show pig
Credit: Dadson Farms/Facebook

What the Heck is Happening in These Show Pig Videos?

While these kids staring intensely as they show their pigs are clearly part of some sort of contest, nothing else is.

If you watch outdoor or wildlife content on social media, you've undoubtedly come across videos of a young girl wearing a red shirt and pearls while staring intensely as she walks a pig by tapping it gently with a stick. It's a mouthful to say and even sounds unusual to say. While it's clearly part of some sort of contest, nothing else about it is.

Turns out, the video originated from the social media channel Dadson Farms Show Pigs. And it has been making the rounds as part of an effort to promote not just successful exhibitors, but also explaining the ins and outs of the competition. The videos mostly focus on two exhibitors, named Karis and Krew, the daughter and son of the farm's owner, participating in the showman division at livestock shows.

According to various educational and agricultural websites, the events are called "Swine Showmanship" and it's part of an educational program called the 4-H Swine Project. The goal of the project is to give youth fun and hands-on experience working with pigs. Most projects are organized by agricultural programs at colleges or universities.

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During an event, a judge will look at how well an exhibitor shows off his or her pig. In turn, the judge considers multiple aspects of an exhibitor's performance, including control of the pig and presentation, which results in the showman looking a little deranged. What takes most people's attention, though, is the stare.

Why do exhibitors stare during pig shows?

Technically, they aren't staring, but rather, they're keeping eye contact with a judge. Eye contact is an important part because it makes it easier for the exhibitor to follow a judge's instructions and requests. But by maintaining eye contact, exhibitors also show their intensity, and the more intense they are, the more likely it is a judge will look at them.

With a judge's attention, the exhibitor can then show off their ability and their pig. The best tactic for a showman is to calmly walk a hog, keeping it about 10 to 15 feet in front of the judge, and filling space without blocking other exhibitors. In turn, judges want to see all sides of the animal, so he or she can evaluate the pig's health. They'll want to see the front and both sides of the pig, so they can see how clean and muscular it is.

While judges want to see a healthy and well-groomed pig, Dadson Farms explained in one video that showmen need to be presentable as well. For competition clothes, Dadson's son Krew wore a $462 outfit consisting of a corduroy jacket, dress shirt, jeans, and $250 boots. While his daughter, Karis, wore a $855 outfit consisting of $300 pearl necklaces, $200 jeans, and $250 boots.