a part of the Distinguished Honor Roll & Student Council.
It is outside of school that Cody’s passion for the livestock industry shines through as he spends most of his time raising and pigs, as well as showing cattle. Plus, he still make time to help his dad run the farm. Ten years ago Cody got his start showing pigs at the Porter County Fair as a first grader, because he wanted to show pigs alongside his older siblings. Now he truly enjoys being a part of the industry because he says there is something special about stepping in the ring that really spikes his adrenaline. Aside from adrenaline rush, showing pigs gave Cody a way to make a name for himself since his sisters chose showing cattle and gymnastics.
Being a member of the NJSA means a lot to Cody because he has so many memories thanks to the program. His favorite memory was during the 2017 World Pork Expo, which also happens to be his favorite show to attend, Cody and his gilt were selected as the Reserve Champion Overall NJSA Purebred Gilt. Another huge accomplishment that Cody received in 2017 was earning the title of having the Grand Champion Barrow at the Indiana State Fair. Even with all of Cody’s successes, his favorite quote still remains, “People see what you have, but they don’t know where you have come from, stay true.”
As Cody prepares for college and earning a degree in biological engineering, the NJSA wishes him the best of luck. It is obvious that his hard work, passion and dedication to the livestock industry will take him very far.
Kelby O’Brien, of Lamesa, Texas, is the 18-year-old son of Branden and Karrie O’Brien and older brother to two younger siblings, Brendel and Amberlee. Kelby recently graduated from Klondike ISD where he was actively involved with football and FFA. In the fall, Kelby will attend West Texas A&M. Outside of school, Kelby dedicates the majority of his time to raising and showing pigs.
It’s no surprise that Kelby spends so much time focusing on his swine project, as he has been showing pigs for the past eight years. He got his start through the Klondike FFA chapter and began showing in the fifth grade. Kelby said, “I had never considered showing until our ag advisor, Todd Gregory, came and talked to our entire class about it. I took the packet that he gave me about show animals, showed it to my parents and asked if we could start showing pigs.” Kelby has been extremely involved ever since.
When asked why he started showing pigs, Kelby responded, “It’s something that I have been around for most of my life and something that I have a lot of passion for. It has been a very rewarding experience.” Part of that reward for Kelby is the opportunity he has to feed and work with his show stock. He enjoys this part of the process as he gets to witness the progression his hogs make throughout the year.
Kelby has been a NJSA member for four years and has truly enjoyed his experience. While Kelby stays pretty partial to his Texas majors, he said he had a desire to get involved at the national level and that is how he found himself in the NJSA. After attending the World Pork Expo twice, Kelby emphasized that this is his favorite NJSA event. To expand on that, Kelby highlighted that he liked this show, “Because it brings the ‘best of the best’ hogs from across the country and lets them compete against one another. This show is a great learning experience for everyone who attends and is always full of tough competition.”
As for his most memorable NJSA moment, Kelby shared he was Tenth Overall in the Senior Sweepstakes Division at the 2017 World Pork Expo. Just like several of our other members, Kelby enjoys the competition of the sweepstakes contest and taking part in all the activities that count toward the total sweepstakes score. Kelby shared that his favorite of these competitions would be the judging contest. He added to this by saying, “I believe this will help me in my future because I will need to know what makes quality show animals in my field.”
Kelby would tell a younger NJSA member, “This is a great organization to join. This organization teaches you the value of hard work and what it takes to win at the next level. It lays a good foundation for the youth of America and helps educate people about the pork industry.” Moving into the future, Kelby plans to finish at West Texas A&M with a Ph.D. in swine nutrition and then start his own showpig operation.
The NJSA would like to congratulate Kelby on all of his accomplishments and wish him the best of luck as he goes forward!
This month’s Youth Spotlight is Bryson Stickler. Bryson is the 10 year-old son of Mike and Amy Stickler and hails from Springfield, Ill. Bryson started showing pigs when he was just four years-old, and with the help of his dad and older brother, Brandon, he has evolved into one of the most talented young showmen in his age division. Bryson has several hobbies like baseball and spending time with friends, but his favorite thing to do is show pigs. When asked what he enjoys most about showing, Bryson said, “I like meeting new people, but also the opportunity to be competitive.”
Some of his favorite shows to attend are the Southwest Regional and the World Pork Expo. He believes they are the most competitive and he has been able to make new friends, as well as hang out with his mentor at events like the MVP Water Balloon Fight. Bryson has shown at almost every NJSA show including the Southwest Regional, World Pork Expo, National Junior Summer Spectacular, Eastern Regional and Southeast Regional. He has also shown pigs at NJSA affiliate shows, like the National Western Stock Show and the American Royal. At these shows, Bryson has gone the extra mile by competing in multiple events past showmanship and the junior show. He believes that skillathon has helped him learn the most about pigs which makes it his favorite educational contest to compete in. Bryson’s most memorable moments in the NJSA would be exhibiting the Champion Duroc Gilt at the 2018 NJSA Southeast Regional and the Champion Yorkshire Barrow at the 2017 NJSA Southwest Regional.
When asked what advice he would give younger members, he said, “Work hard and get involved as much as possible.” This advice emulates the meaning of his favorite quote, “Go big or go home!” He dreams of one day becoming a professional baseball player, but has a backup plan of going to Purdue and majoring in agribusiness.
Our next Youth Spotlight is Katie Head of Paragould, Ark. Katie is a senior at Greene County Tech High School with plans of attending Arkansas State University and ultimately become a pediatrician. She is the daughter of Rodney and Kristie Head and has three sisters (Holly, Abbie and Karie) and two brothers (Andy and Kale). Katie is a member of her FFA Chapter at school along with the Drug Free Teen program and Student Christian group. She’s also very involved in her community. She’s an active member in 4-H, and enjoys getting involved in her church and bible study group.
Katie has been showing livestock for over nine years. She first started showing at her county fair in 2010, where her family has been exhibiting multiple species for quite some time. It wasn’t until her younger brother expressed an interest in pigs that her family got involved in showing hogs as well. Since she started showing pigs, she has found a love for the people involved in the showpig industry, as well as the travel of going to national shows. Her favorite shows are the Arkansas State Fair, North American International Livestock Exposition, which would have been her family’s first national show and the National Western Stock Show because she gets the chance to see the mountains in Denver. Katie also enjoys competing in the livestock judging contests at NJSA shows because it helps her learn more about the livestock industry. Some of her biggest accomplishments and favorite memories within the NJSA include exhibiting the Champion Yorkshire Barrow and Reserve Champion Overall Barrow at the 2017 NJSA National Junior Summer Spectacular, as well as being named Third Overall Showman at NAILE, in 2017. Another fond memory was exhibiting the Champion Market Hog at the 2017 Arkansas State Fair.
Katie’s favorite quote is, “Success isn’t always about greatness. It’s about consistency. Consistent hard work leads to success. Greatness will come.” This correlates to her advice to younger members to work hard, and get involved whenever possible.
Madisyn Douglass is the 10 year-old daughter of Josh and Tiffany Douglass from Brazil, Ind., and big sister of Drew and Lucas Douglass. Aside from her very competitive showpig career, Madi entertains a busy schedule! Not only is she on the honor roll at school, but she also plays softball, basketball, volleyball and is a member of her swim team.
She started showing pigs when she was just three years-old on the Indiana Show Circuit. She now travels around the country exhibiting barrows and gilts at multiple national shows. Her favorite NJSA show is the Southwest Regional which she competed at for the first time this past year. She enjoyed this show because she made many new friends while competing in her favorite NJSA event, the Corn Hole Tournament. When asked what she enjoys most about showing pigs, Madi says, “Being in the ring, because I get the chance to prove all of my hard work.” Madi also competes in educational contests hosted by the NJSA, her favorite being skillathon, because she like learning more about pigs. Madi and her family have exhibited hogs at multiple NJSA shows including the World Pork Expo, National Junior Summer Spectacular and Southwest Regional. One of her favorite memories to date was being named Champion Novice Showman at the 2017 NJSA Southwest Regional.
She is very thankful for her parents, who got her started showing pigs and to the friends that encouraged her to become an NJSA member. She hopes to go to Purdue when she is older and become a teacher.
Hailing from Napa, Calif., the NJSA would like to introduce this month’s NJSA Youth Spotlight, Miss Alia Rodgers. Alia is the fifteen-year-old daughter of Tim and Shanna Rodgers, as well as Miss Mardi’s younger sister. As a sophomore at Sonoma Academy, Alia spent time playing basketball and volleyball, but now she is solely focused on working with and showing her pigs. Alia’s additional hobbies include swimming, photography and participating in 4-H activities.
Alia owes a lot to the 4-H leader who helped Alia get her start showing pigs because she offered the Rodger family to use her barn. Now five years later, Alia is well into her successful show career. Some of her favorite shows include Arizona National Livestock Show, World Pork Expo and the California State Fair. Even as a California native, Alia enjoys ANLS because of its warm weather during the winter months. Her favorite part about the WPX is seeing so many cultures and countries come together in Des Moines.
Within the NJSA, Alia’s hard work and talent stands out, making her a perfect spotlight. Even with her major accomplishments of being Fifth Overall NJSA Gilt at the 2017 World Pork Expo, Reserve Supreme Barrow at the 2017 California State Fair and Champion Cross Gilt at the 2015 Arizona National Livestock Show, Alia is still humble and caring to those around her. Speaking to younger NJSA members, her advice is to, “Remember that being a part of the NJSA is the opportunity of a lifetime and to appreciate the purebred industry because its differences are amazing.
After high school Alia plans on attending a college that will allow her to continue showing but following her show career she wants to study along the east coast. The NJSA is proud of Alia and we wish her the best of luck in her future endeavors.
This month’s NJSA Youth Spotlight, from Ripley, Okla., is Jacie Cantrell. The nine-year-old daughter of Jeremy and Kelcie Cantrell, has three siblings, Evie Rue (6), Ryker (2) and Creed (5 months). As a third grader at Ripley School, Jacie enjoys playing basketball, creating artwork and reading. Outside of school you can find Jacie showing pigs, shopping or collecting baby dolls.
All it took for Jacie to show her first pig was to sweetly ask her dad, “Can I show?” and with no surprise dad said yes. Jump forward and Jacie has been showing for four years because she has so much fun doing it. When it comes to pig shows, Jacie says she loves driving to the show, playing at the show and being able to show to the judge. Now at home, her favorite part is walking pigs in the yard with her family. Her sister, Evie Rue, even dances when she brushes the pigs.
World Pork Expo in Des Moines, Iowa is a special place for Miss Cantrell. Not only is it her favorite show to attend because she gets to see so many of her friends from other states, while also getting to see all of the booths that have candy and other free stuff. In 2017, Jacie and her Yorkshire gilt, Sasha, were named Champion Overall NJSA Purebred Gilt. Jacie was so excited when the judge selected her pig, and she was even happier when her dad gave her a big hug back at the holding pens. Other accomplishments include; 2015 WPX Champion Yorkshire and Reserve Champion Overall NJSA Purebred Gilt and Champion Bred-and-Owned Yorkshire Gilt, 2016 WPX Reserve Division 1 and Third Overall Bred-and-Owned Yorkshire Gilt, and being named the Fifth Overall Junior Yorkshire Breeder in 2016.
Jacie shared with us her the importance of her faith in addition to her love for shopping and fashion. This is made even clearer through her two favorite quotes:
“Be full of Joy in the Lord always, I will say again, be full of Joy.” Philippians 4:4
“I will wear my pink shirt with ruffles, my purple skirt with ruffles, my pink-and-purple socks with ruffles. Ruffles make anything fancy!” -Fancy Nancy
It is clear Jacie has a bright future in and out of the show ring and the NJSA is proud to highlight her success thus far. Looking forward, we wish her the best of luck as she participates at the Oklahoma Youth Expo, as well as her future career goals of being a delivery nurse.
The NJSA is proud to recognize Brady Carney as one of this month’s youth spotlights. Brady, 18, resides in Calhoun, Ga. with his parents, Shane and Charity. Brady is actively involved in FFA. When he isn’t in school, Brady enjoys showing pigs, helping with his family’s poultry farm, fishing and hunting.
Brady started showing pigs when he was in sixth grade through FFA. When he started out, Brady was only showing at local shows, but has since expanded to show throughout the state of Georgia, as well as a few national shows. When asked why he shows pigs, Brady says, “Because I love it. I enjoy spending time in the barn with my animals, and I enjoy talking to my friends and meeting new people.”
Brady’s favorite livestock show is the World of Pork in Des Moines, Iowa, because of to all the events that take place at it. He also enjoys getting to pick out his pigs at Cain’s Super Sires each year. Dusty Cain is a big reason why Brady became involved with NJSA after he recommended Brady attend the Southeast Regional in Perry, Ga.
Brady’s most memorable moment is winning Reserve Champion Hampshire Sired Crossbred Barrow at the 2017 World Pork Expo. It was a very emotional experience for he and his family and something he will remember the rest of his life.
Brady’s favorite quote is, “Never give up! If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again!”
In the future, Brady plans to attend Abraham Baldwin Agriculture College majoring in animal science. After graduation, he plans to return home and run his family’s poultry operation, as well as a small showpig operation.
Congratulations on a bright future, Brady. We look forward to watching you succeed!
The National Junior Swine Association would like to recognize Cash Martin, from Abernathy, Texas, for the NJSA Youth Spotlight. Cash is 13 years old, and currently attending eighth grade at Abernathy Middle School. Cash is the daughter of Brent and Erin Martin and has three siblings, two sisters, Cooper, 9, Colter, 4, and one brother Call, 5.
In school Cash enjoys and stays busy with basketball, track, UIL speaking events, cheerleading and livestock judging, along with showing pigs and steers. Outside of school, Cash serves as the first vice president on the Texas Junior Livestock Association, she is a member of the TJLA Junior Board of Directors, she likes spending time with her family whether that be vacationing or shopping. Cash started showing pigs six years ago at the Abernathy local show. Cash shows pigs because of how competitive she is, the new friends you meet and for her love of animals. Cash loves showing pigs at a competitive stand point because she enjoys watching all of her hard work pay off. Cash’s favorite show is the Houston Livestock Show and the World Pork Expo for the competitiveness each show brings.
Cash started her NJSA career in 2014 and has attended the World Pork Expo. She wanted to get involved in the NJSA to show outside of Texas. Her friend and mentor, Todd Beyers, suggested she join NJSA and compete in NJSA shows and contests. Cash’s favorite NJSA events are the livestock judging contest and showmanship because she enjoys judging livestock whenever she can and she loves to be competitive in showmanship because the outcome is based on her own performance and there is always something to learn to become better. Cash’s most memorable moments is receiving the 2014 Reserve Champion Chester Barrow and winning first place in the junior livestock judging contest with her team, in 2017. She has received several awards within the NJSA including the fifth place in the 2017 Overall Sweepstakes, sixth place in 2017 Showmanship, and Champion Junior Livestock Judging Team, in 2017. Cash has many accomplishments outside of the NJSA with the TJLA being Top 10 in the state pig and steer showmanship and Top 10 Region 1 steers and pigs, Champion Dark OPB Barrow and Champion York Barrow at the State Fair of Texas, and also receiving Champion and Reserve Champion pig at the Hale County show.
Cash’s future plans are to attend Texas Tech University and major in animal science and judge livestock. She hopes to intern with the NJSA at some point in the future. Her dream job is to do something within the livestock market. When ask what her favorite quote was Cash said, “Practice like you’ve never won, perform like you’ve never lost.”
The NJSA would like to congratulate Cash on all her accomplishments and wish her the best in the future!
Landry Miller is from Abernathy, Texas where he goes to Abernathy Middle School and is in the seventh grade. Landry is the 13 year old son of Jason and Janell Miller and has one sister, Sydney who is 10 years old. Landry is heavily involved in school sports as he plays football, basketball and also runs track. Outside of school, Landry is just as busy! He loves to show pigs, judge livestock, fish and many more activities.
Landry showed his first pig when he was just three years old at the Texas Tech Jackpot in Lubbock, Texas. Landry’s dad was an Ag teacher and Landry said he wanted to start showing so that he could be like the older kids that his dad taught. Landry absolutely has a passion for showing pigs as it has become a very large part of his life. He said that his favorite part is winning after putting so much time and hard work with his animals because that’s the greatest feeling on earth to him. Landry’s favorite show is the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo because of the great environment for the people and the pigs and he always has fun there!
Landry has been involved in the NJSA since 2010 when he showed at his first National Junior Summer Spectacular, in Louisville, Ky.. The NJSS is also one of his favorite shows because he loves the facilities, tough competition and it’s always a fun environment for his family. Landry has also shown at World Pork Expo where he is always competitive in his favorite competition, the judging contest. Besides judging, Landry also participates in the photography, poster board, skillathon, and showmanship contests. All of his hard work in the competitions payed off when he was the Reserve Overall Premier Exhibitor and Fourth High Individual in the judging contest at the 2017 World Pork Expo.
Outside of the NJSA, Landry has had a multitude of accomplishments, including Grand Champion at his county show and a Reserve Breed Champion at the San Antonio Livestock Show, as well as multiple livestock judging wins.
Landry’s favorite quote is one that anyone could learn from as it says, “Practice like you’ve never won; perform like you’ve never lost.”
Landry’s advice to a younger member would be to tell them how many opportunities the NJSA has for its members in terms of scholarships and leadership positions. Landry plans on taking full advantage of these opportunities as he wants to be on the Junior Board of Directors in the future. Landry’s other plans include earning a scholarship for football or livestock judging so that he can go to college. After that, he wants to become a professional football player, a veterinarian, or a showpig breeder. Congratulations to Landry on all of your great accomplishments thus far and we wish you the best of luck in all of your future goals!
The NJSA would like to recognize Riley Clinard, 9, from Rockdale, Texas. Riley is the daughter of Glenn and Shannon Clinard and sister to Jaxson, 3. Riley is currently in the third grade at St. Paul Lutheran-Thorndale, where she enjoys reading, playing basketball and volleyball. Outside of school, she enjoys baking, watching movies with her family, riding her bike, listening to music and learning to play the piano!
Riley has been actively showing pigs for four years, where the beginning of her career started at the 2014 SWTC in Belton, Texas. She showed a big Yorkshire gilt named “Stormfly” that placed in class along with also making the sale! Riley began showing pigs because both of her parents showed growing up, so it felt natural to follow in their footsteps. Her parents bought her a pig to raise and learn how to care for like feeding, bathing and how to show properly. It sparked her interest when she learned that pigs are raised for two purposes; breeding and pork production! Riley shows pigs because she would like to work with animal when she gets older. This helps her get an understanding the care and well-being for an animal. Riley’s favorite part about showing is getting to know more about the breeders and other exhibitors across the U.S. She loves the competitive nature of being in the ring, but outside of the ring she loves hanging out with her friends. World Pork Expo is her favorite show to compete at because of how large scaled the show is and how deep the competition is.
Riley has been a participating member of the NJSA since 2014 when she first competed at Belton! She has shown at the Southwest Type Conference since she has been a member of the NJSA and started showing World Pork Expo in 2016. Riley’s favorite NJSA event is livestock judging and skillathon because it helps her when it comes to the selection of her pigs and improves her knowledge of swine. When asked what she would tell a younger NJSA member she said, “Set your goals and dreams high and work hard for them. Even when you finish in the bottom of your class, listen and learn from the judge’s comments so that you can improve and get better for next time you’re in the show ring.” She has had many accomplishments within the NJSA that include two top 10 finishes in Novice showmanship both years she’s shown at WPX, along with Reserve Livestock Judging team at the 2017 WPX, and fourth high individual in novice sweepstakes. Outside of the NJSA, Riley has had many successes in the Texas Jr. Livestock Association in showmanship, along with Grand Champion Swine at the 2017 Milam County Livestock Show. She has won numerous buckles and awards for jackpots, 2016 Miss Photogenic at the Rockdale fair and is currently the 2017 Miss Photogenic and 1st Runner-up Little Miss Rockdale.
In the future, Riley wants to earn 200 belt buckles during her show career. She would like to attend Texas A&M University and to become a veterinarian after completing her undergraduate degree. She is looking forward to showing at the Texas majors this year with her gilts and barrow. One of her signature moves is showing her hair in a bun, which earned her the nickname “#bungirl.” Congratulations, Riley, on all your accomplishments, and the NJSA would like to wish you the best in the future!
Megan Mench of Shirley, Indiana, is a 19-year-old sophomore at Illinois Central College where she is involved in the ICC livestock judging team and the Ag Business club. Megan is the daughter of Tom and Jessica Mench and has one older sister, Morgan Mench. Outside of school, Megan enjoys raising showpigs with her family, playing basketball with her dad and sister, shopping with her mom and also being a member of her church.
Mench has been showing pigs since she was 5 years old. Her first show was the Indiana State Fair open barrow show. She started showing pigs because she was raised on a showpig operation and loved to hangout in the barn and work together with her sister, Morgan. When asked why Megan shows pigs, she said it is a family activity that they all love doing together and get to spend time together whether it is in the barn during the farrowing season or in the spring where they are getting prepared for the shows. “Showing pigs and the industry has organizations that give you opportunities to grow as individuals and help you become successful towards your future,” said Megan. She is truly grateful for networking across the country and the experiences she has had.
Megan has been a member of the NJSA since she was 7 years old. Megan has attended many youth livestock shows, but her favorite show is the World Pork Expo. She has accomplished winning junior showmanship in 2011 and having the division 2 champion crossbred gilt in 2015 “Rock” which was a family raised gilt. Megan’s favorite event is showmanship. She firmly believes that showmanship has made her into a well-rounded individual. It has allowed her to gain confidence in herself and strengthened her ability to talk to someone older than her and be professional.
The NJSA would like to congratulate Megan on all her accomplishments and wish her the best in the future!
The NJSA would like to recognize Caleigh Lewis, 8, from Cedar Point, Iowa. Caleigh is the daughter of AJ and Kim Lewis. Caleigh is currently in second grade attending Cedar Point-Urbana School where she enjoys multiple subjects in school along with playing basketball, softball and cheerleading! Outside of school, Caleigh enjoys soccer, dance, gymnastics and playing the piano!
Caleigh has been showing pigs since she was 3 years old, where she started on the Iowa Swine Jackpot Series. As Caleigh started to go watch her aunt show pigs, she always wanted to help. Along with watching her aunt, her dad raises showpigs, which helped give her a spark in wanting to show pigs. Caleigh enjoys getting to see her friends, while being able to work with and show her pigs! Her favorite thing about showing is being in the ring and competing amongst her peers. Her favorite shows to attend are World Pork Expo because of the really hard competition and she gets to see all of her friends. She also enjoys the Iowa Swine Jackpot finale because it’s everything she’s worked for and the Iowa State Fair where she sees all of her friends and has fun spending time at the fair.
Caleigh has been competing in NJSA events for three years, where her favorite event is the World Pork Expo because of all her friends there and all the contests to participate in. Caleigh’s favorite contest with the NJSA is showmanship. She enjoys showmanship because she gets to show off all of her hard work with her pigs. Caleigh’s most memorable moment with the NJSA was placing third overall in showmanship at the 2017 World Pork Expo. When asked what she would tell younger members about the NJSA, Caleigh said “The shows are really tough but don’t give up because they make you better!” Her list of accomplishments within the NJSA includes third overall novice showman, 10th Overall Novice Judging Contest, along with ninth Overall Novice Sweepstakes all at the 2017 WPX. Outside of the NJSA, she has won many awards in the Iowa Swine Jackpot Series, but her favorite memory is winning a belt buckle for showmanship for overall points!
In the future, Caleigh plans to attend and show at more NJSA shows. One day Caleigh dreams of becoming a teacher!
Congratulations, Caleigh, on all of your accomplishments and the NJSA would like to wish you the best in the future!
Bryce Ostrom of Dorr, Michigan, is a 10-year-old fourth grader at Bentheim Elementary where he is involved in playing basketball, baseball and football. Bryce is the son of Brady and Susan Ostrum and has one younger brother, Cooper, who is 6 years old. Outside of school, Bryce enjoys showing cattle, goats and of course pigs.
Since Bryce was 3 years old, he has been showing pigs. His first show was in Louisville, Kentucky, at the National Junior Summer Spectacular seven years ago. He started showing pigs because his family has a herd of 45-sows, and they use to raise showpigs. He likes being able to help on the farm and get ready for shows. When asked why he shows pigs, Bryce said because he has fun doing it, and he likes working with agriculture. “I like seeing how my hard work will pay off at the end of a project and also meeting new friends at shows,” said Bryce.
Bryce has been a member of the NJSA for the past six years. He says the reason he is involved in the NJSA is because he is able to show at NJSS with his friends and family. Bryce has attended events such as NJSS and the Michigan Livestock Expo. Bryce’s favorite NJSA competition is livestock judging because it tests his ability to evaluate the livestock. Bryce’s most memorable NJSA moment was at the NJSS where he placed top 10 in the sweepstakes.
Bryce would tell a younger NJSA member that being involved in NJSA, “It is a good way to make new friends.” Bryce’s favorite quote is, “Hard work beats talent when talent fails to work hard.” His future plans include continuing raising and showing pigs, cattle and goats. When he grows up, Bryce says he wants to be a farmer and a pro-basketball player.
The NJSA would like to congratulate Bryce on all his accomplishments and wish him the best in the future!
The NJSA would like to recognize Mason Wall, 15, from Ila, Georgia. Mason is the son of David and Selina Wall and has one sister, Brooke Adams. He is currently a freshman at Madison County High School where he enjoys livestock judging.
Mason has been showing pigs for 10 years, where his first pig show was at the Comer Fairgrounds in Madison County, Georgia. He found his spark in showing pigs when his sister began to show her eighth grade year. They had many friends who showed for several years, his sister then found an interest and he then shortly after found his. Mason loves doing everything from preparing for shows to meeting all new people to being in the show ring. Showing pigs allows him to do something he loves along with something that he can do with his family.
Mason has been involved in the NJSA for seven years, where he has competed in World Pork Expo, Southeast Regional and Summer Spectacular. His favorite NJSA show is the Summer Spectacular because there are so many contests to participate, but his favorite is skillathon, because he enjoys learning more about the swine industry. One of his accomplishments within the NJSA is placing third in Prepared Public Speaking at the 2017 NJSS. Outside of the NJSA, Mason has accomplished 3rd Overall Market Hog at the 2017 Georgia National Fair and Champion Showman 2017 Georgia National Fair.
Mason future plans are to attend the University of Georgia and pursue a degree in animal science. He would like to own and operate a showpig operation. Mason’s favorite quote is, “There may be people that have more talent than you, but there’s no excuse for anyone to work harder than you do.” – Derek Jeter.
The NJSA would like to congratulate Mason on all of his accomplishments and wish him the best of luck in the future!
The NJSA would like to recognize Payton Evans. Payton is the 18-year-old daughter of Roy and Misty Evans. She is originally from Carthage, Texas, but recently moved to Henderson, Texas. Payton is currently a 12th grader at Carthage High School. Her hobbies include CHS Spirit Crew, National Honor Society, and FFA, where she is the Vice President of her chapter! Outside of school, Payton works at the Kids Journey Preschool and Daycare and enjoys spending time with her friends.
Payton began showing pigs when she was just six years old! They began going to weekend jackpot shows, and she was instantly hooked! She continued to attend jackpot shows every weekend from August until March. Her start began with her older brother. When his first two pigs arrived in the barn, she instantly claimed the extra and took care of it as her own. Ever since then her love for show pigs has only grown. When asked why she shows pigs, Payton replied, “I show pigs because I absolutely love it. When I was little my mom would always tell me to do something you love that just comes natural.” For Payton, that’s showing pigs. It has always been something that has felt natural to her, so she fell in love with it and never looked back.
Payton’s favorite part of showing pigs is the connections she has made. She says, “I love the friendships I have made along the way. Some of these people have become my best friends. We may not see each other for months, but when we get back together it’s like we’ve never been apart.”
When asked about her favorite shows Payton has two. Her first is the World Pork Expo. She says, “Expo is definitely a must do show for anyone. It’s a week with some of your best friends. The quality of pigs shown is amazing. Not to mention, the free goodies and going over to the exhibit buildings and seeing the commercial side of things is very interesting.” Her second show is the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. In Payton’s opinion, it is the most prestigious of the Texas shows. She says, “There is just something about walking onto those green shavings every year. It was also the first place that I ever won a major livestock show showmanship award. I am honored to say that I have now won all Texas major showmanships.”
However, Payton doesn’t just compete in Texas, she has also gone to several other shows including World Pork Expo, National Western and Fall Classic. Her favorite NJSA contest is the judging contest. She says, “I really like the judging contest. I enjoy livestock judging in 4-H and FFA and it’s really fun to only judge pigs.” Her most memorable NJSA moment is working with our younger members. Payton says, “I love to help younger members learn how to do things within the show ring. I fell that it’s my time to give back. I have learned so much through my show career just by watching others, it is important for me to set a good example.”
In the future, Payton will attend Western Texas College on a show and meat judging scholarship. After Western Texas, she plans to attend either Texas Tech University or Tarleton State University. Payton also wants to run for the NJSA Junior Board of Directors! Payton would like to thank her parents for all they have done for her in her showing career. She says, “We have traveled so many miles and created so many memories together.” Congratulations Payton, and best of luck in your future endeavors!
The NJSA would like to recognize Lynsey Schmitz. Lynsey resides in Oakes, North Dakota, and is currently a junior at Oakes High School. She is the 19-year-old daughter of Cathy and late Paul Schmitz. Her hobbies in school include basketball, DECA and FFA. Lynsey is no stranger to the show ring as she has been showing since she was just two years old and also shows sheep and cattle as well.
Lynsey’s first experience showing pigs was at the North Dakota State Fair. She started showing pigs because it was something her whole family could be involved in. When asked why she shows pigs, Lynsey stated, “Showing pigs is simply enjoyable. There’s no better feeling than having a bond with my show pigs that I take care of and show. It’s about the friends that I’ve made throughout all my years of showing. It’s also about the bond it has created with my family. Showing pigs is our vacation and I wouldn’t have it any other way.” Her favorite part of showing pigs is the friendships she’s made and the travel she’s been able to do.
Lynsey’s favorite show is the North Dakota State Fair where she achieved the “triple crown” winning champion barrow, champion market lamb, and champion market steer all in the same year!
Lynsey has been an NJSA member since 2006 when she exhibited barrows at the World Pork Expo. Since then, she has participated in National Junior Summer Spectacular, World Pork Expo, and National Barrow Show. Her favorite of those is World Pork Expo because it is where she got her start in the NJSA! Lynsey’s favorite NJSA contest is showmanship because, she says, “I enjoy showmanship, especially during World Pork Expo, where the competition is stiff and I get to compete with some of the best!” Her most memorable NJSA moment is having Reserve Champion Yorkshire Gilt and 5th Overall Gilt at the 2016 World Pork Expo.
When asked what she would tell a younger member about NJSA, Lynsey replied, “NJSA has provided me with some of my greatest memories and has taught me so much about the industry.”
Lynsey’s future plans include graduating high school and attending a four year university. Lynsey’s favorite quote is Stephen Curry’s, “Doesn’t matter where you come from, what you have or don’t have…All you need to have is faith in God, an undying passion for what you do, what you choose to do in this life, and a relentless drive and the will to do whatever it takes to be successful at whatever you put your mind to.” Lynsey is doing just that as she pursues her goals and dreams in the show ring and beyond.
The NJSA would like to congratulate Lynsey and wish her the best of luck as she continues on in her future endeavors.
The NJSA would like to congratulate Ashlyn Summers! Ashlyn is the 14-year-old daughter of Jered and Tammy Kimmel and Mike Summers. She is currently a ninth grader at Midlothian Heritage High School. Her hobbies in school include FFA, FFA Chapter Conducting, public speaking, livestock judging, and choir. Outside of school, Ashlyn enjoys 4-H Archery and Shooting sports, hunting, showing goats and showing pigs through the Texas Junior Livestock Association (TJLA) where she is a junior swine director!
Ashlyn has been showing pigs for 7 years. She began her career at the Fort Worth Livestock Show in the Commercial Crossbred Gilt Show. There were 67 in her class, and she was very overwhelmed, however, she hung in there and accomplished her goal of top five in the class! Since then, Ashlyn has continued to have success in the show ring. She was in the top 10 of the extremely tough intermediate showmanship contest at the World Pork Expo in 2016 and 2017, third place landrace barrow at World Pork Expo, and the 2016 fifth overall crossbred gilt. She has also been extremely successful in shows all across Texas!
Ashlyn began showing pigs because of her uncle and aunt, Cole and Melissa Reeves. When asked why she shows pigs, Ashlyn replied, “I do it because I love it, and I found I am pretty good at it. I enjoy everything about it. I love the level of competition and the challenge of each new hog. It is very rewarding in the end of a pig’s show career to know how far they have come and knowing the hard work and hours I have put into them. The knowledge and skills gained over the years are irreplaceable.” Her favorite part of showings pigs is the friends you make and the experience as she says, “You will only get to enjoy within a small portion of your lifetime.” She strives to be a mentor and role model for younger exhibitors. Ashlyn says, “My mom always tells me, ‘People are watching you, so be your best’. This attitude in the show ring has helped me become a better person and is an attribute which I will be able to continue to utilize the rest of my life.”
Showmanship is Ashlyn’s favorite NJSA contest. As she says, “There is a lot of diversity in the showmanship ring, you are competing against some of the best showman in the country and there is a lot of them. It is a great feeling to represent your state on the biggest stage in the swine industry. I love getting to show off the time and effort that I put into my stock at home and believe it is a true test of a showman’s dedication to show at this level. The top 10 of all the showmanship categories are the elite showman around the country.” Her most memorable moment in the NJSA is showmanship at the 2017 World Pork Expo when she came out in the top 10 of the intermediate showmanship division!
When asked what she would tell younger members about NJSA Ashlyn replied, “Get out and meet new people at the shows because those are friendships that will last you a lifetime. Don’t be afraid to try new things compete in every event possible. You will grow as an individual and learn new things along the way.”
Her favorite quote is from her uncle, Cole Reeves, “Win or lose, we drive them like they can’t be beat,” and Ashlyn has done just that! Her future plans are to attend a junior college on a judging scholarship, then transfer to Tarleton State University. Ashlyn can often be noticed by her trade mark blue/turquoise shirt and orange headband! Congratulations Ashlyn, and we wish you the best of luck in your bright future!
The National Junior Swine Association would like to recognize Olivia Vorpagel for the NJSA Youth Spotlight. Olivia is nine years old, from Adams, Minn., and is homeschooled. Her parents are Brent and Julie Vorpagel, and she has two siblings Natalie, 1, and Caden, 5.
In school, her favorite hobbies are reading and playing T-ball. Outside of school, her favorite hobbies are reading, photography, swimming, biking and showing pigs. Olivia has been showing pigs for over four years, starting when she was four years old. Her first show was the World Pork Expo, with a Duroc gilt named, “Purple” She got her start from encouragement by her parents, and from there she really enjoyed it. Currently, her favorite part about showing pigs is showmanship, and the show she enjoys most is the National Junior Summer Spectacular.
Olivia joined the NJSA four years ago, and her most memorable moment was when she won the Best of Show award at Louisville this past summer in the Amazing Advertising contest. Additionally, some of her NJSA accomplishments include Champion Novice Showman at the 2017 and 2016 National Barrow Shows, 3rd Place Novice Sweepstakes at the 2016 World Pork Expo, and Reserve Champion Novice Showman at the 2015 National Barrow Show. When asked what she would tell a younger member about NJSA, Olivia said, “The NJSA has helped me grow over the past few years in my ability to show pigs. I have met friends and always have a lot of fun with my family attending NJSA events. There are many contests you can participate in and have a lot of fun while you are at it. I encourage you to try it out too.”
Olivia’s favorite quote is from Galations 6:9, “Do not grow weary in doing good for at the proper time you will reap a harvest.” Her future plans include continuing to show pigs, starting a 4-H career, and going to college to be a pediatrician. She would like this to be her future career because she likes helping people and being around kids. Lastly, showing pigs has taught her that the more work you put into something the more you can succeed.
Congratulations, Olivia, on your accomplishments thus far, and good luck in your future aspirations!
The National Junior Swine Association would like to recognize Stormi Swaim, from Rockville, Ind., for the NJSA Youth Spotlight. Stormi is nine years old, and currently attends third grade at Turkey Run Elementary School. Stormi is the daughter of Jeremy and Lori Swaim, and has two siblings, Whitney, 8, and Cora, 1.
In school, Stormi’s favorite subject is reading, and currently she has received all “A’s” in her school work. Outside of school, Stormi enjoys camping, soccer, softball, and basketball. Stormi started showing pigs five years ago, and got her start from her parents when they agreed that showing pigs would be a great family project. Stormi enjoys most the time she gets to spend with her family and friends while working with and showing the pigs. Her favorite show is the World Pork Expo because there are so many people present, and also so many activities for the NJSA kids. Her favorite NJSA events are the skillathon and showmanship contests, because she can study and learn so much about pigs! The NJSA moment she remembers the most is finishing 2nd and 3rd in showmanship with her sister at the 2017 Southeastern Regional show in Perry, Ga.
Stormi started her NJSA career three years ago, and has attended many shows such as WPX, NAILE, Summer Type Conference, Southeastern Regional and the National Barrow Show. Her list of many accomplishments includes many Top 10 finishes in Novice Showmanship, 2nd place in Sweepstakes at the 2017 Southeastern Regional, Champion Chester Barrow in the open show at the 2017 NBS, and 1st place in Team Judging at the 2017 NJSS. Outside of the NJSA, she has had the Champion Chester White Gilt in the IJSC in 2017 and has finished Top 5 in Novice Showmanship in the IJSC, in 2017. When asked what she would tell younger members about the NJSA, Stormi said, “The NJSA is a great way to meet new friends and learn about pigs!”
In the future, Stormi plans to attend Purdue University to become a veterinarian. Additionally, she will begin 4-H this year and also will be showing cattle.
Congratulations, Stormi, on all of your accomplishments thus far and good luck with you future goals and aspirations!
Drive and charisma are two easy words that can be used to describe Brendan Dean Gross. The 7-year-old from Grandview, Texas already has five years of showing under his belt, and has found much success in and out of the show ring. Brenden is the son of Randy and Megan Gross, and has one 5-year-old sibling, Campbell. He attends Grandview Elementary School in Grandview, Texas. In school, his favorite activities are Math, the Gifted and Talented program and University Interscholastic League. Outside of school his hobbies include playing football and baseball, and of course spending time in the barn and showing pigs. Showing pigs was a natural choice for Brendan and his family, his parents brought him to his first show and Brendan says “My mom and dad took me to shows and I wanted to show like the older kids. I thought it looked fun.” Brendan enjoys the competition, meeting new friends and having a fun time with his friends and family.
Brendan first stepped into the show ring at the age of two and a half at a jackpot show in Glen Rose, Texas. He has come a long way since then, learning more every year while he shows and competes in speaking and judging opportunities the NJSA provides. Brendan has been an active NJSA member for three years. His favorite NJSA event is National Junior Summer Spectacular because he enjoys the speech contest, this past year he won the Novice Division Prepared Public Speaking contest the day before his 7th birthday – what a memorable day. Brenden also received 2nd place in the Sweepstakes at World Pork Expo in 2017 and says this was one of his most memorable shows. In the NJSA his accomplishments include, 2017 WPX, 2nd place judging team, 8th high individual in judging, 6th place showmanship and 2nd Novice Sweepstakes. At NJSS 2017 he won 1st in Novice Prepared Speech and 10th place judging team. In his home state of Texas he also has been fortunate to win the 2015 State Fair of Texas, Champion Poland Gilt and Reserve Supreme Champion Gilt, 2016 State Fair of Texas, Champion York Gilt and Supreme Champion Gilt, 2017 Fort Worth Stock Show, Champion Spot Gilt, Reserve Champion Duroc Gilt, Reserve Champion Commercial Gilt.
When asked what he would tell a younger member about NJSA, He would say “That the NJSA is a good place to have fun and meet new friends.” Brendan has big goals for the future, and his favorite quote “Always try”, will help him achieve these goals. His future plans are to serve as a Texas State FFA Officer, attend Texas A&M University, compete on the judging team and study to become a veterinarian. Congratulations, Brendan, on your accomplishments thus far, and good luck in your future aspirations!
The National Junior Swine Association would like to recognize Camden Smith from Lima, Ohio for the NJSA Youth Spotlight! Camden is 8 years old, and currently attends third grade at Allen East. Camden is the son of Justin and Jacklyn Smith, and has two siblings, Hunter, 13, and Brynlee, 5.
In school, Camden’s favorite hobbies are his math and reading classes, and he is currently a straight “A” student. Outside of school, Camden enjoys playing football, basketball, and baseball and running 5k’s and wrestling. Camden started showing pigs in the Ohio Jackpot Circuit in 2015, and has been showing for three years. He got his inspiration from his father and brother, who both showed pigs. His favorite part about showing pigs is a quick pen by the judge, selling gilts at Louisville, showmanship contests at home with his siblings, and water fights in the barn with Hunter. His favorite show is the National Junior Summer Spectacular because of all the fun events and things to do besides showing, such as Kentucky Kingdom, Trampoline Parks, and Louisville Bats games.
Camden started in NJSA two years ago. He has participated in the NJSS in 2016 and 2017. His favorite NJSA event is the Duroc gilt show because they are his favorite breed and can make some money for the summer’s hard work if the gilts are good. His most memorable NJSA moment is making the final drive in Showmanship at the 2017 NJSS, and this is also his favorite accomplishment. Outside of NJSA, he has won PeeWee Showmanship at the 2017 Allen County Fair.
Camden’s favorite quote is one his father says all the time: “Bad attitude, bad results.” Camden’s future plans are to continue having fun showing pigs during the summers and working on all sports and getting good grades. In the future, he wants to be a NFL football player, a CEO of a company, and run a showpig operation on the side.
Congratulations, Camden, on all of your accomplishments and good luck in your future aspirations!
The NJSA would like to recognize Briggs Williams. Briggs hails from Winder, Georgia. He is the 18-year-old son of Melissa and Andy Elrod and Robby and Kristin Williams. He is currently a senior at Winder Barrow High School. In school, he enjoys playing baseball and welding. When he’s not busy showing pigs and participating in his extracurricular activities, Briggs enjoys hunting.
Briggs began showing in sixth grade when his sister sparked his passion for show pigs. Since then, he has attended the Summer Spectacular, World Pork Expo, and Southeast Regional as well as many shows in the state of Georgia. Briggs enjoys showing pigs because he says, “It is fun, I am very competitive, and it is something our whole family can participate in together.” In fact, his favorite part about showing pigs is the competition.
When asked about his favorite livestock shows, Briggs said, “The NJSA shows because I enjoy traveling to all of the shows and seeing the different people and getting to see all of the breeders at those shows.” His favorite of the NJSA shows is the Southeast Regional, where he camps with many of his out-of-state friends he met through the NJSA!
His most memorable moment within the NJSA is winning the Champion Hampshire Barrow at the 2017 World Pork Expo! Briggs’ success stems beyond the NJSA as well, where he has been in the Top 10 in the Georgia Junior Livestock Program Showmanship points circuit for numerous years.
Briggs’ would tell younger members that, “NJSA is an event everyone should participate in to experience showing livestock on a national level and that it is a great organization to be a part of because of the opportunity that you have being a youth showing livestock.”
In the future, Briggs plans to attend some of the national shows he has not yet participated in. Upon graduation, he would like to pursue a career in welding. In closing, Briggs said, “Livestock has taught me a lot of responsibility and to have patience with the animals. Livestock showing is what bonded our family together with our stepdad. It is something that we can all participate in and spend quality time together.”
The NJSA congratulates Briggs and wishes him best of luck in his future endeavors!
Gavin Sinclair of Cloverdale, Indiana is a 10-year-old fifth grader at Cloverdale Middle School where he is involved in running Cross Country and Track. Gavin is the son of David and Cristy Sinclair and has one younger sister, Katelyn who is 5 years old. Outside of school Gavin enjoys working in the barn, going to pig shows, riding his 4-wheeler and running in 5K’s.
Since Gavin was 5 years old, he had been showing pigs. His first show was in Midland, Texas at Piggin’ in the Permian open show where he got to show with his cousin, Kenley Krohn. He started showing pigs because his Mom and Dad both showed pigs and they helped him with his first project. When asked why he shows pigs, Gavin said that his Grandpa Jerry raised pigs and showed them, and that from a young age he can remember always wanting to follow in his footsteps and raise pigs like he did. “Showing is fun and exciting, says Gavin. “I like setting goals and working to make myself better. The friends I have from showing are the best! Dropping spiders at the state fair with my friends is so much fun.”
Gavin has been a member of the NJSA since he was 6 years old. He says the reason he is involved is because he has always shown Yorkshire gilts so it just kind of made sense! Gavin has attended events such as the World Pork Expo and NJSS. He said he enjoys both WPX and NJSS because they are a week long and a fun vacation with my friends, family, and my pigs! Gavin’s most memorable NJSA moment was at the 2017 NJSS where he won Grand Champion Bred and Owned Gilt with his gilt Stella. She came out of his first litter of pigs.
Gavin would tell a younger NJSA member, “That it offers so much more than just showing pigs. You get to meet a lot of people and going to a NJSA show is more fun than Disney World.” His future plans include continuing showing pigs and also attend college after high school. When asked what he wanted to be someday, he replied with, “Not sure but I definitely would like to make a lot of money and also raise pigs.”
The NJSA would like to congratulate Gavin on all his accomplishments and wish him the best in the future!