When she was younger, Killeen resident Payton Aldrich, 13, never imagined caring for hogs and competing in county fairs. But she was introduced to the idea about two years ago and has since developed a growing passion for the livestock competition.
“Some friends of ours have been showing (hogs) for several years, and I took Payton to their house one time and she was very much interested,” said Douglas Aldrich, Payton’s father. “So we let her try it to see if she likes it ... and she pretty much likes it.”
Payton is among the more than 100 children competing the 59th annual Killeen Junior Livestock Show. She showcased her three hogs, Menzie, BV and Lucky, which she said became an important part of the family.
“It took a lot of effort,” she said. “You have to walk your pigs every day and feed them the correct amount to make sure they make weight.”
The time she spent caring for and preparing her hogs and competing at livestock shows have been both memorable and sweet, Payton said.
“At the county show this year I went to sit in a pen with my pig, Menzie, and she just laid on me.”
This isn’t Payton’s first livestock show. Last year, she won reserve grand champion in Killeen, and took home third place overall and the showmanship award at the 2013 Bell County Youth Fair.
While livestock shows started out as just life experiences for Payton, they have since evolved into a family pastime for all the Aldriches.
“It’s a family-oriented type thing to do,” Douglas Aldrich said. “It takes a lot of hard work and if you really work hard at it, then your efforts will really pay off in the end.”
The Killeen Junior Livestock Show concludes with an auction sale at 1 p.m. today at the Killeen Special Events Center.