As the Jackson County Junior Fair wraps up Saturday, hundreds of people attended for the food, animals, people watching, and the infamous livestock auctions.
In the hog category, the 2018 Grand Champion and Reserve Grand Champion were both bred by Jacob Barr with Barr T Farms, right here in Jackson County. This is Jacob’s third year breeding JCJF champions, making history since the fair began.
The Grand Champion, Dumpling, who was exhibited by Gunnar Parsons, was extremely shocked to see his pig friend snag the boss hog title of the whole Mountain State.
This was Parsons first rodeo, entering and showing a pig, thinking he would just give it a try.
“I never thought, I just wanted to come and see what it was like, have fun, enjoy it. That’s what I enjoy the most is having fun,” said Parsons.
Like Gunnar, hundreds of kids invest their time and energy into raising some pretty impressive-looking livestock. With the help from parents, they explain that it is a full-time job and teaches the kids valuable life lessons.
Amanda Keeler, mother of Reserve Grand Champion exhibitor said, “we’re talking about an animal who has to be fed twice a day, sometimes three times a day, watered, bathed, vaccinated, walked. You definitely have to walk and work with them. Pigs are extremely smart but they do take effort.”
Many participants look at this hobby as like raising a puppy. These pigs are like puppies to them, with the same amount of spunk. But the outcome to raising and auctioning off these animals seriously pays off, while the animals may meet their unfortunate fate.
The money each animal closes at during the auctions is given to their exhibitor and the cash amount can be insane.
13 News ran into the exhibitor of the Grand Champion in the Market Steer category to hear how she received nearly $16,500 dollars for her steer. Many kids use the money to fund for college and the supporters who bid top dollar do it just for that, to support the kids’ livelihood.
But while the money can be pretty sweet, it often times doesn’t make the goodbyes any easier.
13 News caught up with Gunnar Parsons after the auction to get his reaction. Dumpling sold for $28 per pound, and at 266 pounds, that totals to $7,448. He explained he was grateful for the support of the bidders and plans to use the money for college or a portion of it to raise another hog to enter next year at the fair, however, finding it rather difficult to smile, knowing in just a few hours Dumpling and him must part ways.
He hopes the winning bidders have mercy on Dumpling and use her to breed other champions, because he said the genes are definitely there.