From the Mic :: The 2019 Exposition :: Russell Pedrett
Crossbred Barrow Judge :: Russell Pedrett, Calif.
What is your favorite show to attend?
I really enjoy the NJSA Events — World Pork Expo and Western Regional in particular. I love that they have a laid back environment and are set up to encourage kids and families to get to know one another. We always have a great time at these events.
What do you and your family do for fun?
Since showpigs are my job, when we get time off we enjoy traveling and seeing new places. So far, we’ve been to three different Hawaiian Islands and we try to make a trip to the California coast at least once a year.
What is your background and current involvement in the swine industry?
I am from Minden, Nevada. Growing up, I loved attending the NSR events — my dad and I traveled to the World Pork Expo, National Barrow Show and Southwest Type Conference many times while I was in high school. By time the time I graduated we had 40 sows. Upon graduation, I attended Modesto Junior College and managed the MJC Swine Unit for Mr. John Mendes. From there, I moved to Nebraska and worked full time at RW Genetics while attending the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and competing on their livestock judging team. I am currently in my eleventh year as the Manager of Ottenwalter Showpigs, in Colusa, California. We have 350 sows and market about 2,000 show pigs annually across the United States.
What are you looking for in your champion barrow?
Correctness of build is what we strive to produce on a daily basis at Ottenwalter Show Pigs — when I’m judging a show it’s no different. Squareness, soundness, balance and proportions will always be my focus. Once we can check all those boxes, bring on all the extras — bone, power and muscularity in a fresh, well-presented package.
What is the best hog you’ve ever seen?
That’s a very tough question! I can think of many different individuals at different stages in their life that I just knew deep down were truly special. I think it’s incredibly hard to not only put together those animals, but then to target them for a show and be able to get them “perfect” come show day. Because of my position at Ottenwalter Show Pigs, I feel fortunate to be able to understand both the perspective of the breeder trying to produce elite livestock and also of the feeder trying to manage those projects into a winning animal.
What advice do you have for young people in the livestock industry?
Listen and learn! The more you can do of both, the better off you’ll be– not only in this industry but in life in general. You can always learn something from anyone.
What do you enjoy most about being involved in the NJSA?
I enjoy the people the most. Whether it’s our friends or customers, or just people we meet at the show, I enjoy the camaraderie and memories we make traveling to NJSA events.
What is one important trait young individuals can gain from showing?
What do you enjoy most about being involved in the swine industry?
I enjoy everything about it. Most of all I enjoy the quality of people in it and the quality of life it has provided me.
What is your favorite aspect about judging a show?
I thoroughly enjoy when I get a chance to judge and I am very much looking forward to the Crossbred Barrow Show at The Exposition. The quality of the showmen, quality of the stock and prestige of the event make it extra exciting in my eyes.