Fort Worth Stock Show

January 28, 2013

Stock Show exhibitors in hog heaven

The Cisco FFA has 19 swine competitors at the Fort Worth show.

FORT WORTH -- Cisco is a close-knit community of 4,000 people about two hours west of Fort Worth off Interstate 20, a town of families and farms -- and apparently a fair number of pigs.

The Future Farmers of America contingent from Cisco numbered 19 competitors in Fort Worth Stock Show swine exhibition Sunday and Monday, one of the larger groups to show.

The extended family of competitors look out for each other and are comfortable together, they say, even in an uncomfortably warm and humid swine barn Monday morning.

Casey Holton, 4, sat in buddy Spencer Sutton's lap Monday morning, immersed in playing a game on Sutton's phone.

Spencer, 17, is a student of Casey's mom, Ginger Holton, an agriculture teacher at Cisco High School.

Spencer's exhibition pig, a white Yorkshire gilt, napped in a nearby pen. She was shown in a large class of 26 Yorkshire entries Sunday.

"Pigs are funny," said Casey. "They run, and they stick their tongues out."

It's not all fun and games, though: A pair of spotted Polands nearby decided to mix it up in an adjoining pen, squealing and charging each other, and Spencer had to jump into the pen and subdue them with another youth.

Lumbering, usually docile pigs can't really stage a prolonged fight, can they?

"Yes," Spencer told an observer, "They will draw blood."

One combatant took awhile to simmer down, kicking the food dish and upending the water container with its snout, accompanying the mayhem with loud grunts.

Competitors spray their pigs with squirt bottles of water to make them cool and shiny before they are shown. A few playful competitors sprayed nearby people, too.

One of Monday's exhibitors was Casey's 8-year-old brother, Carter Holton.

Carter is a veteran exhibitor despite his years, having shown his first pig at age 2.

"I like everything about showing pigs," Carter said, flashing an impressive belt buckle reading "Junior Showman, Eastland County Livestock Show."

He won it just a couple of weeks ago, and victory was his again Sunday when his Yorkshire pig took third place in a large class. On Monday he was preparing to show a spotted Poland, a black and white breed.

Carter also shows commercial heifers, said his dad, Paul Holton, a ranch foreman who also runs some of his own cattle.

Paul Holton grew up in Fort Worth and graduated from Arlington Heights High School, but then he went west to attend college and adopted a country lifestyle. His wife, Ginger, became an agriculture teacher, a natural move since her father and two sisters are also ag teachers.

Becky Holton, Paul's mother, still lives in Fort Worth but is proud of her son and his family and their agricultural tradition.

"I learn new stuff every day from them," she said.

Shirley Jinkins, 817-390-7657

Twitter: @startelegram

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