Stock show's top porker brings home the bacon

02/09/2013 11:33 PM

03/14/2013 2:56 PM

FORT WORTH -- Pork was popular at this year's Sale of Champions.

Grand Champion Second Stringer, a Hampshire barrow owned by 17-year-old Dakota Crissman, sold for $55,000 to Shale Exploration at the Fort Worth Stock Show's annual junior sale.

Last year's grand champion barrow was purchased for $20,000 by the Happy Davis Foundation.

Kyle Batenhorst of Dalhart sold his hog for $25,000 to Rosenthal Trust.

Though the prices were better this year, it's far from the record of $110,000, set in 2011.

Crissman, a senior at Bells High School, said he was very pleased with the price, which will help pay for tuition at Blinn College.

He said his ultimate goal is to get a degree in agricultural engineering.

Crissman is no stranger to the business. He first started showing animals at age 3. Last year, Crissman's crossbreds won reserve breed champion at the Fort Worth show. In 2004, his Hampshire barrow won breed champion.

Sam Tallis, president of Shale Exploration, said buying Crissman's barrow is a way of giving back to the community, something the company does on a regular basis.

"In the last year we've given $1.3 million to charities," Tallis said. "We feel like it's our duty, plus we enjoy it. ... We're trying to give as much as we can."

Lambs

Ross Hargrove has been showing lambs since the third grade, but he's never eaten the "other" red meat.

"No, all I do is raise them and show them," said Ross, a senior at Stephenville High School.

It's something he clearly excels at, as his grand champion lamb brought a price of $35,000 at the Sale of Champions. That's almost $219 a pound for the 160-pound lamb, which was bought by Ladies on the Lamb.

Last year, he finished first at the State Fair in Dallas while his sister, Jadie Hargrove, finished second.

She's ready to pick up where he is leaving off.

"Most definitely," said Jadie, 14.

Rusty Lanier, 18, a senior at Seminole High School, received $30,000 for his reserve grand champion lamb, which was bought by Hillwood Development.

Lanier said he has learned through the years not to get too close to the animals he shows, but sometimes it's difficult.

"I'm close to her," he said, referring to Ghost. "I spend two hours a day with her."

Rebecca Pearce, founder of Ladies on the Lamb, said when she started the group in 2000, she paid $4,000 for a grand champion lamb.

"This year it was a record-breaking year for us," Pearce said. "We normally pay $20,000 to $25,000."

Pearce said the best part is hearing from college students whose tuition was paid with the organization's help.

"Every year we have kids who come up to us and say, 'You bought my lamb. ... I'm graduating this year,'" she said. "That's the rewarding part."

Wether goats

The grand champion wether goat, shown by Grant Read of Santo, was purchased by Shale Exploration for $55,000 -- $25,000 more than the top goat went for last year.

"He is structurally sound and square on all fours," said Read, 15, using some goat-speak to explain what the judges liked about his animal named 15 - a handle inspired by his ear tag.

Read, whose parents, Jackie and Delisa Read, own Reads Jewelers, has sold a goat for a higher price, but he has never made more money.

His grand champion wether goat at the 2012 Houston Stock Show sold for $158,000, but under that show's rules, he received $30,000.

The reserve grand champion goat, shown by Marley Smart of Gatesville, was purchased for $44,000 by Larry White Investments.

Staff writer Lee Williams and correspondent Punch Shaw contributed to this report.

Susan McFarland, 817-390-7547

Twitter: @susanmcfarland1

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