Area youth compete in annual livestock show

Lawton_The annual Comanche County Junior Spring Livestock Show this week at the Great Plains Coliseum in Lawton focuses on a specific animal each day.  On Tuesday, different farms from all over Comanche County flooded the fairgrounds to show off their pigs with the hope of getting the chance to go to the 'bonus sale' to have their pigs auctioned off.  But, to these folks, raising livestock isn't all about winning.

More goes into raising pigs than one may think, and teens prepare for these competitions for months.  It takes a lot of hard work and dedication.  Madison Brewer has been showing her hogs since she was nine years old, and all of her hard work paid off this year.  "Feeding, brushing, walking, and just taking care of them in general," she said.  "I got first in breed with my Burk, I got first in breed with my Duroc, and I got fourth with him."

Teens who flock to these events take a lot of time out of their already busy lives to raise the pigs.  Larry New, Chairman of Saddle and Sirloin, sponsors the events.  New says it teaches the kids valuable life lessons.  "They'll buy them, sometimes six months ahead of time to a year, and they take care of them every day, twice a day," he said.  "They exercise them, they groom them and - a lot of times - these students have never had responsibility like that."

It was Berchie Chittum's first time participating in the competition, and he says more goes into raising pigs than just feeding them.  "Love, care, a whole lot of hard work - team work really," he said.  "They are, like, living creatures, too, more than anything."  Once the pigs reach a certain weight, they can no longer compete and will leave their owners' possession.  "They get sold, and they go to a butcher, and they get butchered and slaughtered, and we get some of the meat."

Participants' prize money will be determined by how many donations they get from individuals and businesses.  Last year, the competition was able to award more than $164,000 dollars to youth who participated in the event.  The livestock show will continue throughout the week.  Wednesday will feature the showing of lambs and goats.  Thursday is the beef competition, and Friday is the ‘bonus sale.'