Overall, it’s all about the fun
DES MOINES – Clay Freimuth waited two and a half hours for a chance to show off his last pig Thursday afternoon at the Iowa State Fair.
With two purples and a blue ribbon already in his possession earlier that morning, he drove his gilt into the show ring, and almost immediately, the judge was looking favorably at other gilts that had more muscle mass and body shape than his pig.
He accepted the red ribbon and drove his gilt back to her pen. She was a good-looking pig – the judge said so of all the red ribbon entries – but this is the state fair, and the competition is fierce.
“It kind of sucks,” Freimuth,15, said after penning his gilt. “The goal up here is to place. It’s a big deal.”
Nevertheless, he said he’s satisfied with the two purples, which means his pigs can sell for a premium. A few he may be able to take home with him.
This was Freimuth’s seventh year to show at the state fair. The family is essentially done for the next eight days until the open show on Aug. 21, where two more pigs will be run out for judging.
Freimuth said his family finishes 5,000 pigs each year on its Pomeroy farm. They buy all of their show pigs.
This year their source was in Ankeny, because their usual supplier in Schaller ran out of pigs, Freimuth said.
Last year, Freimuth said he had his best state fair finish to date placing one pig fifth overall.
Freimuth said he did sufficiently well on July 10 at the Calhoun County Expo in Rockwell City where he won senior showmanship and entered the reserve champion in the carcass contest, plus won some first and seconds in class judging.
“And that was strange because it wasn’t a very big pig,” he said of the carcass reserve champ. “But it cut out well.”
When asked if he felt it was a waste of almost three hours waiting to show his last pig, only to earn a red, Freimuth said, it was disappointing, but “it’s the state fair.”
At the end of the day, he said, “This is really just a hobby, it’s not a business.
“You come up here to place, yeah, but it’s also fun – fun watching them grow and fun spending time with family here.”
Freimuth said he’ll be dividing his time between the fair and football practice in Manson.
As a FFA’er he hopes to keep showing pigs in this show until he’s required to stop four years after graduating high school.
“But you never know,” Freimuth said, “what college will require, but I’m hoping I can do it.”
He said since he’s grown up around pigs, he’s confident his future will include them in some manner.
“When you’ve always been around them,” Freimuth said, “you know what you have to do.
“I expect there will always be pigs (around the farm) and there will always be 4-H and FFA in the family.”
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