Junior Fair Swine Show a learning experience for all

Ten-year-old Kyla Williams of Coolville placed first in pro showmanship and won the grand prize in the championship final drive.

ATHENS COUNTY, Ohio — A large crowd gathered for the Junior Fair Swine Show at the 168th Athens County Fair, with 10-year-old Kyla Williams of Coolville placing first in both pro showmanship and the championship final drive.

Competing made Kyla “happy, nervous, scared, excited — everything,” she said. Winning felt “amazing … especially showing against everyone younger or older than me.”

She competed in the pro showmanship category alongside the other showmanship division winners, after placing first in junior showmanship, according to the swine show results. Kyla also won first place in class four of the market show.


Kyla Williams, 10, Coolville.

Kyla’s dad, Ethan Williams, said it felt “great” to see Kyla win: “We’ve raised the champion from our farm before but never won.”

Kyla has been participating in the fair since she was 2, and was in her first show when she was 4, she said. She is a member of the National Junior Swine Association and has shown all over the country, her dad said.

She intends to continue participating in the fair “as long as I can — I love it.” She enjoys spending time with her hogs. This year, it didn’t take long for her and the animals “to get used to each other,” with the amount of work involved in caring for them, she said.

Lisa Dickens, a family friend of the Williams’ who lives between Nelsonville and The Plains, said she was proud to see Kyla win.

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“She works really hard,” Dickens said. “She’s a dedicated young lady.”

Raegan West, 14 of Albany, placed first in class three and class four of the market show. She also placed third in senior showmanship and the championship final drive.

“It feels good. I’ve never been this high in the overall market class,” West said. 

West said this year’s fair was her sixth participating in the swine show. “I just love it—working them every day, rinsing them, bathing,” West said. 

A young person in a red and white shirt and jeans holds three ribbons at the fairgrounds.
Raegan West, 14 of Albany.

Teresa Tedrow of The Plains advises West’s 12-member 4-H club, the Barnyard Bunch. Tedrow has worked with West since West started 4-H eight years ago. Four of Tedrow’s advisees showed swine at this year’s fair, and Tedrow is proud of each one.

“I enjoy watching these kids grow,” Tedrow said. “They grow each year, and they learn from their mistakes from the year before.”

West is already thinking about what to do differently next year. 

“I wish I could have done a little bit better in showmanship, but I’ll come back better next year,” West said. “I need to stay back farther on the pig, because I walk faster than the pig, and I get a little high on the head. I need to stay back by their butt.”

Tedrow enjoys watching her 4-H members work as a team.

“They pitch in and help one another, learning to work with each other,” Tedrow said. “And even if it’s not a club member, they’re willing to help.”

The swine show participants weren’t the only ones at the show learning.

Andrea Hire of Millfield attended the show to watch her boyfriend’s two grandchildren participate. “I never did pigs growing up, so I don’t know a lot about how you’re supposed to do things with them. I’m learning some stuff today,” Hire said.

Athens attorney Scott Petroff attended to watch his children participate. He grew up in the suburbs and began raising farm animals as he and his family “were trying to be back-to-the-land homesteaders.”

This experience raising animals didn’t prepare him for all that would be involved for his children to participate in the fair, he said.

“It’s cool to see their development,” he said. “We’re learning together with them a lot.”

Petroff was surprised by the pageantry side, and now refers to late summer as “sparkle-butt jean season.” But the swine have to look good, too.

“They got these spray bottles that they’re spraying [the pigs] with so that they shine,” Petroff explained. “During the summertime, you take them out of their pens, and you put sunscreen on the white spots, and you put baby oil on the black spots, and then you walk them out in the sun so that the black spots pop and the white is still preserved. There’s all these little things. The showmanship side of it, the pageantry is really interesting.”

Scarlet Petroff placed second in the market show, class six.

Full results from the 168th Athens County Fair are available at athensindependent.com, with updates posted as they become available.

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