Fourteen-year-old Graham Carson won grand champion market hog for the second time in his young fair career on Wednesday at the Fayette County Junior Fair Market Swine Show.
From the age of 2, Graham took an interest in showing and raising hogs. This devotion has been fruitful for Graham, who first won the grand champion trophy in 2014.
“It’s pretty amazing,” Graham said following the trophy presentation. “It feels the same way it did in 2014. I spend at least two hours a day with the hogs….sometimes more.”
Wednesday’s hog show at the hog pavilion was a big day for the Carson family, as Meri Grace Carson – Graham’s sister – also did exceedingly well by finishing third place overall with her hog. Meri Grace raised the hogs with some help from her brother.
The reserve champion winner also turned out to be a remarkable, feel-good story: 9-year-old Kaden Bryant won the prize in his very first year showing hogs. Kaden said he wasn’t sure yet how to feel about his incredible accomplishment, and added that he worked hard to get to this point.
Rounding out the top five for overall swine were fourth place, Zander Ivey, who also finished in the top five in swine showmanship Tuesday; and Carley Payton finished fifth.
The judge at the show, Nathan Day, said the quality of hogs at the Fayette County Junior Fair is top-notch.
“I’ve been here before so I know what to expect,” he said. “Also, these young people do a great job. They’re courteous and they take constructive criticism very well.”
Day said that the grand and reserve champions were both excellent specimens. “This is such a subjective process and it really could’ve gone either way,” he said. “There’s just a balance of traits that I’m looking for, which includes a good-looking, sound, muscular animal.”
Other division winners were:
Purebred: Grand champion Emily Reeves and Reserve champion Libby Johnson;
Dark Cross Barrows: Grand champion Carley Payton and Reserve champion Kaden Bryant;
Light Cross Barrows: Grand champion Kaden Bryant and Reserve champion Zander Ivey;
Dark Cross Gilts: Grand champion Graham Carson and Reserve champion Meri Grace Carson; and
Light Cross Gilts: Grand champion Konner May and Reserve champion Drake Sharp.
The class winners were: Weston Pettit, Tannon Huff, Hannah Cummings, Emily Reeves, Ella McCarty, Kaden Bryant, Konner May, Adam McCoy, Carley Payton, Kylan Knapp, Tori Evans, Alexis Hagler, Tanner Eggleton, Sidney Payton, Hillary McCoy, Zander Ivey, Kaden Bryant, Heath Cockerill, Kaelin Pfeifer, Hanna Reisinger, Kasi Payton, Lindsey Worley, Cole Karnes, Cameron Casto, Graham Carson, Drake Sharp, Konner May and Heath Cockerill.