Lake County Fair: These little piggies go to market
By Carrie Napoleon Post-Tribune correspondent August 6, 2014 8:16PM
Members of 4-H compete for the coveted title of market barrow grand champion with their weight class-winning swine. | Carrie Napoleon~for Sun-Times Media
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Updated: September 8, 2014 6:14AM
CROWN POINT — Josh Bilgri, 11, of Lowell was guiding his market barrow reserve pig through the judging arena Wednesday in the Show Pavilion at the Lake County Fair.
For 4-H members like Josh, showing the animals they have raised and cared for is the culmination of months of rising early and working hard in the barn and fields while some of their friends were inside watching television and playing video games.
This is the third year Josh has shown market-ready swine in the fair.
“I just like the pigs and hanging out with my friends at the fair,” Josh said.
Raising the animals such as pigs, cattle and sheep is just part of farm life for many of the participants.
Zach Hayden, 11, of Lowell had a pig in the reserve competition. He was not as enthused as Josh about showing the swine this year.
“I really don’t want to do pigs but my brother wanted to do six,” Zach said. Each contestant is allowed to enter three pigs for judging so he had to help his brother Conner. The Hayden family has farmed for three generations in south Lake County.
Club members enter the competition for the honor of winning and what it means to the farms. The market barrow swine are judged on qualities such as muscle tone and fat content. A first and second place, or reserve, animal is chosen from each category for the final competition. A grand champion and a reserve champion are chosen from the first- and second-place animal in each breed and weight class. The livestock will be sold at auction at the fair Saturday and placing in the competition means a better price.
Andrew Siwinski, 13, of Crown Point, walked away with the coveted grand champion title. His brother Austin, 17, was showing the animal for the final competition while Andrew was showing in the reserve champion competition.
It was not the first grand champion title for the brothers.
“We’ve done in it in the past, but not every year,” Austin said.