Jaden Brotherton is building his herd and hitting the show pig circuit

“It was the best thing that has happened to me since I started showing pigs,” smiled Jaden Brotherton, 13-year-old from Willow Springs, Mo., in Howell County. This is how he explains the feeling being named Junior Champion Showman at the National Barrow Show in Austin, Minn., in early September.

“There were more than 90 kids in my age division and when the showmanship started I didn’t want to do it,” he recalled. “But Mom was on the phone and encouraged me to participate and I’m glad I did.

“I went in for my flight and the judge penned me right away. I didn’t know if that was good or bad, but then they told me I made the final. So all 15 of us where in the ring and then he sorted to the top 10 and then there were just three of us in the ring.

“By then I had been driving my gilt for more than 45 minutes and she was getting tired and starting to act up,” he recalled. “When he congratulated me and told me I was his championship showman I was shocked because of the way she was acting. But it was an awesome feeling.”

Jaden is the son of Donald and Rachel Brotherton and is in the seventh grade at Willow Springs Middle School.

“My first year of showing 4-H, I showed lambs but when I was done, I told Pops (his maternal grandfather Rich Eligah) I really didn’t want to do that again,” he said. “Then we bought four pigs and have just grown from there.”

“Jaden is the fourth generation pig showman in the family,” Rachel added. “Jaden, me, my dad and my grandpa have all shown pigs. We are glad that Jaden has chosen to do this too.”

Jaden is a member of Backwoods 4-H and National Junior Swine Association (NJSA) and this was his fifth year showing.

“I have been able to show at the American Royal and NJSA shows around the country, including Regional NJSA shows in Oklahoma, Georgia and Minnesota,” he said. “The big show is each July in Louisville, Ky. This is the one everyone wants to win. There are usually about 1,000 hogs just in the junior show.” He also participates in county fairs and the Missouri State Fair.

“I had the Duroc light-weight division champ barrow at the Missouri State Fair this year,” he said. “But I did really well with a home-bred and grown Duroc gilt, Sally. She was a class winner at the Missouri State Fair and the National Barrow Show. She is also the pig I drove in showmanship and won.”

Jaden is involved with his pigs from their birth.

“When we raise the pigs, we do all the work with them once they are born” Rachel explained. “In the first day or two they get their teeth clipped, tails docked, ears notched and Jaden helps with all that.”

“They get shots of iron when they are born on concrete and become little crack pigs,” Jaden giggled. “It gives them all sorts of energy and they are just spastic.”

Jaden currently has 13 gilts/sows; two boars and the barrow he just showed at the American Royal.

“The sows usually farrow in January and February and maybe occasionally in March. They are about 5 to 6 months old when I show them,” he said. “This also determines what shows I take pigs too, because of their age.”

“I never would have thought I would be this involved with the pigs and showing,” he said. “I knew nothing about this, but with the help of my parents and grandparents, I really like it now.”

Jaden is only in middle school but he plans to continue showing pigs.

“Once I graduate high school I’d like to attend Oklahoma State University in Stillwater because they have the best college livestock judging team,” he smiled. “But until them I’m going to keep showing pigs until I can’t.”


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