Deke is one big boy.
Weighing in at 971 pounds, the 3-year-old purebred spot boar was declared champion of the Jackson County Fair’s annual largest male hog contest Friday night at the fairgrounds in Brownstown.
Story continues below gallery
The hog, owned by Tim and Nila Reedy and their children, Haley, 15, and Dalton, 10, of Brownstown, beat out Junior, a 955-pound crossbred pig owned by Terry Melloncamp and Trenton Collings of Crothersville. Melloncamp and Collings’ Duroc, Mammoth, finished third at 858 pounds.
The Reedys received a $200 prize, while Melloncamp and Collings took home $100. The prizes were provided by the Jackson County Fair board and the Jackson County Pork Producers.
The Reedy family had entered hogs in the contest other years and received reserve champion a couple of times, but this was their first time winning.
“I like seeing how big we can get them, and I like getting grand champion for the first time,” Haley said.
In previous years, Nila said the family’s largest hog weighed 878 pounds.
“I think the key was just raising one that we weren’t going to breed with so we could get them heavier because that was our holdback the other years,” she said.
Deke will be on display in the front of the swine barn near the entrance to the show arena at this week’s fair.
“I like people’s reactions. The look on their face is like, ‘Wow! He’s really that big?’” Haley said. “I like seeing that.”
The family purchased Deke from Ed Stuckwisch of Brownstown in February, and the hog weighed about 680 pounds at the time.
“All of the other boars we’ve brought, we’ve actually used for breeding and feeder pigs ourselves,” Nila said. “This is the first time we’ve gotten one for (Haley and Dalton) to just raise for fun.”
Haley and Dalton took care of feeding and watering, alternating the chores each day.
“Every evening, he gets a five-gallon bucket full of feed, and he shares that with our donkey. He eats most of it. He doesn’t share very much,” Haley said. “Then we have a garden, and he gets the zucchini out of our garden that we don’t eat.”
Tim said Deke also eats leftovers, while Dalton said the hog likes to chew on different items, including his rubber feed bowl. Deke also likes marshmallows, Haley said.
Despite his size, Deke isn’t too difficult to manage.
“We just feed him, and he does his own thing. He doesn’t move very much,” Haley said.
Being around hogs isn’t new to Haley and Dalton. Their family lives on a small farm, typically raising a handful of pigs along with a few other animals.
At this year’s fair, each of them will show four hogs. This is Haley’s sixth year in 4-H, while it’s Dalton’s first year to show.
They also will continue feeding and watering Deke.
At the end of the week, the largest hogs in the state will arrive at the Indiana State Fairgrounds in Indianapolis, but the Reedys won’t be taking Deke this year because Dalton is playing in a summer baseball regional tournament in Kentucky.
“We’ve never taken one to the state fair, but we’ve talked about maybe next year if there aren’t too many sports conflicts and they have (Deke) again next year,” Nila said.
Tim said the family hopes to fatten Deke up a little more and enter him in the county and state fairs next summer.
“We don’t want to get him heavy enough to the point where he can’t get up and down well or he’s limping because his joints hurt,” Nila said. “We’ll just have to watch for signs like that if we’re pushing him too much.”
Once this year’s county fair is over, Deke will just be hanging out on the Reedy farm.
“We’ve got a big barn lot, and he’s just a lawn ornament after that and hangs out and eats,” Nila said, laughing. “He’s got the good life.”
Jackson County Fair’s largest male hog contest
Champion: Deke, 971 pounds, owned by Tim, Nila, Haley and Dalton Reedy of Brownstown
Reserve champion: Junior, 955 pounds, owned by Terry Melloncamp and Trenton Collings of Crothersville
Third place: Mammoth, 858 pounds, owned by Terry Melloncamp and Trenton Collings of Crothersville
Jackson County Fair’s sow and litter contest
Champion: Lucy and her litter of seven, owned by Mike, Brittany, Wyatt and Willie Hoevener of Cortland
Reserve champion: Dolly and her litter of four, owned by Mike, Brittany, Wyatt and Willie Hoevener of Cortland