Showing pigs is a family tradition
By KRISS NELSON
DES MOINES – Kory Kuecker wasn’t exactly sure on how long he has spent showing pigs at the World Pork Expo.
He just knows it’s been several years and an opportunity like no other.
“It’s been a long time showing at the expo,” he said. “It’s just fun. It’s competition you don’t always have and people you don’t always see because there are 32 different states represented down here.”
For the 2017 World Pork Expo, Kuecker chose two gilts to bring into the show ring, a cross bred and a spot gilt.
Kuecker said his crossbred gilt won her class in the junior show and his spot gilt earned third in her class in the junior show.
Both cross and spot, he said, were thir in the class in the open show and the spot gilt was the high seller for spot gilts.
“It’s tough competition,” Kuecker said of his division win. “It’s not something you get to do every year, that’s for sure.”
In the past, Kuecker said he has brought up to six pigs to the World Pork Expo swine show, but chose to only bring two this year.
“I chose to bring the gilts, so they can be taken home and put back in to the herd and breed them if we choose to,” he said.
Kuecker competes in other shows throughout Iowa and the Midwest and is the third generation of the Kueckers to be involved with showing pigs.
“It’s something my grandpa started when he was 18 years old and he is 79 now,” said Kuecker. “My dad kept it up and decided to do it for a career, so it’s been in our family forever.
“It’s pretty awesome,” he added. “It’s a family tradition.”
The Kueckers own and operate Kuecker Seedstock in Algona.
“We have a 450 head show pig operation, all show pig sows and will sell around 1,200 show pigs a year all around the country,” he said.
Kuecker said the business has made a name for itself and is known all over the country.
“It’s pretty cool coming down here to the World Pork Expo and having people from all over come talk to you,” he said. “I had a guy from Pennsylvania come up to me today and ask me if I was Dick Kuecker’s grandson, so that’s pretty neat.”
He added they have even had some experiences and conversations with international visitors to the World Pork Expo.
“There’s a lot of people from all over that are here taking pictures,” he said. “We are a little more advanced with show pigs than a lot of other countries are and so it’s really interesting having them come and ask you questions.”
Kuecker said it definitely takes a lot of time and effort to be successful in show pig competitions.
“What I have figured out throughout the years is the more time you spend with them, the more you work with them, the better you’re going to do,” he said. “Just do it, and do it right. Spend time with them, ask a lot of questions because there are people around that know a lot of things.”
Kuecker is in his last year of showing in the junior division at the World Pork Expo, but plans to continue on with the family tradition and keep showing and competing in the open shows.
He is a recent graduate of South Dakota State University with a major in ag education and a minor in agronomy. He will be an FFA advisor and ag teacher at Emmetsburg High School next year.
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