Grand Champion hog keeps family together for livestock show
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YORKTOWN - Maddie Bryand saw her show hog grow from 25 to about 250 pounds.
While preparing for the Yorktown Livestock Show, the 15-year-old freshman said she was flipped over by "Sophie." In time, she learned how to handle an animal almost three times her weight.
"She's like a dog because she's constantly on her back legs," Maddie said. The FFA student admitted the Grand Champion Cross hog liked to play.
Maddie was thrilled to win the Grand Champion and Showmanship awards in her first hometown show on Saturday. There were 18 sheep, 16 hogs, and 4 steers entered in the 73rd annual show, which also included a cook-off and shop project contest.
Some contestants put their animals up for auction. Joe Adams, who handled the bidding, talked a mile a minute while keeping the audience entertained.
Brad Metting, the FFA advisor, said preparing for the show teaches the children responsibility.
"They learn all the skills necessary to take care of animals," he said. Metting, who is also the high school agriculture teacher, said students also have a chance to make money, if they decide to sell.
Grant Allman earned the Triple Crown at the livestock show. His sheep "Vernon" and "Doc" earned first- and second-place respectively. Grant also earned the Showmanship award. The two sheep are inseparable, but they had to warm up to 16-year-old sophomore.
"After a while, they get used to you," Grant said.
Morgan Herwing's steer didn't place this year but she's hopeful for next year. The 17-year-old junior loves participating in livestock shows.
"I'm sad next year is going to be my last," she said.
Paul Bryand, Maddie's father, said he's proud the show has taught his daughter responsibility. But taking care of Sophie has meant so much more to the father of two.
With a big smile on his face he said, "I get to spend time with my daughter."
The Bryand family washes Sophie quite often, and the time invested is worthwhile during the show.
"People will ask me how you get her coat so shiny," Paul Bryand said. The six-month project, he said, requires a lot of work from start to finish.
Other family members want to get in on the fun, too. Maddie's 3-year-old brother, Ben Bryand, tags along when he can. The inquisitive toddler carries a water pail that almost matches his own weight.
"They're my pigs," Ben told his sister.
Maddie laughs and enjoys the fact that Ben tries to help. After running in track practice, Maddie returns to her animals. "I have to see my pigs," she said.