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Proud pigs on parade: Local students compete at Tennessee State Junior Swine Show

Contributed Photo • From left, 4-H Youth Development and Extension Agent I Melissa Shelton, exhibitor Matthew Laws, exhibitor Julie Phillips, exhibitor Callie Carty, exhibitor Tate Kerns, exhibitor Jake Ozburn and exhibitor Kirby Carty are shown at this year’s Tennessee State Junior Swine Show.

By Richard Rourk

Unicoi County youth participating in a recent agricultural competition proudly trotted out some prize porkers during the event in Murfreesboro.

Unicoi County 4-H Extension Agent Melissa Shelton believes that agriculture is the glue that unites agriculturally-minded Tennesseans. She added that programs like FFA, 4-H and UT Extension continue to mold the future leaders of agrarian Tennessee.

Shelton expressed her pride in the achievements of the Unicoi County 4-H members who competed in the Tennessee State Junior Swine Show. Jan. 11-15 in Murfreesboro. 

“In the last couple of years livestock showing interest has increased and really took off in our county,” Shelton said. “This is the second year we’ve had a swine show team to compete at the state level.”

Competitors, categories and rankings at this year’s Tennessee State Junior Swine Show were:

• Callie Carty competed in Reserve Yorkshire Barrow, second place; Junior Sales Talk, fifth place; Junior Skillathon, fourth place; and Premier Junior Market Hog Exhibitor, fifth place. Callie also competed in the Premier Junior Breeding Gilt Exhibitor

• Tate Kerns competed in Class Winning Duroc Barrow and High Individual Senior Level II Sales Talk.

• Matthew Laws competed in Class Winning Cross Barrow and took fourth in the Senior Level II Sales Talk.

Shelton said that she sees bright futures ahead for these competitors. 

“Events like these are important to our county for many reasons, but one thing about any type of livestock show is the work and responsibility that goes into it,” Shelton said. 

“Months before the show these animals have to be prepped and worked with to be show-ready,” she explained. “Showing animals comes with great responsibility, yet great reward. The students that show have to invest lots of time and work into their animal.”

Shelton said the Unicoi County 4-H agents are hard at work providing more opportunities for the youth of Unicoi County. 

Contributed Photo •  Exhibitor Matthew Laws walks his pig during the Tennessee State Junior Swine Show held in Murfreesboro.