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Not Hogging the limelight

Jan. 29, 2011 at 9:05 p.m.
Updated Jan. 28, 2011 at 7:29 p.m.

Reserve Champion Chelsea Pargmann and Grand Champion Taylor Voelkel stand next to their award-winning hogs. The cousins came in first and second place in the Nordheim Stock Show.

After coming in second last year, 15-year-old Chelsea Pargmann was determined to win the top prize at the Nordheim Stock Show this year.

So she was a little disappointed to find another pink Reserve Champion banner on the pen next to her hog, Honey.

Chelsea loves the Nordheim Stock Show. She woke up giddy and excited Saturday morning because stock show day had arrived at last.

"It's the feeling of stock show. When you wake up and you know it's stock show day, there's nothing like it. It's the best day of the year," Chelsea said.

This year, she worked with her hog, Honey, for months to get him ready for the competition. He sold for $2,200 at auction.

But she didn't let coming in second get her down, since she knew the first-place winner deserved it.

Chelsea glanced proudly over at her 10-year-old cousin, Taylor Voelkel's purple Grand Champion banner hanging at the back of the hog pen next to her own.

"She got it last year so I thought I might get it this year, but it just didn't happen that way," Chelsea said.

Chelsea got interested in the stock show when her big sisters started competing. Competing in the stock show is always a learning experience. Taylor saw Chelsea competing and decided it was something she wanted to do.

Taylor and Chelsea worked their animals together, and Chelsea taught Taylor how to exercise her hog, how to work with it to make it easier to handle during the judging, Taylor said.

"She taught me a lot," Taylor said, eyes lighting up as she looked over at her cousin.

Last year, during Taylor's first stock show, Chelsea helped her cousin learn a difficult first lesson - how to say goodbye.

Taylor tried not to show it, Chelsea remembers, but she had a hard time saying goodbye to her first hog.

"She came up to me and started crying and I just gave her a big hug," Chelsea said. "I tried to help her get through that."

Now, the cousins are getting ready for next year's competition.

Whether they win or lose though, they've got each other.

"I'm really proud of her. She's like my little sister so it's great to see her win, it's a family thing," Chelsea said.

When Taylor walked her hog out to be auctioned off as Grand Champion, no one clapped louder than Chelsea.



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