Darby Schmidt of Defiance has shown only two market hogs at the Washington Fair and both times she’s been a winner.

“I can’t believe it!” exclaimed Darby after her entry was named grand champion of the Washington Fair market hog show Thursday.

She also won the grand champion award last year which was her first year to enter a hog in the market class judging. The back-to-back wins may be a first for the show.

“I’m so excited. It’s amazing. I didn’t think I’d win,” she said following the championship run in which the grand champion is chosen from the first-place winners in each weight class.

Last year, her sister, Delaney, won the reserve champion award, making it a sister act.

Darby has exhibited animals in the swine breeding competition in past years and she said she participated in the open market class when she was younger, but last year was her first for showing an animal in the market competition.

“I’ve been coming to the Fair as long as I can remember,” she remarked.

A member of the Daniel Boone 4-H Club, Darby, 15, will begin her sophomore year at Francis Howell High School.

What’s her secret to winning the top award two years in a row?

“You have to start with a good pig,” she explained. “But then you have to work with and take care of them.” She said she started tending to and training her hog in April, feeding and walking it all summer in preparation for the market show.

Darby’s hog will be the first to go up for sale at Saturday’s blue ribbon livestock auction.

A total of 152 hogs in 10 weight classes were judged Thursday and all received blue ribbons which will make for another large field of sale hogs at Saturday’s auction.

Darby’s 270-pound entry took first place in weight Class 6.

Reserve Champion

Daniel Mallinckrodt, Augusta, a member of the Boone Valley 4-H Club, exhibited a 278-pound hog that was judged the reserve champion of the show. His animal will be the second hog to go on the auction block Saturday.

Kane Causemaker, 33, of Atkinson, Ill., was the judge of Thursday’s show. It was his first time judging at the Washington Fair.

“This was a great show,” Causemaker said following the judging. “It’s as youth-driven as any show I’ve ever seen.

“The kids were very enthusiastic and all handled their animals well. It was just a great show from beginning to end,” Causemaker told The Missourian.

Causemaker said his family has a small operation in west central Illinois where they raise show pigs for sale. He works for Cargill Meat Solutions as a hog supply manager.

He was on the livestock judging team at Oklahoma State University and now judges about 20 shows a year.

Causemaker was impressed with the Washington Fair and the livestock committee. “I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the experience,” he remarked.

Showmanship Awards

Winners of market hog showmanship awards were Madison Brinker in the junior division, Calvin Bidner in the intermediate division and Justin Rehmeier in the senior division.

Last year, 153 hogs were judged in the competition and all received blue ribbons.

In 2010, 141 hogs were shown and all received blue ribbons. In 2009, 154 hogs were judged, but only 97 received blue ribbons. That’s the fewest number of blue ribbons handed out since 2003 when 94 were awarded to exhibitors.

In 2008, 170 hogs were judged and all received blue ribbons.

A total of 172 hogs, the Fair record, were shown in 2007, compared to 153 hogs in 2006. Before that, the previous record was 147 hogs in 1999.

In 2005, 125 market hogs were awarded blue ribbons, compared to 124 in 2004, 94 in 2003, 137 in 2002, 130 in 2001 and 132 in 2000.

2011 Auction

Last year there were 153 market hogs sold at auction bringing in $150,676.01 for young exhibitors.

That’s the highest amount earned for the hog auction in the last four years.

That topped the 2010 auction when $105,437 was paid for 141 blue ribbon hogs.

In 2009, 97 blue ribbon market hogs sold for $106,107.75.

In 2008, 169 hogs made it to the auction block, and sold for a total of $145,509.25.

In 2007, 171 hogs, the most ever, were auctioned for a total of $201,329.25 which was the third highest gross for the auction.

In 2006, 152 hogs sold for $217,696 which remains the record. In 2005, the hog auction netted $202,427.25 for young exhibitors.

In 2004, 124 blue ribbon hogs sold for $163,573, compared to 2003 when 94 hogs were auctioned for $128,532.

The 2001 auction grossed $120,090.35 for 130 blue ribbon hogs sold. The auction grossed $114,893.75 for 137 blue ribbon hogs in 2002.

Prior to 2001, the record gross had been $110,267.10 set in 1999 when 147 hogs were sold.