Swine showman exhibits excellence in the ring

Lizabeth Marker of Bayard looks at the judge as she shows her pig during the swine showmanship Tuesday. Marker graduated from Bayard High School and said it hasn't set in this is her final county fair.

MITCHELL — Swine showmanship was the focal point at Tuesday’s Scotts Bluff County Fair as showmen took the ring with their pigs in hopes of impressing the judge.

For senior showman Lizabeth Marker, 18, Tuesday’s showmanship would be her final swine showmanship at the county fair.

“This is my last year,” Marker said. “I’ve been showing for about 10 years since I was 8 years old.”

Ahead of the county fair, Marker competed with her pig at progress shows, which she said is important for preparation.

“Getting them out is a huge part of preparing,” she said. “It’s really hard to just come to fair without practicing.”

Marker, who graduated from Bayard High School in the spring, said showmanship is important because it teaches the showman how to show the animal.

As part of her preparation, Marker worked with her pig every day.

“I pretty much live in the barn,” she said. “I walk the pigs everyday for about five minutes each to build up their stamina and get them used to being in the ring for 10 to 15 minutes at a time.”

During Tuesday’s showmanship, Marker competed among a group of strong showmen and came out on top. She won grand champion senior swine showman.

“I’ve never won before,” Marker said.

While driving her pig around the arena toward the judge, Marker said seeing the judge approach her was a great feeling.

“That’s my favorite when the judge walks over to you and shakes your hand,” she said. “It’s the best feeling ever.”

With one grand championship ribbon to her name, Marker is focusing on showing her calf. Still, she said the reality of her time competing at the Scotts Bluff County Fair coming to an end has not set in.

“It’s kind of surreal,” Marker said. “I have a calf so I’m not quite done yet and I’m going to be going to state fair and a few other bigger shows. But, this is my last county fair. I’m not feeling it now, but I’m sure by Saturday, it will be a little bittersweet.”

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Lauren Brant is a reporter with the Star-Herald and the Gering Courier. Contact her at 308-632-9043 or by email at lauren.brant@starherald.com.

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