The Herald Bulletin

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Special Reports

July 19, 2010

Siblings show grand champion gilt, barrow

Thurston family of Alexandria wins top prizes

ALEXANDRIA, Ind. — The Thurston family of Alexandria reigned supreme during the Madison County 4-H Fair swine show Monday.

Brother and sister team Jake and Samantha Thurston took the grand championships in the show, with Jake, 13, winning for showing his gilt and Samantha for her barrow.

Samantha, 16, said she was surprised that she and her brother were able to beat out the 400 other pigs entered in the competition to become the grand champions.

She worked hard for the honor.

“I worked with him a lot,” Samantha said of her barrow. “I walked him three times a day ... took him to open shows almost every weekend.”

Samantha said in addition to showing pigs, she also shows sheep and cattle at the 4-H fair.

When not involved in 4-H, she enjoys playing tennis and cheerleading.

Her brother, Jake, said he was confident in his pig.

“I knew she was good enough, but I was a little surprised,” he said of the win.

His pig will return to the family farm in Alexandria to be bred and the male pig will be sent to slaughter.

“It’s very exciting,” their mother, Julie Thurston, said clutching two massive trophies topped with golden pigs.

Those who didn’t win still had a great time showing off their animals.

Hope Kitts, 14, said the 4-H experience is a valuable one.

“It gives me a chance to enjoy something during the summer, learn responsibility, and how to take care of an animal,” Kitts said.

Taylor Ryan, 15, of Frankton, said there are some aspects of the fair that she finds upsetting. Ryan said she is sad when the hogs have to go to the butcher, but she likes showing them beforehand.

Mackenzie Neeley, 11, of Alexandria, was last place in her category during the showing, but said she gets up close and personal with her pigs.

“I like to get in the pig pen with them and lie down,” she said.

Contact Brandi Watters, 640-4847, brandi.watters@heraldbulletin.com        

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