Wheeler shows top hog


After knocking on the door for years, Brodie Wheeler finally broke through at the 2022 Delaware County Junior Fair.

Wheeler, who is a freshman at Big Walnut High School and a member of the Kountry Kids 4-H club, took home the top honor of Overall Grand Champion Market Hog for his 279-pound gilt.

Prior to this year, Wheeler had shown a reserve champion barrow and showed the champion gilt last year. But the overall grand champion had eluded him until now.

“This year’s experience felt pretty nice. I was happy because we have been the reserve overall champion three times, I believe. So this year, to finally win the champion overall felt really nice,” Wheeler told The Gazette.

Wheeler said there is considerable work that goes into raising a grand champion hog, and that work begins as soon as he gets the hog eight months prior to the show.

“It takes a lot of dedication,” he said. “We spend a lot of time out in our pig barn, and we train our pigs very hard to where they are broke for the show ring. It does not matter what show ring it is, they will be broke for any of them so they are very likable to anyone and are just, overall, nice hogs.”

Asked what he believes is important to the judge in choosing a champion hog, Wheeler pointed to, among other things, the hog’s body structure, bone size, and ability to walk correctly or squarely when looking at them from behind. Wheeler believes his gilt stood out to the judges because of her neck, as well as her bone and body size compared to her weight class.

Wheeler added that he has his own responsibilities in the show ring in order to best showcase the hog, including keeping the hog’s head up and staying on the right side of the hog so that the judge always has a clear view of the hog.

Wheeler wasn’t the only one in the family who had success at the fair. His sister, Emma, showed the reserve champion barrow, and she also edged out her brother to take home the top honors in showmanship for the event. While there is an element of sibling rivalry involved, the two are ultimately happy to see each other succeed.

“We always get a kick out of that when one beats the other, but she was happy for me to win the champion hog because then it kind of evened out our balance some,” he said, adding, “The work and dedication that my sister and I put in are always going to have paid off every time we walk away with a champion or the first place in class.”

Wheeler went on to say, “This year has been a really good year for us, and to end it out like that, that just makes things all the better. The work we put in, it always helps to walk away with something that means a lot to us.”

Brodie Wheeler (middle left) poses with his grand champion gilt alongside his sister, Emma (middle right).
https://www.delgazette.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/40/2022/09/web1_Hog-winner.jpegBrodie Wheeler (middle left) poses with his grand champion gilt alongside his sister, Emma (middle right). Courtesy photo

By Dillon Davis

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Reach Dillon Davis at 740-413-0904. Follow him on Twitter @DillonDavis56.

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