Ryan Darg and Erik Goll direct their gilts around the ring.

BRITT – While some exhibitors begin with showing livestock at a very young age, others ease into the showing aspect, even when they have other siblings involved. That was the case for 15-year-old Ryan Darg, who’s older sister, Mykenzie, was also showing a hog at the 2019 Hancock County District Fair swine show.

Both Darg siblings, who are members of the Garner-Hayfield-Ventura FFA Chapter, exhibited Duroc pigs, a reddish-brown variety of hogs, which garnered attention each time they were exhibited from both judge and spectators.

“I like pigs because they are fat and lazy,” said Darg, who named his Daroc show pig, Wilber.

While the Hancock County District Fair was not Darg’s first swine show to attend, it was his first time to show at this fair. After the experience, Darg said he decided he’d very much like to do it again.

“I kind of went into the barn and looked around,” Darg said. “When I saw him, I really liked him. I’ve never shown animals before, but it was something I wanted to try.”

Wilber was between three and four months old when Darg first began working with him.

Darg said he soon learned working with Wilber had to be undertaken on a daily basis. He said he also learned there were a lot of factors in and around a show arena that could also affect a hog’s performance.

Despite starting at 8 a.m., the temperature reached the mid-80s midway through the show. It was evident both exhibitors and animals were feeling the rise in heat and humidity.

“When they start to get hot they don’t want to cooperate. I really learned patience,” Darg said. “Breaking him was a real struggle with lots of hours in the barn.”

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