From the Mic :: The 2019 Exposition
Novice and Intermediate Showmanship Judge :: Samantha Winter, Okla.
Junior and Senior Showmanship Judge :: Shari Bakker, Iowa
What is your favorite show to attend?
SW :: Mine has always been the World Pork Expo! Our family has made so many memories there together over the years, from hanging banners to donating livestock in honor of my sister. The nostalgia of the Iowa State Fairgrounds is second to none.
SB :: World Pork Expo. Not only do I love that I get to see family, friends and breeders from all over the country, but the fairgrounds hold significant memories for my family. It’s where my husband and I first met, where we got engaged, where we spent our honeymoon and was the first national show we ever brought our kids to. The history in those barns is incredible, as is the atmosphere.
What do you and your family do for fun?
SW :: Well honestly, most of our family outings are to livestock shows! This is how I grew up, this is how Tanner grew up, and now this is how our kids are being raised.
SB :: Pigs. In all seriousness, our family loves to be very involved in the agricultural industry as a whole. We spend our weekends working in the barns, headed to pig sales or shows, farming or at different swine industry events. We are also huge Iowa State fans and try to get to as many games as we can.
What is your background and current involvement in the swine industry?
SW :: I grew up on a row crop and showpig operation is Southwest Iowa with my two sisters. With no boys to get in our way we learned right alongside our dad that the harder you work the luckier you get. This sparked the passion for pigs inside me. After high school, I went to Black Hawk East and Western Illinois University to pursue a degree in animal science and my collegiate judging career. While judging at the National Barrow Show I met my now husband, Tanner, who luckily liked pigs too. We reside in El Reno, Oklahoma where we own and operate Winter Livestock & Feed. We have four children- Teagan, 7, Tabor, 4, Tandy, 2, and Tyson, 2. We also have 50 sows, and are a distributor of Sunglo Feeds. I’m also the Livestock Trailer Business Manager for Exiss & Sooner Trailers. It’s true that if you love what you do you will never work a day in your life!
SB :: I grew up on a row crop and showpig operation in Southwest Iowa. I attended Iowa State University where I majored in agricultural communications and was on the livestock judging team. I found my passion in agricultural education and working hands on with farmers daily and am now the Director at the Iowa State University Extension Office in Grundy Center. My husband, Jarrod, and I have three kids- Caeden, 9, Cooper, 7, and Olivia, 5. We recently built a 2,400 head wean-to-finish building and farm alongside his family in Dike, Iowa. Jarrod and I, along with my brother-in-law, Jordan, own and operate Bakker Bros. Genetics where we have about 60 showpig sows. The swine industry has always been a passion and focus of mine and is a huge part of our livelihoods.
What are you looking for in your champion showman?
SW :: The 3 P’s of showmanship: Presentation, Position and Pace.
SB :: When I work with my kids on showmanship at home we focus on being in tune with your pig, anticipating turns and making sure that your pace is uninterrupted and looks effortless. Showmanship for me isn’t about being flashy or responding to tricks in the ring, it’s about making your hog look its best while presenting yourself with confidence and ring awareness.
What advice do you have for young people in the livestock industry?
SW :: The hustle is sold separately. Find the segment of the industry that lights your heart on fire and hustle at it every second of every day. In the midst of the hustle make sure to build strong relationships with those around you, because as Dan Hoge once told us “You never know who you are sitting next to” they may just be an industry leader someday.
SB :: A goal should be something that scares you a little and excites you a lot. Industry leaders are there because they stepped outside of their comfort zone to ask for advice, to learn from the front runners and have never stopped chasing their dreams. Be good people, stay humble, learn from the best, teach those who ask, and above all else, treat people well.
What do you enjoy most about being involved in the NJSA?
SW :: Watching these young people develop and grow as good human beings while showing pigs is great.
SB :: A child’s ability to meet a new kid and five minutes later be best friends is truly amazing. I love watching kids pick up a football, borrow scooters or play cards together and act like they’ve known each other for years. As adults, we could learn a lot from our kids about chasing dreams and working together to reach our goals.
What is one important trait young individuals can gain from showing?
SW :: Perseverance. The ability to problem solve and stay focused on the ultimate goal in the middle of adversity.
SB :: To be brave and get involved. For kids, and even most adults, sitting in the bleachers and talking to someone new or participating in a speech contest can be stressful. I promise that if you push yourself, if you go out and introduce yourself to those successful people who’ve always intimidated you, there will be infinitely more lessons to be gained than if you never tried. If you treat people well, and invest in relationship building, this is an industry that will carry you through your hard times and celebrate with you during the good times.
What do you enjoy most about being involved in the swine industry?
SW :: As a breeder, I love the challenge of the continually moving goal posts and using unique ways to reach them. As a mother, I love that my children will always have a place to belong. As a feed distributor, I love educating and sharing knowledge with our customers. As a trailer marketer, I love watching my trailers function easily for the user.
SB :: One of the most challenging and rewarding aspects of the swine industry, whether it be showpigs or contract facilities, is having the patience to get where you need to be. Great breeders, feeders and leaders did not accomplish their goals in one day or even one year. It may take you generations to grow your breeding program to where it needs to be, and it may require you to make hard decisions, but if you stick with your priorities and keep your goals in sight, the payoffs can be tremendous.
How does it feel to be judging Showmanship at the same show as your sister?
SW :: It’s such a great opportunity! Shari and I are best friends and have been through thick and thin together. It only seems fitting that we judge our first big show together as well.
SB :: The World Pork Expo has always been special to our family and to have the opportunity to judge such a large national show with my sister, who is also my best friend, is too big for words. I greatly appreciate the opportunity and look forward to all of the talent I know is headed our way!