MONTROSE — Nine-year-old Avery Kimble is making sure her pigs Jackie and Belle will be ready for the Junior Swine Show next week, at the 128th Montrose County Fair.
Kimble, a fourth grader at Johnson Elementary School, is participating in her first year of Montrose County 4-H, and her first time in the swine show, which begins Tuesday, July 22, at 5 p.m.
Kimble has participated in the fair’s Merry Little Lamb Show for the past four years. Moving up from lambs to pigs has brought a great deal more responsibility, and her parents, Christy and Luke, are proud of her work.
“They have a lot of expression and personality,” Avery says of Jackie and Belle. “I love on them a lot. I take them on walks and give them baths,” and spends a lot of time with feeding and brushing her pigs as well as cleaning their pens.
Avery’s piglets arrived in Montrose from Oklahoma, from her dad’s friend, “Uncle Willy,” back in April. Now, Jackie has grown to about 270 pounds; Belle weighs in around 230 pounds.
With the July heat comes much-needed air conditioning and shade for the swine, and this week, at the Kimble ranch, Avery was making final preparations for the livestock judging. She wants to become a veterinarian when she grows up, and says she enjoys having cows, horses, lambs, chickens, turkeys and now pigs at her parent’s place.
Luke Kimble Luke grew up in Oklahoma showing pigs in 4-H, and this last year has worked closely with Avery, working with her not just on caring for the animals, she says, but also preparing her for the show, where she will need to use good technique to impress the judges.
“He’s been teaching me how to direct them, hold the stick and how to keep their heads up, and showmanship,” she says, adding that it’s “been a lot of fun.”
Avery has friends who will be participating in the swine show, some of them also for the first time.
For the 4-H program, Kimble keeps a journal about her care and feeding of the two pigs, as well as accounting for every penny spent. “We like [4-H]because it teaches her so much about respect and responsibility for the animals,” says her mom, Christy. “It’s good for our children to participate in something like 4-H.
Tuesday, July 22 is “Bacon Day” at the fair; the swine show begins at 5 p.m. A bacon eating contest is scheduled for the show’s intermission.