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.
Clay Smith is the 8-year-old son of Adam and Jessica Smith. The Garfield, Georgia native is a Third-Grade student at Twin City Elementary School and is a member of Emanuel County 4-H. Clay enjoys driving pigs in the show ring, playing a good game of baseball, and exploring the great outdoors through camping. He began his show career five years ago in the fall of 2017 at the county Young Farmer Show and has loved it ever since. His mother Jessica had shown throughout school and wanted to share the same experience. “One day a York pig was delivered to our backyard and it has just grown from there,” Clay says. The responsibility and family time keeps Clay reaching for a pig whip; and he has a deep rooted love for the time working, training, and showing his hogs.
He enjoys the time on the road spent with his Mom and Dad just as much, and meeting different people from all across the country. The Georgia National Fair in October is Clay’s all-time favorite show. He brings roughly six hogs to the show every year and its the show his Pa comes to watch every year; which he especially enjoys. Smith has been a member of the NJSA for four years, and started his involvement through the Southeast Regional Junior Show in Perry. He has shown at the Southeast Regional from 2018-2021, attended The Exposition in 2019, and participated at the National Junior Show in 2020. His favorite NJSA show happens to be located in his home state; Southeast Regional. Clay loves showing in Georgia and being around his friends from the state and across the country. Showmanship is Clay’s favorite contest at NJSA shows. Its where his dedication and passion towards showing hogs is able to shine and teaches him certain lessons of responsibility.
His most memorable moment is winning the Southeast Regional Sweepstakes two years in a row. Some of his other accomplishments include: Southeast Regionals: 2019 Novice Sweepstakes Winner and 2020 2nd in Skillathon and Showmanship. The Exposition: 7th Overall in the Livestock Judging Contest. National Junior Show: 8th in Sweepstakes, 9th in Showmanship. Georgia National Fair: 2018 Reserve Champion Duroc, 2019 and 2020 Reserve Champion Berkshire. Clay believes in “practicing the way you want to perform”, and hopes to continue working in the swine industry and furthering his judging career so that he may judge at the national level in the future. We are thankful to have such a bright and determined young mind as a member of the NJSA and we cannot wait to see what he does in the coming years!
Eight-year-old, Ella Weisinger, is from Ft. Madison, Iowa. She is the daughter of Nathan and Sarah Weisinger along with her two sisters Eliza (5) and Emma (3). When she’s not riding her horse, Angel, or walking pigs, she enjoys playing soccer and basketball. She has been showing pigs for four years since she started in the spring of 2017 Iowa Jackpot Shows. While doing this, she gears up for The Exposition.
She started showing pigs since her parents run about 200 head of showpigs so she wanted to be a part of it by showing pigs. Ella shows pigs because she enjoys seeing her friends every weekend at the jackpots. Her favorite part about showing pigs is spending time with friends and family. Ella’s favorite show is The Exposition because she gets to be there a whole week and she gets to play with old and new friends.
Ella has been a member of the NJSA for four years and she became involved by watching her cousins show over the years and she wanted to show like them. Her favorite NJSA event is being in the show ring. Her most memorable NJSA moment was winning her first banner with her Berkshire Gilt named Rainbow. Ella would tell a younger member of NJSA that it is a lot of fun.
Her NJSA accomplishments include Reserve Bred and Owned Berkshire 2016 WPX, 2017 Third Overall Poland Gilt WPX, Fifth Overall Berkshire Gilt and Champion Bred and Owned 2018 WPX, Reserve Grand Poland Gilt and Champion Bred and Owned at the 2020 Exposition, and the Champion Hampshire Sired Cross Barrow at the 2020 National Junior Show.
Ella’s favorite quote is “Teamwork Makes The Dream Work.”
Her future plans include continuing to show pigs. She is looking forward to showing at her State Fair and the National Western Stock Show. She would also like to show goats. When she grows up, she wants to be a vet and specialize in large and small animals.
Words that come to mind about Ryan O’Farrell are successful, talented, and driven. As a 19-year-old from Delphi, Indiana he is a sophomore at Ivy Tech in the Purdue Program. He is the son of Kyle and Tonya O’Farrell and the younger brother to Katie. Outside of the classroom, Ryan enjoys showing livestock, and helping his family own and operate a commercial swine unit, as well as a row crop production. His passion for showing pigs cultivated from a very young age as both of his parents have raised and been around livestock, so it was only fitting for Ryan to step foot into the fun as well. Being a member of the NJSA since 2011 Ryan has been to numerous shows. He claims he got his start showing pigs at his county and state fair, and from there, his lover for the industry only expanded.
Ryan claims that he shows pigs because it is one of his biggest passions and hobbies that he has had in his life, and the swine industry has helped shape him into the person he is today. Simply put, Ryan just loves being around pigs. The drive to work hard and be better is what showing pigs have instilled in him. His time and effort at home is truly displayed when he gets to exhibit his swine at a show. Ryan loves everything that he has to do with his projects at home, even cleaning pens! It is the perfect opportunity to have a jam session.
When asked what his favorite livestock show is Ryan said he couldn’t just pick one. “My favorite livestock shows to this day would have to be the 2020 National Junior show in Des Moines, Iowa as well as the Indiana State Fair. This past summer we had the biggest win we have ever had in Iowa. It was very humbling and one of the proudest moments myself and my family has ever shared.” Like myself, Ryan claims that the Indiana State Fair will always hold a special spot in his heart because it is where he started and ended his 4-H career. Trust us, there is no better feeling than the spotlights shining on you while you are showing on the dirt! Ryan says that he first got involved with the NJSA because he was already showing year-round and he knew that he could meet more people and make countless memories with people across the country. Mr. O’Farrell has chased many miles of white lines ranging from NAILE, Southeast Regional, National Western Stock Show, and the National Junior Show.
Ryan would tell younger members to get involved as much as possible within the NJSA. It can lead to countless opportunities and many friendships as well! His favorite quote is, “Winners focus on winning, losers focus on winners” - Michael Phelps. His future are to obtain his degree from Purdue University and then continue his family’s operation. The NJSA is proud to showcase Ryan as one of our spotlights and we wish him the best of luck in the future!
“When life gives you lemons, make lemonade”. Jack Lindley, 13, from Chualar, California is our next youth spotlight. He is the son of Chad and Michelle Lindley and is the oldest of three; Madeline Lindley, 11 and Brooks Lindley, 9. He is an eighth grader at Palma School and when he’s not in the barn, he enjoys mountain biking and riding dirt bikes. His first time showing pigs was at his county fair through his local 4-H when he was 9 years old. His father, Chad, ran the swine show at one of the county fairs and Jack was intrigued by it ever since, so when he was old enough, he began to show locally. Jack enjoys showing hogs because of the competitive nature, the people he gets to meet, and the experiences he gains from it. His favorite show is Arizona National because of the people and the atmosphere he gets to be around. Jack has been an active member of the NJSA for the past three years, and first started his involvement at the Western Regional in Paso Robles, California in 2018. He had never been to a show that included a Skillathon or Barnyard Olympics and remembered how fun it was. Since then, he has participated in: Western Regional, Arizona National, and The Exposition. His favorite contest in the NJSA is the Barnyard Olympics, because he enjoys bringing his friends together to work and be a part of a team. His most memorable moment in the NJSA to date is his first big-win ever, winning Champion Overall Gilt at the 2019 Western Regional! He has also won accomplishments such as: Champion Yorkshire Gilt at the 2019 Arizona National, Third Place Sweepstakes 2020 Western Regional, Fifth Place Sweepstakes 2019 Western Regional, Reserve Grand Champion at the 2020 Monterey County Fair and Champion Showman at Red Wave Classic in Fresno and 2020 Northern Exposure. He would encourage all younger members to find their niche in the NJSA. “It is a great youth organization and is an even better way to stay active in the livestock industry. I’d highly recommend all swine exhibitors to join the NJSA”. His plans are to continue showing pigs, attend the National Junior Summer Summer Spectacular in Kentucky and hopefully go back to The Exposition in 2022. Upon graduating high school, he plans on majoring in agribusiness for his bachelor’s degree and working in some facet of the agriculture industry. Jack is extremely thankful for his parent’s support inside and outside of his showing career and for the crew at Small Town Genetics for all of their hard work through the years. At the NJSA, we are excited to see where Jack’s path takes him in the future and we wish him the best of luck!
Kendall McMillan is from Caldwell, Idaho is daughter of Kevin and Gretchen. Kendall is 15 years old and is the younger sibling to Hailey and Abby. She is attending Middleton High School where her hobbies are FFA, livestock judging, dairy judging, and landscape.
She states she started showing pigs in 2013 at the Canyon County Fair. Kendall has a unique story for how she started showing pigs. Instead of trying to paraphrase it, here it is. “I got started showing pigs at the age of seven when one of my best friends in school told me she showed pigs at the fair. I talked to my mom and dad about joining 4-H. They were able to contact M & J Livestock and get the last two pigs on their farm. I got a Duroc named Lucy Lou and a blue butt named Baconater. I wasn’t old enough to show at the fair so my sister showed the first year at the fair while I helped. I did show at my first jackpot show that year at Boise as a pee wee. I remember my mom put glitter in my hair and Miles Toenyes commented on how I thought he would look with the glitter! From there I knew I was meant to show. I was Very appreciative of the six years that I had shown for M&J livestock to them, placing the best hogs in my hand and picking out my Landrace gilt and helping me get her bred. Thank you so much Jason and Melissa Sherman.”
Kendall shows pigs because she has found a passion and the drive for the industry. Showing pigs will without question help her in the future being a livestock judge. She knows that when her time in the ring has come to an end and she takes the mic, she will be able to give back to the next generation of showmen like her many influencers along the way. The Exposition is without question Kendall’s favorite show because the bigger the show, the more adrenaline rush she gets. It is added extras like appreciating how the show is run, the facilities, and seeing friends like Karson Osborn, and Ava Garver that make the show even more enjoyable.
Kendall joined the NJSA 5 years ago at the 2016 Arizona Junior Nationals. She has competed in the Exposition, NJSS, Arizona Nationals and Western Regional. The moments that triumph Kendall’s show career at Arizona Nationals where she captured her first belt buckle and showmanship title and being named 3rd Overall Landrace Gilt and Champion Bred and Owned. At NJSA events, her favorite contest is judging. She loves putting her evaluation skills to the ultimate test against kids her age. 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 won Reserve Grand. Dustin is a showmanship expert as he was never beaten in swine showmanship at his county fair.
She would tell younger NJSA members to join NJSA without a blink of an eye! “NJSA has helped me grow in the show industry. They have put in my contests and shows that have helped me better my knowledge of the industry and learn new information. They also offer scholarships that’ll help me when I am enrolling in colleges. They set you up for success!” Her favorite quote is, “Showing livestock is more than ribbons and awards IT'S ABOUT the PEOPLE, the EXPERIENCES, the LIFELONG SKILLS, the MEMORIES, and the COUNTY FAIRS. It’s about being a ROLE MODEL, GIVING BACK, and making the BEST BETTER.” Kendall’s future plans include attending Northern Oklahoma College as well as OSU (Go Pokes) and major in anesthesiology and minor in Agriculture Communications while still being able to give back to the next generation. The NJSA would like to wish Kendall the best of luck in her future! P.S. Words Directly from Kendall:
While 2020 was such a hard year with COVID-19, I am thankful for the online virtual shows. Russell Pedrett, Mark and Sandy Ottenwalter helped me out so much this year and I cannot thank then enough! All the shows besides two were virtual shows. They helped me pick out pigs that’ll help me reach my goals. Each week I sent Russell videos of my pigs and got help with feeding. To add onto the stress of COVID-19 I had lost two pigs only weeks before my county fair. I am so blessed to know that I have amazing supporters and helped me reach all my goals despite how this year was going. I would like to add that I am grateful for all the help of my friends, family, show family, and camps! I owe a huge shoutout to Next Level livestock camps as they have helped me go from the young showman not knowing where the Boston butt was, to the title winning showman I am now. Seeing me go from a young showman to now and breeding my own line of Landraces and going to national shows I would have told you I couldn’t imagine it, but here I am. I am beyond proud of myself overall and cannot wait to see what my future holds. Love the I have for this industry. I like to call my family, my home, and my happy place.
Lane Higbie is the 16-year-old year old son of Ryan and Jenny Higbie, of Quenemo, Kansas. He is the big brother of Calla, Anah, and Elim and enjoys hunting, fishing. Despite his love for being outdoors, Lane spends most of his time in the barn with his pigs and cattle.
At the age of seven he began showing pigs at his local county fair and a few jackpots shows in the area, and says he’s been “hooked” ever since. Lane’s favorite NJSA event is The Exposition because, “Being there with friends and family while showing pigs and being able to meet and interact with the greats of this industry is my favorite part. Pigs are my passion and getting to interact with other people who share that passion with me is what makes the Exposition so special.” Despite his love for The Exposition, he also enjoys showing at the Southwest Regional, the Kansas State Fair and Kansas Junior Livestock show, where he has had several breed champions and top five overall finishes, as well as selling pigs at the NSR Fall Classic in Duncan, Oklahoma. His most memorable moment in the NJSA was when his little sister won the novice sweepstakes at both The Exposition and SW Regional, with a pig raised by himself, or winning the SW Regional judging contest in 2017. Lane would like younger members to know that the NJSA has helped shape him into a young adult with experience and life skills that he can use now and in his future career.
Lane has high hopes of attending a junior college to be a member of the livestock judging team before transferring to Kansas State University to major in Agribusiness or Ag Communications.
Cara Greiner is the 16-year-old daughter of Randy and Ginny Greiner from Connersville, Indiana. She is the youngest sibling of Kalin, Kenley, and Carmen. Currently, Cara is a junior at Connersville High School where her hobbies include FFA, 4-H, and livestock judging.
Cara’s showing career started in 2010 at her county fair after following in her father and older siblings footsteps. She has always had a big love for all animals and an even greater passion for the swine industry. Cara says, “Being able to create a bond with my animals and put in the work to achieve my goals with them is one of the greatest feelings I can have.” Her most enjoyable moment of each show is the excitement that she gets before going into the show ring regardless if it is just for class or for the grand drive. She has been an NJSA member for 7 years where she has attended NAILE, Eastern Regional, The Exposition, and Southeast Regional. She has had success as each one including Champion Chester Gilt NAILE 2020, Reserve Champion Yorkshire Barrow Eastern Regional 2020, 3rd overall Division I Yorkshire Gilt Summer Type Conference 2020, as well as several other champions on the county and state level. When asked what her favorites are, she responded with NAILE and the Indiana State Fair. She says that her family has shown at NAILE for as long as she can remember. She always looks forward to showing on the famous green shavings at NAILE and competing at her state fair. Her favorite NJSA contests are showmanship and sweepstakes. She says, “Showmanship is no doubt something I look forward to most. No matter how your pig looks, showmanship is all about you. It’s a way to show your dedication, hard work, and pure talent.” Also, she loves how in sweepstakes there are so many events that go into it because she gets to show in showmanship and test her knowledge in the skillathon.
Cara’s most memorable moment was winning Champion Senior Hampshire Showman at the Indiana State Fair 2020. Her favorite quote is, “Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard”. Cara would like to tell younger members that if they share the same passion for showing pigs like her, they should become a member of the NJSA because it offers so many opportunities and great memories.
Cara’s future plans are to attend a junior college to livestock judge then transfer her studies to Purdue where she hopes to get a degree in Animal Science.
Payton Rodgers, 14, is the daughter of Blaine and Melissa Rodgers. She lives in Savannah, Missouri where she is a freshman at Savannah High School. She also has one sibling, Reagan Rodgers. When she’s not in the barn she is involved in FFA and plays soccer. She has multiple hobbies outside of school including showing cattle and helping with her family’s cattle operation. Additionally, she enjoys traveling to shows with her parents and lending a helping hand to customers.
Payton, has been competitively showing pigs since she was 4 years old in California. She has exhibited at Western Regional and various jackpots. Her first pig that she exhibited was from her uncle, Wes Barone, which struck her passion for showing pigs. As time went on, she began showing pigs across the country. Her first out of state show was the World Pork Expo. She says, “My travels have made me fortunate enough to meet so many incredible people, but two who have been very instrumental to me and my family, are Mark Standlee, Jesse Heimer, and Boots (Brent Boland). They both have taught my family so much and provided me with many opportunities to be successful.”
Her accomplishments within the NJSA include; 2013 Reserve Overall Purebred Gilt at the Western Regional, 2014 Grand Overall Purebred Barrow at the Western Regional, 2018 Grand Overall at the National Western, 2019 Reserve Grand Barrow at the Arizona Nationals and the 2020 Reserve Overall Purebred Gilt at the World Pork Expo. Outside of the NJSA her accomplishments include the 2016 California State Fair Grand Overall Market Barrow and the 2020 Missouri State Fair Grand Overall Market Barrow.
Payton states that there are multiple reasons for why she shows pigs. She says there is nothing more rewarding than putting hard work into her projects day in and day out and striving to reach her goals. She continued by emphasizing, “Nothing compares to the excitement I get when I step into the ring with pigs that I am proud of no matter what the outcome brings. While showing is a highlight, I have learned through the years that there is so much more to it. The life lessons I have learned I will use forever. I have learned so much, not only about the livestock industry but also how to celebrate my wins and take my losses, and to be responsible and work hard towards my goals.” She stated that most importantly, showing livestock has created some of her strongest friendships. Every show she goes to, she meets more people. “It has developed into one big family, we all have each others’ backs, work together, and try to help each other in any way possible. Sadly, there will come a day where I will walk into the showring one last time, but when that day comes I will have relationships I have made along the way and I will always know that they will be there for me for anything. I think that is what showing pigs is truly about.”
When asked what part she enjoys most about showing pigs, she responded “ I love the whole process from everyday that we are out in the barn working pigs, up to show day. I like seeing how pigs change, the progression is a lot faster than the other species I show, so when we feed them we can see drastic results quickly”.
Payton’s favorite livestock shows are the National Western Stock Show and the World Pork Expo, now The Expostion. She always enjoys these shows because she gets to see her friends from all over the country, as well as the quality of livestock is so good. She has especially enjoyed The Exposition because they offer the judging contest, the skillathon, sweepstakes as well as including the open shows so there is lots of livestock to look at.
Payton has been an NJSA member since she was 5 when she got involved at the Western Regional. Over her nearly 10 years of involvement in the NJSA, she has attended the Western Regional, World Pork Expo, The Exposition, National Western, and Arizona Nationals. Her favorite NJSA contest is the judging contest because she has always enjoyed evaluating livestock.
When asked what her most memorable moment in the NJSA is, she says that she has been fortunate enough to have multiple memories showing at NJSA shows and it is hard to pick just one. Two of her favorite early memories in the NJSA was when she won the trailer at the 2014 Western Regional. She says it has always been a huge goal of her family’s to win the Barrow Show and bring home the trailer. She will also never forget selling the Reserve Overall Hampshire gilt in the open show at the World Pork Expo for $20,000. Although some of the most memorable moments within the NJSA have been winning the 2018 National Western Stock Show, having the 2019 Reserve Overall Market barrow at Arizona Nationals, as well as winning the Reserve Overall Purebred Gilt at the 2020 National Junior Show. All of these experiences were truly remarkable and moments she will never forget.
Payton’s words to younger members of NJSA are “There is so much more to NJSA than just showing pigs. The NJSA opens so many doors from making friendships that will last a lifetime to helping expand your knowledge about the pig industry.”
Her favorite quote is “The only thing even in this world are the number of hours in a day, the difference between winning and losing is what you do with those hours”- Unknown
Her future plans include attending a Junior College to participate on a livestock judging team. Afterwards, she wants to attend Oklahoma State University and get a degree in Animal Science. Once graduating college she wants to work within the livestock industry and help give kids opportunities that so many have blessed her with.
Payton says she wouldn’t be where she is today without the help of her parents and sister. She says, “We show pigs as a family. I will forever be grateful for the opportunities they have blessed me with.”
When not showing pigs, 13-year-old Morgan Wagner from Canton Illinois, finds herself dancing at Encore Dance Academy or playing the flute for her school’s band. The daughter of Kyle and Jenny Wagner has grown a passion for showing pigs over the last five years. Her journey began when she was eight years old in the ICPA jackpot series. At the time, Morgan was showing cattle, though she desired something more. She says, “I wanted something to show while the cattle were at home in the cooler.”
Over her five years as a member of the NJSA, Morgan has found many reasons why she enjoys showing pigs. Not only does this industry provide her with many unique opportunities, but she is able to make many new friends and memories while doing something she loves. Some of her favorite shows where she truly gets to experience this are World Pork Expo, Southwest Regional, and Eastern Regional. Although she has participated in numerous NJSA shows and events over the years, including World Pork Expo, Summer Type Conference, and many regional shows, one rises to the top. World Pork Expo claims the title as Morgan’s favorite show for its unique experience that allows her to exhibit pigs throughout the week while reconnecting with friends from different states and making memories that will last a lifetime.
Although showing pigs is a top priority at many NJSA events for Morgan, she also enjoys participating in contests like livestock judging. Partaking in the livestock judging contest at the 2019 Southwest Regional allowed her to place 5th overall in the sweepstakes for the first time, making this her most memorable moment in the NJSA. Her success does not stop with the sweepstakes contest. Other accomplishments that Morgan has achieved include raising the Champion Berkshire Barrow at the World Pork Expo in 2018 and the Champion Duroc Barrow at the 2019 Eastern Regional as well as being crowned the Champion Junior Showman at NAILE in 2019.
Thinking about what drives her to achieve her goals, Morgan says her favorite quote is, “Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.” She hopes that her hard-working mentality will lead her to attend a junior college and then transfer to a four-year university in either Texas or Oklahoma. Once she has completed her undergraduate studies, Morgan hopes to obtain a master’s degree in Animal Science and utilize this degree to become a veterinarian and a large animal embryologist.
Morgan would like to encourage the younger members of the NJSA to attend as many shows and events as possible so they are able to make friends and memories that will last a lifetime. The NSR and NJSA are proud to present this month’s youth spotlight, miss Morgan Wagner from Canton Illinois!
Jayden Emenhiser resides in Lafayette, Indiana, and is the 16-year-old daughter of Brian and Jodi Emenhiser. She is also a big sister to Kadence, Leia, and Melayna. When Jayden isn’t in the barn or the show ring, she spends her time playing soccer, being an active FFA member, and participating in 3D archery.
Jayden has been showing for the past nine years and has been a NJSA member for the last four. While being a NJSA member, she has participated in the National Junior Summer Spectacular and the North American International Livestock Exposition. When asked what her favorite show is, Jayden said, “NJSS because I get the chance to meet people from other states and I also get to showcase some other creative projects I do in contests, such as photography.” Some of her biggest accomplishments within the NJSA include: Reserve Champion Spotted Market Hog at NAILE 2018, Fifth Overall Intermediate Showman at NJSS 2019, and Third Overall Intermediate at the 2019 NJSS judging contest. Jayden would like to tell younger members to, “try everything, soak up the memories and experiences, and to never take for granted the people you meet.”
Jayden’s favorite quote is, “A champion is defined not by their wins but by how they can recover when they fall.” After finishing high school, she plans to study pre-medicine at Indiana University- Kokomo in order to become an orthopedic doctor.
Landrey Spray from Lafayette Indiana is the daughter of Craig and Emily Spray. Landrey is 7 years old and has two siblings Makayla, 11, and Keegan, 9. She attends 1st Faith Christian School where she is involved in basketball and enjoys gym class and socializing with friends at recess.
Landrey began showing pigs when she was 4 at the open pig show in Lafayette, Indiana. Landrey credits her show career to her family as it is something they all enjoy doing together. Landrey believes there’s nothing more fun than showing pigs with her family.
Landrey has been an NJSA member for 4 years and has enjoyed spending time traveling to the World Pork Expo and the Summer Spectacular. She has been very competitive in skillathon as she gets to show how much knowledge she has gained from her travels and continues to learn about the body parts of the pigs and how they work. Her favorite show is the Summer Spectacular in Louisville. She enjoys going there and hanging out with all of her friends. Landrey’s Most memorable moment came in 2018 at the Summer Spectacular where she won her first banner with her Hampshire barrow Petey. They placed 3rd overall.
Landrey’s favorite quote states, “Winning doesn’t always mean being first. Winning means you’re doing better than you’ve done before.”- Bonnie Blair
In the future, Landrey aspires to become a horse trainer while continuing to hold true to her Christian beliefs. She always leaves a word of advice to the younger members by saying, “There are lots of fun activities to do and if you’re scared your first time out, there is always someone there to help you out.”
Ten years ago, Matthew Ferrell, son of Ben and Jennifer Ferrell, began his show career by following in his cousin’s footsteps and exhibiting a market hog at his local county fair. Now, 15-years-old and a Sophomore at Brooks County High School, he has grown a passion for the show industry from being active in the NJSA for the past five years. When he is not showing pigs, Matthew enjoys playing baseball and participating in the FFA as well as hunting, fishing, and working on his family farm.
What drives him to continue his show career is the opportunity to meet new people from across the country while learning life lessons that he cannot learn outside of the barn. American Royal and the Georgia National Junior Livestock how are some of his favorite shows to gain these experiences. Matthew’s start in the NJSA began at the Southeast Regional and took off from there. Alongside this show, he has exhibited at The Exposition, National Junior Summer Spectacular, and the National Junior Show. He has enjoyed the Exposition the most out of these NJSA events particularly for the diversity in showman from across the country and the high caliber of pigs exhibited throughout the week. Although he enjoys exhibiting pigs that compete with some of the most competitive genetics from across the country, the showmanship contest excited Matthew the most because he can see all his hard work pay off.
Thinking back on his show career thus far, Matthew recalls many of his accomplishment, some of which include: Reserve Hampshire Sired Barrow at the National Junior Show, Reserve Intermediate Showman at the American Royal, and three time Showmanship Champion at the Georgia National Junior Livestock Show. Amongst these accomplishments, winning Reserve Champion Cross Gilt at the Southeast Regional is the most memorable for him. Reminiscing on his achievements, Matthew says the quote, “work until your idols become your rivals,” pushes him to work harder each day.
With this hard-working mentality Matthew plans to attend a junior college for two years and then transfer to a four-year university majoring in animal science. While attending both junior and senior college, he hopes to actively participate on a livestock judging team. Once he has obtained a bachelor’s degree in animal science, he plans to put this degree to work by becoming an animal nutritionist and a feed representative for a show feed company.
When asked what advice he would give a younger member of the NJSA Matthew says, “the NJSA is a special organization, this is one of the most helping industries out there. Don’t take any of the opportunities you are given for granted.” The NSR and the NJSA are proud to introduce this month’s youth spotlight, Matthew Ferrell from Quitman, Georgia.
This months youth spotlight is Brianna Stockwell from Dowagiac, Michigan. She attends Edwardsburg High School where she is in the eleventh grade. Her parents are Mike and Jennifer Stockwell and she is their only child. Her hobbies in school include being the Varsity wrestling manager, the pit section leader in band, and being a member of the Elkhart Career Center FFA chapter. Outside of school Brianna enjoys showing pigs, steers, goats and chickens. She is the president of her 4-H club for fair, and she volunteers every other Sunday at her local food pantry. Brianna is a member of the NJSA MVP program, while also being a member of the Branch County livestock judging team.
>She has been showing pigs for 11 years and first started at her county fair and as a peewee at the shows throughout Michigan. Brianna got involved showing pigs to make money at county fair, but she quickly learned that she loved the project and learning each of the animals personalities, how to train them, and see how they changed on different feed programs. Brianna loves the competition and her success in the showring helped highlight all the hard work she has put in at home. She loves the fast pace and the science involved in growing a hog to make it look it’s absolute best. Brianna has been a member of the NJSA for 9 years and she became involved with the NJSA when she began showing pigs on a national level and began raising hogs for herself. She has participated at the World Pork Expo in 2013, National Barrow Show 2014 through 2018, NAILE 2014 through 2017, Eastern Regional 2015 through 2019, and National Junior Summer Type Conference in 2019. Her favorite NJSA event is the World Pork Expo because of the free food and the equipment shows, but her favorite contest is extemporaneous public speaking because the contest allows her to speak freely about topics in the pork industry as well as quick thinking and it pushes her to learn more.
Brianna most memorable moment was meeting her best friend in the holding pens before a class at NAILE, and have been best friends ever since! Brianna’s advice she would give to a younger NJSA member is “listen, and work on what you listen too. Listen to judges, older members, and even friends. The best way to get better is to learn from what others do.” Some accomplishments within the NJSA include placing eighth in the Intermediate and Senior Extemporaneous Public Speaking contest, fifth in intermediate judging contest, eighth overall in Sweepstakes at NJSS, top 10 in skillathon, and showmanship at Eastern Regional in 2015 through 2017. At National Barrow show, Brianna placed in the top 10 in showmanship 2015 through 2018. Some accomplishments outside of the NJSA include fourth overall Tammworth barrow at CPS in 2019. Champion Tammwoth at the Michigan Livestock Expo in 2019 as well at Champion market hog at the Cass County 4-H Fair in 2017, 2018 and 2019.
Brianna’s favorite quote is “Strength grows in the moments when you think you can’t go on, but you keep going anyway.” -Unknown. Brianna’s future plans include to finish her Vet tech degree, then attend college for agribusiness and pre law. She intends to get her degree at Lake Land College for these degrees and be apart of their judging team. She plans to become an agricultural lawyer when schooling is complete she wants to defend farmers and their livestock. Some other options are becoming an agricultural educator or an agricultural ecologist. Brianna would like to add that she is an advocate for service animals for disabled people. She believes the bond between an animal and a person is extremely beneficial. These animals can save lives in so many different ways, not just physically but also mentally.
>Congratulations to this month's NJSA Youth spotlight, Brianna Stockwell!
14-year-old Brayden Lancaster, from Battletown, Kentucky, has been showing pigs for 9 years. Adam and Carrie Lancaster, Brayden’s parents, introduced Brayden to showing pigs in 2011 in their hometown, Meade County. Brayden’s father showed pigs as a young boy, and once introduced to Brayden he developed a true passion for showing pigs. Brayden’s greatest joys are meeting new friends across the U.S exhibiting his hogs as well as learning about the industry and fulfilling his goals he has set for himself. Outside of showing, Brayden enjoys hanging out with friends, hunting, and camping. Along with Brayden’s hobbies, Brayden hopes to attend college, join a judging team, and purse a career in the veterinarian field.
Some of Brayden’s greatest accomplishments, within NJSA, are exhibiting the Champion Hampshire Barrow at the 2019 NAILE and having the Grand Champion Purebred barrow at the 2020 Southeast Regional. Brayden’s accomplishments don’t stop at NJSA. Brayden has had the honor to exhibit the Grandchampion 4-H and FFA Market Hog at the Kentucky State Fair in 2018 and 2019, as well as the Supreme Champion Gilt in 2020. The Kentucky State fair happens to be one of Brayden’s favorite shows because he can showcase his amazing livestock and talent in his home state. Other than the Kentucky State Fair, Brayden also enjoys traveling to the Exposition in Des Moines, Iowa. Brayden says “ The entire week at The Exposition can be summed up in one word “Fun”! I love traveling to Des Moines and spending the week competing against the best in the country.” NJSA is proud to recognize Brayden as a youth spotlight and commend his hard work and dedication.
16-year-old, Meghan Garren, has found her passion inside the show ring exhibiting her hogs. Meghan started showing pigs in the 4th grade and has continued to grow as a showman. As a young girl Meghan grew up showing dogs and after watching her older cousins show their market and breeding projects, she knew she wanted to be a part of the livestock community. She became an NJSA member, about 4 years ago, after she attended the Arizona National Livestock Show with her mentor, Brianna Cebollero. Meghan most enjoys the thrill of stepping foot inside the show ring and having the feeling of it being just you and the judge. One of Meghan’s favorite shows to attend is the Arizona National Livestock show. Meghan has met some of her closest friends at the Arizona Nationals and has made some of her best livestock memories.
Meghan has found much success inside the show ring. One of her biggest accomplishments is winning Champion Duroc Gilt at the Western Regionals, in 2018, as well as winning Reserve Champion Crossbred Barrow in 2019. Meghan’s accomplishments far exceeded NJSA. Meghan has had the honor of placing 6th overall California State FFA Prepared Public Speaking in 2020. With Meghan’s involvement in the livestock industry, Meghan hopes to attend a four-year college to study Animal Science and Ag. Business. She hopes to find a career as an animal endocrinologist. Meghan would like to thank everyone who has helped her along the way. Her parents, Erik and Heather Garren. Mike and Astrid Cebollero, her second family, and her mentor Brianna Cebellero. NJSA is proud to recognize Meghan as a youth spotlight and commend her on her accomplishments and hard work.
Parker Wehmer, Indiana, may only be 10 years old, but his show ring career has been growing since his debut as a 3-year-old. Showing pigs is a family tradition for Parker. Both of his parents, Robbie and Amy Wehmer, each of his grandparents, and great-grandparents all showed pigs. Now, its Parker, his brothers, Benton and Davis, and cousins that get to carry on the family tradition. Parker most enjoys getting to spend time with his family and friends while at pig shows as well as meeting new people and learning how to be a hard worker. Outside of showing pigs, he enjoys math class, football, wrestling, cross-country, baseball, going to church, and playing with his dad and brothers. When Parker grows up, his goal is to attend college where he will play football and then be drafted into the NFL. His backup plan is to be a feed-salesman.
The accomplishments Parker has achieved far exceed the NJSA. He has won multiple wrestling tournaments including placing at the state level, ran numerous 5Ks, won the mile at school, won the local punt, pass, and kick, as well as Champion Foods in the cookie division and Reserve Champion in the Electric division for 4H. Parker got his start in the NJSA 4 years ago at the National Junior Summer Spectacular. This show just so happens to be his favorite NJSA event and holds his most memorable experience as well. He loves getting to see his family and friends and also participating in Barnyard Olympics. In 2020, Parker was named Fifth Overall Landrace Gilt. His favorite part about the NJSA is getting the ability to show his swine against such good competition. Parker, his brothers, and cousins, Jaydyn and Jenna have taken this time during quarantine to work extremely hard with their pigs and have learned so much to deepen the competition. NJSA is proud to recognize Parker as this month’s spotlight and commends him on his hard work and dedication.
With her eye on veterinary school and a specialty of animal chiropractic’s in her future, this spotlighting is nothing short of ambitious. The 18-year-old of Sheldon, Missouri has already started her own feed business, earned a judging scholarship to Redlands Community College, and achieved many accomplishments in the show ring. Miss Kaleigh Byram is the daughter of Mike and Megan Bryam and sister of Kasen and Brittany. Her hobbies include attending FFA events as well as exhibiting swine. When asked how long she has been showing, she responded, ““I showed my brother’s pigs when I wasn’t old enough to participate on my own, but the first time I showed on my own was when I was 8.””Her very first time in the ring was when she was just 5 years old in the Vernon County Pee Wee showmanship competition. In the beginning of her show career, showing swine was simply a family affair, but once Kaleigh got older, she began to love the industry for her own personal reasons. When the choice between showing and playing sports had to be made, she said choosing to show full time was the easiest decision she’s ever made. Kaleigh most enjoys the competitive aspect that comes with showing pigs.“Nothing beats the feeling when you enter the show ring and all eyes are on you, planning the different patterns and views in a split second to ensure the judge sees the best angles possible.”In addition to being in the ring, this spotlight also enjoys the work put in at home. Training the pigs, getting their skin and hair perfect, and getting to watch and plan the changes an animal will go through as they grow and mature is one of her favorite parts.
Kaleigh first joined the NJSA in 2013. Her involvement grew when her family decided to show at the World Pork Expo. Since then she was attended Southwest Regional, NAILE, American Royal, National Western Stock Show, and National Barrow Show. Out of those, Southwest Regional is her favorite. She says,“The facilities are great, it’s such a laid-back atmosphere, yet brings some of the fiercest competition across all of the breeds. It’s also a good place to catch up with my show friends I typically haven’t seen since fall, spring, and summer shows.”Her favorite contest is the Skillathon. A lot of her industry knowledge has come from preparing for this contest at various shows. If Kaleigh could give one piece of advice to younger members it would be to get involved, put yourself out there, and make as many friends as possible. She credits the NJSA and other agricultural organizations for shaping her into the person she is today as well as providing her the tools to continue to grow and be successful in her adult life. The accomplishments this spotlight has demonstrated within the industry are extensive, and the NJSA is so pleased to welcome her as this month’s featured spotlight!
“Remember why you started” is this spotlight’s favorite quote. From Danville, Indiana and daughter of Brad and Mary, Mary VanNess has a passion for the livestock industry and is very fortunate to have had the opportunity to exhibit at many different shows. The Freshman from Cascade High School enjoys playing volleyball, running track, being a member of the National Junior Honors Society, attending pig shows with her family, and farrowing pigs with her brothers, Jesse and Walker. Mary credits Jesse for making show pigs a family activity. He began showing pigs, and Mary quickly took his lead first showing at NAILE in Louisville when she was just 3 years old. Since then, she has grown fond of the memories and life lessons showing pigs has taught her. She loves traveling to all the different states to exhibit her swine as well as spending time with her best friends while at the shows. The Indiana State Fair holds a special place as Mary’s favorite show because she is able to spend time with all of her friends and experience her state fair’s show days.
Mary has been an NJSA member for 10 years and participated in numerous NJSA sanctioned shows. Her family typically always has a York or Duroc they are excited to exhibit at each of those shows as well. Her favorite show is the Southeast Regional because she loves getting to travel to Georgia alongside friends and family. In 2020, Mary was named Champion Overall Purebred Gilt at the Southeast Regional, and that is a memory she will never forget. In the future, she plans on attending Purdue University where she will earn her veterinary license with the hopes of one day owning her own vet clinic for show animals. If Mary were to tell younger members one thing about the NJSA, she would commend the group of people that help make the organization all it is and tell them there are amazing role models for every age. The NJSA is proud to introduce Mary VanNess as a spotlight in the organization!
With an older brother already involved in NJSA shows, Ty Goss jumped into the show ring at an early age, continuing the family tradition. His mom Dana and dad Kent, who was an ag teacher in Oklahoma for 25 years, also encouraged Ty in the showring.
Since he started showing at the age of three, he’s exhibited every year at the NJSA Southwest Regional and World Pork Expo/The Exposition. One of his favorite memories of exhibiting at the Southwest Regional was showing his favorite gilt during his senior year.
Inside the showring isn’t the only place that Ty has found success. He has won and placed in the top of both judging contest and sweepstakes at NJSA shows. Now at age 18, he has decided to continue that passion for evaluating livestock and plans to attend Redlands Community College to judge competitively in the fall.
The Leedey, OK native is also active playing baseball and basketball and enjoys hunting and fishing when he isn’t working with his show stock. NJSA shows are not the only place that Ty and his family exhibit good livestock. In past years at the Oklahoma Youth Expo, Ty has won Reserve Grand Champion Barrow twice, Grand Commercial Gilt and Grand Purebred Gilt.
When asked what advice he would pass on to younger NJSA members Ty said, “Never take for granted the life values and lessons that you gain from showing pigs. This is one of the most supportive industries there is for young people so never be afraid to reach out for help.”
The NJSA is excited to introduce Gabby Line as one of this month’s youth spotlights! She is 18 years old and resides in Huntington, Indiana. She is the daughter of Danielle and Chris Lane, and is the younger sister to Shawna Titus, age 25. In school, she is involved in the Riley Dance marathon as well as her local FFA chapter and will be attending Oklahoma State University in the Fall. When outside, she enjoys being in the barn, spending time with her friends and family, and enjoying the great outdoors!
Gabby has been showing hogs for the last ten years, starting her show career when she was in the third grade. Starting at her local county fair, she eventually moved onto showing hogs nationally in 2016. Her sister got her involved in showing hogs, and Gabby quotes “I show pigs for the competition aspect of course, but I’ll be the first to admit it keeps me organized, responsible, and has helped me grow as a person”. The opportunities within the show pig industry that give the foundation for professional careers in the future are what Gabby enjoys the most.
Gabby’s favorite livestock shows include the World Pork Expo and the Indiana State Fair. She appreciates the Expo’s welcoming environment and the memories behind the ISF; the show where she hung her first big banner. She has been an involved member of the NJSA for the last four years and got involved at her first national show; NAILE in 2016. Since then, she has shown at the World Pork Expo, the National Western Stock Show, NSR Winter Type, NJSA Southeast Regional, The Exposition, NJSA Eastern Regional, American Royal, and NAILE. Gabby enjoys the memories and connections made through this industry, and she says that the MVP program was her favorite because it introduced her to Jacob & Landon Glunt and is extremely thankful for that connection. Her most valued memory is her winning the 5th overall Berkshire Gilt at WPE in 2017 and considers it her first bigger national win. She then went on to win the Champion Landrace at Winter Type in 2018.
She would tell a younger NJSA member this: “Take as many opportunities as you can through the NJSA. The NJSA offers contests, scholarships, leadership, and more. Take advantage of everything the NJSA has to offer!” In her near future, she will be attending Oklahoma State to major in Agribusiness and Marketing and plans to go into livestock pharmaceutical sales upon graduation. “If you think you are working hard, remember there is always a kid out there that’s working harder than you.” – Adam Crouch.
The NJSA is proud to have a member like Gabby in our program and we wish her all the best in her future endeavors!
Audra Hart is our next youth spotlight this month. She is 13 years old and resides in Pikeville, TN. She is the daughter of John and Kimberly Hart, and is the younger sister to Jared (age 23) and Lincoln (age 19). She is a student at Homelife Academy and is in the 8th grade. Her hobbies in school include livestock judging through her local 4-H program. After school, she enjoys working with her livestock, helping her Dad around the farm, and baking.
Audra has been showing hogs for the last 7 years, and got her start in 2014 at the Tennessee Eastern Regional Show in Athens, TN. Her influences came from her older brothers, and after helping them she fell in love with it. When asked why she shows pigs, Audra quotes “For me, it’s a lifestyle. I have been raised showing livestock and I am very passionate about it”. Audra enjoys showmanship the most when showing hogs. Her mantra is that no matter what your pig may look like if you put 110% effort and all of your heart into it, you are sure to succeed. Her favorite livestock show is the Tennessee State Fair because you get to see other livestock, watch the shows, and see more of your friends and mentors.
Audra has been an active member of the NJSA for the last 6 years, and says her brothers and parents are the main reason why she got involved. She has participated in the Southeastern Regional, The Exposition, the National Junior Swine Spectacular, and the National Junior Summer Spectacular. Her favorite event is the National Junior Swine Spectacular because of the competitive hogs and the late night barn memories with good friends. Her accomplishments within the NJSA include 5th Overall Junior Showman and 6th Overall Junior Sweepstakes Winner at NJSS, and had a class winning Yorkshire Gilt and Cross Barrow at NJSA.
Her favorite quote is “Don’t worry when you are not recognized but strive to be worthy or recognition” – Abraham Lincoln. Her future plans include becoming an intern for Dr. Steve Copeland DVM in Paragould, AR, attend a junior college, then transfer to Auburn University for the veterinary program.
The NJSA is proud to have a dedicated, young member like Audra and we are excited to see what she does in her future inside the NJSA and out!
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!