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Published: Thursday, 8/15/2002

Fair bidders go hog wild for area girl

BY BLADE STAFF

COLUMBUS - Eleven-year-old Taylor Creager sold a hog in last night's Ohio State Fair Sale of Champions here for $20,000 - more than 212 times as much as the $94 that her father, Todd, sold similar hogs for in the morning from their Fulton County farm.

The difference was she was selling publicity as well as pork chops to Meijer.

Taylor's hog was judged the best of more than 1,000 hogs entered in the state fair's youth market show Sunday, and grocery chains and other businesses vied for the honor of owning it in an auction where Gov. Bob Taft helped take bids.

Fulton County hogged both swine spots in the coveted sale which features only eight animals - the top two hogs, steers, sheep, and pens of chickens.

A.J. Genter, 19, who lives southwest of Archbold, Ohio, sold his reserve champion hog for $11,000 to Nelson Auto Group of Marysville, Ohio, and Swan Cleaners of Columbus.

This was Taylor's second year to win the grand champion trophy and she has exhibited hogs at the state fair only three years. In 2000, she sold her grand champion hog for $24,000.

Mr. Genter won the reserve champion award in 1998 and sold his hog for a record $13,500.

He repeated the honor in 2001 and sold that animal for $12,500.

Neither Taylor nor Mr. Genter has pocketed that much money.

The fair adopted caps in 1995 that give the owner of the grand champion hog $8,000 and the owner of the reserve champion $5,000 and use the rest of the sale price to fund awards for other contests.

Taylor, who will be a sixth-grader at Wauseon's Burr Road Middle School and shows hogs through the Clinton Doodle Bugs 4-H Club, said she will split her $8,000 with her brother and sister, who were too young to participate in this year's youth show. She will save her share for college.

Mr. Genter, who is about to start his sophomore year as a business major at Northwest State Community College, said he will save his $5,000 for a house. In previous years, he used his winnings to buy pigs, sometimes making big bets on expensive young animals.

He paid $1,850 for the crossbred pig he calls C-2 that gave him this year's reserve champion trophy. When he bought the 80-pound pig from Mr. Creager in the spring, farmers typically were paying $65 for such animals. The only way Mr. Genter could break even after paying so much was to place first or second at the state fair.

But Mr. Genter said showing pigs is his hobby.

“Some people buy boats and go to the lake and spend all their money on that, but I buy pigs and that's all I do all summer,” said Mr. Genter, who shows pigs through the Pettisville FFA.

He hopes to build up a business selling young show pigs to 4-H and FFA members, much like Mr. Creager has done.

Last year, Mr. Creager sold a breeding male hog for $220,000 - the biggest price ever for a hog.

Mr. Genter has had much luck this year, selling pigs that became champions at the Monroe and Henry county fairs.

Taylor's purebred Hampshire pig was born on her family's farm, but it came from a different lineage of breeding stock from the animal her father sold to Mr. Genter. She said she named the pig Everett after her favorite feed salesman, Everett Ricker, and she nearly cried as she explained that Mr. Ricker is ill.

The questions that fairgoers have asked her this week about her hog have often made her laugh, however.

“Why does it have holes in its ears?'' some wondered before hearing her explanation of how farmers notch hogs' ears as an identification system.

“What's the stick for?” others asked about the plastic pipe she uses to guide Everett around the show ring.

But her favorite question - which adults and children alike asked of her 275-pound pig - was, “When is it going to have its babies?”

Everett, like all the others in the market hog competition, is a castrated male.



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