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The Auroran Today

Show Animal Spotlight: Mallory & Petunia

Get to know MHS showman Mallory Bruhn, and her experience last summer showing her pig Petunia!

Showing animals is a great way to create a special bond between the showman and the livestock. It’s also a great way to spend time with friends over a shared interest or a shared animal. Having a non-human companion can reduce stress and teach responsibility over a living thing. Showing animals helps to create a special bond with them, but also you get to take them to shows to be judged so you can show off all your hard work.

While some show animals can put up quite a fight while being trained, there is one special animal that just goes with the flow. People might associate pigs with production agriculture and bacon, but showmen know they are one of the sweetest most patient animals. Pigs also bring something new and exciting into the mix as they have the IQ of a three-year-old child, so they follow your lead and direction almost all the time.

MHS Sophmore, Mallory Bruhn, had her fair share of fun and interesting experiences with her male show pig named Petunia she showed this last summer.

“The pig project has definitely been my favorite out of all the projects I have done, what made it even better is I got to spend the time with one of my closest friends,” said Bruhn.

Bonding is one of the biggest benefits of showing animals. Showmen get the opportunity to get to know the animals and get to know their individual characteristics. they also have the opportunity to learn to curate to the specific animal’s personality and likes and dislikes.

“Petunia was a male all white or pink pig, who was the biggest pig out of all of the ones being shown, he was just huge. He was also really lazy and hated moving, he loved his baths though,” said Bruhn.

Petunia and her pig friend enjoying a mud bath together.

However, getting to know the animal is not all showing is. Showing animals can get very exhausting as you constantly have to be with and work with the animal so they trust you. Showmen have to work with their animal at least once a day so they are ready for the challenge the show ring presents. The show ring is a large open ring that occupies many animals at a time, with many spectators outside of the ring. Pigs with their loving nature are especially good at keeping calm and collected in the ring.

“From the time I got Petunia, to the time I showed him, we started with just simply herding and corralling the pigs. We then started walking them to the washrack so they got used to different environments, and stayed clean,” said Bruhn.

Preparation and bonding are both extremely important, but fairs and shows are when everything pays off.  Mallory ended up having a great show season, with Petunia behaving especially well in the show ring which earned him some extra snacks after the fact.

“I would definitely recommend the pig project to everyone, pigs are just so funny and have unique personalities that are so fun to work with. Feeding them snacks also helps!” said Bruhn.

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