By Mitchell Banks
Three Jackson County livestock enthusiasts were able to bring home three awards from the Indiana State Fair this year.
Two of them, Mya Wolka, 15, of Brownstown and Eli Wischmeier, 17, of Seymour, showed champion pigs in 4-H shows. Wolka exhibited a champion Yorkshire barrow, while Wischmeier had a reserve grand champion barrow.
Clint Main, 18, of Seymour also exhibited a champion Maine-Anjou heifer.
Comparing the environment of showing livestock at the state fair to the county fair, Wolka said it’s a lot more competitive because you’re up against a lot more contestants from across the state.
At the Jackson County Fair, one would walk their hog from the pig barn only about 10 feet into Show Arena 1.
For the state fair, Wolka said competitors and their hogs were loaded onto a trailer, driven to the Indiana Farmers Coliseum and loaded into their designated pin.
While the quaint show arenas at the county fair can pack in hundreds on a busy fair weekday, the Indiana Farmers Coliseum can seat 6,500 people.
Wolka said she has been showing livestock for seven years and plans on attending college and learning more about livestock judging when she gets out of high school.
Before this year’s state fair, Wolka won reserve champion gilt, third overall barrow and reserve master showman at the Jackson County Fair.
She said livestock plays an important part in her life.
“Showing livestock teaches you how to be really responsible and how to work for what you want,” she said.
For the rest of her livestock showing career, Wolka said her goal is to keep trying to do better and move up to a higher level.
Main said he was kind of sad it was his last year showing livestock after a 10-year career. He said he wished he had a few more years left in him.
After winning champion Maine-Anjou heifer, he said, “It felt pretty good after a long summer of working.”
The level of competition at the state fair is nerve-wracking, he said, due to the larger amount of high-quality animals to go against.
An FFA member and 10-year 4-H’er, Main said both organizations had major impacts on his life because they taught him about hard work and dedication.
“Most things do pay off in the end as long as you work hard toward your goals,” he said.
At the Jackson County Fair this year, Main took home several awards, including grand champion wether goat, reserve grand champion wether goat, reserve grand champion percentage doe, grand champion steer, grand champion heifer and supreme showman.
He is currently attending Purdue University to study agricultural business.
Wischmeier has been showing pigs for nine years and said he looks forward to his final year of competing.
As for what goals he has in mind, he said he wants to “keep trying to do good.”
He said it was rewarding to get reserve grand champion barrow, which would be the second best hog overall at the state fair, after all of the work he had put toward his livestock.
This year, there were 1,089 pigs in the state fair’s pig barn.
His brother, Owen, won reserve grand champion barrow at the 2020 Indiana State Fair. While the 2020 edition of the Indiana State Fair didn’t happen, a modified 4-H livestock show took place with limited capacity.
After he graduates from high school, Wischmeier said he plans to attend Purdue University.