Morning rain moves judging into barns at Dayton Fair

| Wednesday, Aug. 13, 2014, 1:26 a.m.

Rainy weather turned outdoor arenas into mud and drove judging events under barn roofs at the Dayton Fair on Tuesday morning.

In stalls and pens throughout the fairgrounds, kids shaved pigs, brushed lambs and hosed down cows in preparation for judging.

Tracie and Dale Brockhoff of Wayne moved their Belgian draft horses — each weighing 1,000 pounds or so — into barns where a crew of six would work two hours getting them ready for 15 minutes of judging later in the day. The animals will be part of a six-horse hitch and grand cavalcade at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday.

“We'll wait to see if the rain passes and rake the arena,” she said.

Show pigs in another barn — which might have preferred to wallow in the muddy puddles — were kept spotless inside pens by their 4-H owners.

“You have to keep your pig clean and smile at the judge,” said 12-year-old Madysen Ewing of Punxsutawney.

She exercised Cooter, her white, 247-pound crossbred pig, inside an indoor ring hours before the swine showmanship judging in the evening.

“It's really fun,” Ewing said, tapping Cooter lightly with a show whip as she directed him around the ring.

She has been breeding swine for three years and saves money earned at auction for her college fund and for pig-rearing expenses. But she always feels a little sad when she has to part with her pigs when auction day comes — as it will this year at 6:30 p.m. Thursday.

It's not a sure deal she will lose Cooter to auction, because buyers have the option of giving animals back to their owners.

“But that's never happened to me,” Ewing said.

At a nearby pen, 7-year-old Trent Stadtmiller perched on a fence beside his two pigs, Lightning and Storm.

“I like them 'cause you don't have to catch them and put a halter on them like you do with heifers,” he said, grinning as he jumped down onto a bed of fresh wood shavings to rub Storm's belly.

Stadtmiller's mother, Tiffani, said the family raises beef cattle at their Dayton farm. She was in 4-H as a child and said the program teaches her kids — daughter McKenzie, 8, also has two lambs in the auction — about leadership and responsibility.

“It teaches them good values,” she said.

Brigid Beatty is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-543-1303 or

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