MIAMI COUNTY — To say 15-year-old Jack Shell was surprised when the judge shook his hand Tuesday night, naming his market barrow the best of show, is an understatement.
“I was very surprised and I also was very happy at the same time. It was very exciting! I’ve been working so hard for this …” said Shell, before he had to pause to compose himself as tears of joy ran down his face. “Every since we got (the barrow), I’ve been going out every day, twice a day, feeding him, walking him at least once a day for an hour or so. We’ve been working to get their heads up and drive really well.”
The Covington High School student said winning the Grand Champion Market Barrow wasn’t even his ultimate goal this year.
“I was pretty surprised because all I was hoping to do was win my class,” Shell said. “But when I kept advancing I thought the judge must really like this pig.”
The Newberry Frisky Critters 4-H Club member purchased the market barrow project from Clark Show Stock.
“He got better and better every time I went out to the barn,” Shell said.
Shell was the Division III winner in the show.
He is the son of Kim and John Shell of Covington.
Abigail Leiss, 10, of Fletcher, beamed with pride after she got the second hand-shake from the judge, tapping her as Reserve Grand Champion market barrow after Shell.
“I saw (the judge) walking towards me and my heart just leaped, I was just like ‘Yay!’” she said. “I tried to smile bigger but I couldn’t.”
The fifth-grade student at Miami East Elementary was also the Reserve Grand Champion in Division III following Shell’s winner. Leiss is a member of the Ham and Lamb 4-H Club. The market barrow was also selected from Clark Show Stock.
Leiss said her favorite part of the Miami County Fair is spending time with her friends and sharing her love of animals.
“You have a bond with your animals, especially while showing, which is a lot of fun,” Leiss said.
Leiss is the daughter of Angela and Wayne Leiss of Fletcher.