In a barn in Kenly, North Carolina, a litter of red pigs was born to a sow named Ruby. One of those little pigs would be hand-picked by a girl in a neighboring town and go on to win a championship. This is the story of a couple of girls, family teamwork, and a red pig named Cajun.
Sarah Scott (right), Taylor Glover (middle), & NC State Fair hog judge (left)
Pigs, although often thought as a pinkish white in color, actually come in many colors and patterns. The Duroc breed is characterized by their beautiful red color that ranges from a yellowish red like a newly minted penny to a deep rich mahogany color. Developed in the USA and named after a stallion called Duroc, the breed is known for their red color, droopy ears, fast growth, and a gentle disposition. They are also the second most recorded breed in the country. Recently, the N.C. State Fair added a purebred hog show that allowed exhibitors to show purebred hogs in separate classes from crossbreds. In the junior show, a purebred champion is chosen who then competes for champion overall against the crossbred champion.
Enough of background information and back to the story of the red pig.
The Scott Family:
Sarah Scott is both the youngest and the only girl in her family. She comes from a farming family in Wilson County where they grow tobacco, soybeans, cotton, cattle and show pigs. While her oldest two brothers, Wyatt and Frank, have aged out of showing pigs, Sarah and her brother Ben, still show pigs across the state and even at national shows. It was in Georgia, at one of these national shows, that Sarah bought a red gilt and named her Ruby. Sarah has always been drawn to the Duroc breed, but then again, she comes by it honestly. Her mom, Tricia had a special Duroc pig she showed when she was a girl in 4-H, and her dad, Joey, used Durocs in their family farming operation. So it is no surprise that red pigs peaked Sarah’s interest as well.
Sarah, taking care of a litter of Duroc pigs at her family’s farm.
Everyday, Sarah and Ben feed and care for the pigs. As a family, they breed and raise some of the state’s top show pigs which they show and also sell to other youth to show. Scott Show Pigs have won several championships across the state. Sarah is a part of the family team, caring for all the pigs; however, she spends most of her time with Ruby’s babies.
The Glover Family:
Taylor Glover lives in Pikeville and has shown livestock for 9 years. She has shown goats, cattle, and, perhaps her favorite, pigs. The Glover family is close and each play a part in the process of livestock shows. Taylor is the showman, and keeps busy with walking, feeding, and grooming her show animals. She spends hours a day working with them. She is also currently attending Wayne Community College, majoring in Applied Animal Science Technology. Her plan is to transfer to N.C.State University or Kansas State to obtain her bachelor’s degree.
Taylor’s dad, Brian, is the coach.
“He pushes me to do my best. Sometimes I think he is pushes me too hard, but I am thankful for that because he believes in me and believes I can do anything,” says Taylor about her dad.
She also says that her dad is like a shelf on show days, holding all of the supplies she needs like water, a brush, and of course marshmallow treats for the pigs! Taylor’s mom, Joy, is what Taylor calls the “definition of a show mom.” She takes all the pictures, makes sure Taylor’s clothes are clean and ironed, brings snacks to the show, keeps Taylor calm, and makes certain nothing is forgotten. Finally, according to Taylor, “she is the boss and she always makes sure everything runs smoothly.”
Then there is Taylor’s older brother Bradley, who is her number one fan. Bradley moved to Utah recently to pursue a career working with draft horses at Young Living. While proud and thrilled for her brother, it’s hard to be so far from your best friend and go-to person to talk to. Despite the distance, Bradley is still present at Taylor’s shows through lives streams and in spirit.
“Even though he does not physically live in North Carolina anymore, he still is here in my heart. He texts me every show day and tells me how proud he is and knows how hard I work,”
A pig named Cajun:
The stories of the Scott family and the Glover family intertwine through, you guessed it, pigs. For a few years, Taylor has purchased pigs from the Scotts to show. The Scotts did not simply provide pigs to Taylor, though. Long after purchasing a pig from the Scotts, Taylor could be found in the pig barn at the Scott’s helping take care of the baby pigs. Taylor was passionate about pigs and wanted to be involved in whatever way she could. So, she learned about raising pigs from breeding to birthing and all the aspects in between. It wasn’t too long until, as often happens in the show world, the Scott family and Glover family were one big show family.
The process of preparing for the N.C. State Fair begins many months before the fair, and starts with choosing an animal. Taylor had always participated in the crossbred barrow show, but wanted to do something different her senior year and show a purebred barrow. As fate would have it, the Scotts had one purebred litter, and you guessed it, they were Durocs. More specifically, they were from Sarah’s pig Ruby. When Taylor went to look at the Duroc litter, there was an instant connection with one of the Duroc barrows. She looked at all the other pigs, but kept going back to the red, chubby pig in Ruby’s litter. Taylor knew that he was the one. Just as she just “knew” he was the perfect pig for her, she also “knew” exactly what to name him—Cajun!
“Durocs have reddish colored hair and one of my favorite foods is French fries with “Cajun” seasoning,” explained Taylor.
And so, Taylor and Cajun, the red pig, began their journey to the Fair.
When it comes to preparing pigs for show, Taylor has a process. At first, she spends a large amount of time just sitting in the pen, so that the pigs become comfortable around her. She may or may not also bribe them with marshmallows. Taylor feeds her pigs twice a day and weighs them once a week. She spends quite a bit of time looking at her pigs to make sure they are getting the right amount of feed and supplements so they look their best (feeding show pigs is not as simple as dumping feed or slop. After all, these pigs are athletes, and their nutrition is closely monitored). If that isn’t enough, Taylor walks her pigs, sets up cones and obstacles for them to weave through and conditions and brushes their hair to a shine. Taylor and Cajun developed quite the bond.
“Cajun was like a teddy bear. He absolutely loved attention. I talked to him like he was a person and he would talk back, or “snort.” I’m not sure what he was saying, but he was telling me something. He loved for me to scratch his belly and he also loved marshmallows.”
The 2018 N.C. State Fair:
Soon it was October and time for the 2018 N.C. State Fair. Taylor and her family were there. The Scott family was there. Cajun was there. Actually, Cajun wasn’t just there. Cajun truly showed up.
The way the junior market barrow show works, is the purebred hogs compete against each other. The crossbreds compete separately. A champion purebred is chosen, and a champion crossbred is chosen. Then the champions go head to head for overall grand champion pig. Traditionally, crossbreds win. You can thank the magic of crossbred vigor (think of it as taking the best traits of various breeds and putting it in one pig). Though, this is not always the case. Get the right purebred in the ring, and crossbreds have some serious competition. The 2018 NC State Fair grand champion hog happened to be a purebred. It was black and white belted Hampshire exhibited by Travis Cox.
The 2018 NC State Fair Reserve Champion hog happened to also be a purebred. It also happened to be a red pig with the name of Cajun shown by a very shocked Taylor Glover.
Cajun named Reserve Champion and Got to Be NC Champion
“The judge walked over and shook my hand and it took me a second to realize that Cajun and I had won reserve overall. When I realized why he was shaking my hand, tears of joy and happiness filled my eyes. I bent down and hugged Cajun because he did an awesome job, then I ran over and hugged my parents, who were crying tears of joy too,” recalled Taylor
The proud moments did not stop there. Because the grand hog was not born in North Carolina, and Cajun was, Cajun also was chosen as the Grand Champion Got To Be N.C. hog. This fact is not just an honor for Taylor and Cajun, but is an honor for North Carolina and the farm who bred that champion—Scott Show Pigs.
“It’s a great honor to breed the Reserve Champion and Champion Born and Bred. The competition is tough and it means a little more when you remember being there when that pig was born,” said Scott Show Pigs.
When Taylor and Cajun won, they were surrounded by proud family members and their, and not just blood family, but also her show family. All those who had watched Taylor work hard and show such passion over the years had large smiles spread across their faces. The Scotts were just as happy for Taylor and Cajun as they would have been if they had shown the pig themselves.
Surrounded by her parents, Sarah Scott, and her show family, Taylor smiles wide!
“We are just thankful that Taylor was rewarded for her hard work and dedication. We are blessed to have played a small role in her development as an outstanding livestock producer and young lady,” said Scott Show Pigs.
The moments after the champion handshake were something that cannot be accurately captured with words, but know that it was something that would bring tears to your eyes. It is something that many a showman hopes for, but only few get to experience. It is a big deal, and Taylor knew that.
“Nine years ago, when I showed at the N.C. State Fair for the first time, I never thought I would win, walk under the bright lights at the Sale of Champions, or even have a market animal on the champions display in the expo building,” said Taylor who felt that the champion titles were both an honor and a blessing.
Despite the spotlight and success that Cajun and Taylor received, they continued to understand what is important. For Cajun, it was marshmallows. For Taylor, it was the knowledge that hard work really pays off and surrounding yourself with people who believe and support you, and giving the glory to God is what matters. Taylor summed it up well when she said:
“Showing is not about banners and buckles, although they are nice, it is about having the time of your life and the lifelong friendships. Sooner or later, we will all age out of showing, but the bonds and friendship never age out.”
While the fair is over, the banners begin to fade, and the lights have dimmed, there are some things that never change. friendship between the Glovers and the Scotts remain. Sarah is still raising red pigs, and still has a partiality towards them. Taylor continues to show pigs. And the pigs, well the pigs still love marshmallows.
And that is the story of a couple of girls, family teamwork, and a red pig named Cajun.