How to make a silk purse of a new pig handler

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Local News

July 28, 2018 - 4:00 AM

Josey Ellis and her pig, Pete.

It’s very impressive to watch a 10-year-old manhandle a 275-pound hog. Leading up to Thursday night’s swine show at the Allen County Arena, Josey Ellis of Humboldt, tended her pig, Pete. At our first introduction, Pete was asleep in his stall. “He does that a lot,” Josey said. He is, after all, only 6 months old. Josey hopped in and began to gently nudge the beast with her boot as she cooed sweet nothings. Pete acknowledged Josey with a grunt, but kept his eyes firmly shut. Josey then became slightly more aggressive, pushing one side of Pete and then another. Still nothing. Then came the slapping, loving but firm. “OK, OK,” Pete grumbled, as he came to. “Meet Pete,” Josey said. I kept the gate between us. Josey is a member of Logan Pals 4-H. She is the daughter of Scott and Amanda Ellis, who farm south of Humboldt, and is their eldest daughter, followed by Jadey, 7, and Jesey, 3. All three girls showed their pigs Thursday evening. “I’ve been doing this for four years,” Josey said in a confident manner. “Tomorrow I show my horse, Bill. Then on Saturday my steer, Oreo.” I thought to myself, “And they’re even bigger.” Bill is a Palomino. Oreo, a crossbred roan, “black with white spots,” Josey said.

Pete, meanwhile, is a solid brown Berkshire, who enjoyed having Josey brush his coat to a luster and mist him with cool water.

LEADING up to show time, Josey imparted all her wisdom on how to show a pig as part of an arrangement in which 4-H’ers instructed local “celebrities” in the art.

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