Showing pigs to the world
DES MOINES – It is projected that more than 3,000 pigs were part of the Junior National open shows held last week at the World Pork Expo at the Iowa State Fairgrounds.
A young Gowrie-area man took to the ring that showcases pigs from more than 30 states and attended by visitors from around the world.
Alex Alliger said he isn’t new to show ring, showing animals since a young 4-H’er and prior to that would follow his siblings Aaron and Michelle to shows until he was old enough to take his turns.
“I have been showing ever since I was in 4-H and before that when I would go to shows with my brother and sister,” said Alliger.
In addition to showing pigs, Alliger shows cattle as well.
Throughout the years, Alliger said he’s earned top rankings in a variety of shows exhibiting both cattle and pigs.
Alliger has shown animals on the county level to state and national shows. He said he’s won at the American Royal, in Kansas City, earned reserve grand champion steer at the Iowa State Fair; grand champion FFA market hog and reserve grand champion market hog at the Iowa State Fair and reserve grand champion at the North American, in Louisville.
It is all of those successes that keep Alliger wanting to go for more.
“My success in the show ring is what drives me and it is enjoyable and fun,” he said.
The 2016 World Pork Expo was the first time Alliger said he has exhibited pigs at the show. He brought three pigs – two Durocs which he earned third and fourth in his class and a crossbred pig with which he was given a seventh in his class rating.
There is a lot of work leading up to a show like the ones at the World Pork Expo.
Alliger said before a show he will walk his pigs twice a day to help build stamina so that they can have the drive needed to be in the show ring for a long amount of time.
He said he will keep his pigs separated in order to feed them individually as needed if one is needing to add some additional weight or if one is needing to hold off from gaining any extra.
Performing at the world-level was exciting, Alliger said.
“I just enjoy a high level of competition,” he said. “I try the best to represent Iowa in the best way possible.”
Although preparing an animal for show is a lot of hard work, Alliger said it is all worth it and recommends young people give it a try.
“All of the long hours and hard work will pay off in the end,” he said. “Always have class and showmanship in everything that you do. The best thing I got from showing livestock is the friendships I have made with so many people I wouldn’t have known if it wasn’t for livestock.”
Alliger, who is the son of Larry and Jill Alliger, of Gowrie, has recently became a part of his family’s farm which consists of a row-crop operation as well as raising pigs, cattle and running a cow/calf set up.
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