The Bryson dynasty continues to dominate the Washington Town & Country Fair market hog show.
Evie Bryson, 15, took home the grand champion prize for her 281-pound market hog Thursday morning.
“I wouldn’t have been able to do it without my family and friends,” Bryson said.
Bryson has been here before. She won the competition in 2020 and won the reserve champion spot in 2021, the same year her sister, Grace Bryson, another two-time champion, won grand champion. She also won the showmanship award in the intermediate division.
“It’s always super exciting every time,” Bryson said. “It never gets old.”
This is her sixth year showing hogs at Washington’s Fair, but she said since that first year showing, she and her family has branched out to do other fairs like the Missouri State Fair in Sedalia and the National Western Stock Show in Denver. While she’s seen some tough competition there, she’s careful not to underestimate the Washington crowd.
“You always gotta keep your eye out,” she said. “Because there’s good competition here. It’s very humbling to see all the exhibitors out here and see how hard they work.”
Bryson said her family raised 10 hogs this year and chose the best one to show at the Fair.
The reserve champion this year was a newcomer. This was Abbey Yoder’s, 12, first time showing hogs at the Fair.
“When I was younger, I used to be terrified of pigs,” Yoder said. “But my brother really wanted to do pigs, and so he convinced me and so we started doing pigs.”
Yoder finished as the reserve champion Wednesday with a hog she has affectionately named Squeaker. She said the road to get there was a challenge.
“When we first started out, it was definitely hard,” Yoder said. “They weren’t that good when we started out. They took a lot of work, a lot of exercise.”
Given it was her first time, Yoder didn’t expect to make it this far, but she was thrilled with her result.
“Very surprising result,” she said.
The competition was judged by Clint Bailey, a student at the University of Missouri-Columbia and a member of the Mizzou Livestock Judging Team.
“I really feel privileged to come out and judge such a high quality show,” Bailey said. “There’s so many individuals out here that are good. And you can tell they help one another. There were some kids who had some hogs fighting, and they were doing good. And some hogs wouldn’t move, and they helped each other out. And really good presentation. There’s been some kids who really know how to show.”
He said he was really impressed with the volunteer support the event got and the amount of kids involved.
That’s something that Tanner Adkins, a livestock specialist with the University of Missouri Extension, said he always notices about the Fair. Adkins goes to fairs across the area helping with the livestock shows, and he runs the area’s 4-H clubs as well.
“Not to take away from our other fairs, but Washington has grown so big. It’s great,” Adkins said. “Washington is our largest area fair by far.”
Adkins said most county and local fairs have 30-40 hogs, but Washington’s had over 200 Thursday.
He said he loves to see the community support behind the livestock shows here.
“I love the crowd. Washington probably has one of the best crowds for livestock shows,” he said. “Washington is great because you see so much volunteer help, and it’s great to see that involvement.”
This year’s show featured 20 classes, each with a class winner. From those class winners, a grand champion and a reserve champion were selected. A showmanship competition with three divisions was also held. There was also an open market competition with a grand champion and a reserve champion for the youngest kids.
• Class 1 Winner: Gracie Rettke with Krakow Go Getters 4-H
• Class 2 Winner: Colton Koch with New Haven 4H
• Class 3 Winner: Rubee Vonder Haar with Jeffriesburg 4-H
• Class 4 Winner: Abigail Seitter with New Haven 4-H
• Class 5 Winner: Justin Gerling with New Haven 4-H
• Class 6 Winner: Hadley Baynes with New Haven 4-H
• Class 7 Winner and Grand Champion: Evie Bryson with Washington FFA
• Class 8 Winner: Blake Jasper with Go Hog Wild 4-H
• Class 9 Winner: Matthew Yoder with Go Hog Wild 4-H
• Class 10 Winner: Alexandra Fortner with New Haven 4-H
• Class 11 Winner and Reserve Champion: Abbie Yoder with Go Hog Wild 4-H
• Class 12 Winner: Mya Rode with New Haven 4-H
• Class 13 Winner: Paetyn See with New Haven 4-H
• Class 14 Winner: Cole Rettke with Krakow Go Getters 4-H
• Class 15 Winner: Julia Borcherding with New Haven 4-H
• Class 16 Winner: Corbin Sadler with New Haven 4-H
• Class 17 Winner: Nicholas Borcherding with New Haven 4-H
• Class 18 Winner: Sam Kleekamp with Country Kids 4-H
• Class 19 Winner: Noelle Brueggenjohann with Krakow Go Getters 4-H
• Class 20 Winner: Camden Dewdert with Washington Eager Beavers 4-H
• Junior Showmanship Winner: Matthew Yoder
• Intermediate Showmanship Winner: Evie Bryson
• Senior Showmanship Winner: Blake Dewert
• Open Market Grand Champion: Georgia and Andie Spaunhorst
• Open Market Reserve Champion: Madelyn and Easton Carey
For more photos and portraits of all the class winners, grand champion and reserve champion, check out this online photo gallery from Missourian photographers.