GREENVILLE – 2014 Darke County Youth Fair Queen Jenna Cline wasted no time getting involved in her new role. She has already been to nine or 10 county fairs since being crowned in July. “I’ve really been busy… trying to do everything that was done in the past, plus some.” She grinned. “I like to challenge myself.” Part of the challenge of going to the other fairs, she added, was knowing she still had to get ready for this one.
As she talked she moved from one swine pen to the next, placing notices on each with the names of the exhibitors. The swine barn has 160 pens, with each red pen capable of holding two pigs, the white ones four or five. All pens had been spoken for by Aug. 11. In another part of the building Jenna King, 2013 Darke County Fair Queen, and her brother Wyatt were doing the same. “We just set up for the swine,” Jenna said. She and King, both on the Junior Fair Board, represent the swine area. “Each department is represented on the Board,” Jenna said.
As Fair Queen, Jenna will be in every barn at least a half dozen times. “That will be fun,” she said, “especially seeing the new cattle barn. I’m really nervous about all this, but we’ll get through it. It’s going to be a different experience for me.” Her 2014 King, Thomas Shaw, is currently busy at the state fair, but will be making the rounds with her when the Darke County Fair gets into full swing.
Jenna said unlike some fairs, the Darke County Fair has always had an “execute” policy for swine. All pigs must be sold for slaughter at the end of the show. “Bio-security is really high,” she added, “especially due to PEDV (porcine epidemic diarrhea virus).” Farmers lost a high number of pigs last spring because of the virus.
She will be exhibiting three pigs this year and talked about raising the piglets born in January and February. “They’re just babies. So cute… you can hold them.” Six months later? They weigh 220 to 285 pounds. “You walk them almost every night, make sure they know you and are comfortable with you.
“It can be a challenge,” she said. “You’re only allowed to use a stick, such as a cane, or a whip.”
Raising them then turning them over for slaughter? “It’s always tough,” she said, “but that’s what has to happen. We like our bacon, don’t we?”
She remembered when she was nine. “I bawled my eyes out,” she said. “Now I help the younger ones learn to deal with it.” This will be Jenna’s ninth year showing in Junior Fair; however she’s been showing in Open Class since she was four.
Jenna King said she would be standing by their new queen. “I’ll be helping out whenever she needs it.”
2014 Darke County Youth Fair Queen Jenna Cline, left, and 2013 Queen Jenna King measure off tape for the reserved swine pen notices.