Salem Township sibling rivalry tested at Westmoreland Fair swine competition
The friendly sister relationship ended at the pig arena.
The crowd hushed Wednesday as sisters Alli and Aspen Jobe and several other finalists brought their animals into the ring for the final leg of the swine showmanship competition at the Westmoreland Fair.
The Salem Township pair made eye contact with the judge while separately directing their pigs, Willy and Billy, around the ring with small whips. After several minutes, Aspen Jobe, 16, was declared the champion.
“I’m glad my sister won, she deserves it,” Alli Jobe, 18, said afterwards.
It was a pretty good day for the pair, who both missed their first day of classes at Greensburg Salem High School to participate in a competition for which they’ve been preparing all summer. They each got first place in their respective age groups, which led to the head-to-head final round.
There were about 40 participants in the competition. The judge was looking for participants who spent a lot of time preparing their pigs for the ring, said superintendent Rick Ebert.
“It’s nice to see the kids working with their animals, the care that they take for them,” he said. “It builds a good responsibility and work ethic for the kids.”
Summer days at Jobe Family Farm meant early mornings caring for the animals. Alli and Aspen Jobe spent long hours working with their now-6-month-old pigs every day.
They walked the animals and bathed them, conditioned their skin and fed them. They worked on showmanship by using a tree in place of a judge to practice eye contact and body position to make sure the judge always sees the pig.
“Once you get a pig trained you’re pretty good,” Aspen Jobe said.
“It’s just working together, practicing with them,” Alli Jobe said. “We’ll take the pigs out at the same time so they know it means business, no mingling.”
They’ve been showing animals for years.
“My dad really wanted us to have some sense of hard work and responsibility,” Alli Jobe said. “It just shows us hard work really pays off in the end.”
That definitely was on her sister’s mind after bringing home the top ribbon.
“I’m so proud of myself,” Aspen Jobe said. “I put so much work into that pig.”
Nolan Tumulty came in second place behind Aspen Jobe during their age class competition. He takes similar measures as the sisters to prepare his 6-month-old, 288-pound pig Henry for the ring.
“That’s why it’s important to work with them when they’re younger,” said the 16-year-old Hempfield Area junior.
He loves the competition, but said numbers of participants have been decreasing. He is part of Sunshine 4-H Club and works with his pigs at Goodman Family Farm near Madison.
“A lot of kids aren’t even introduced to this, they don’t even know it exists,” Tumulty said. “4-H has so many different programs to be involved in.”
Renatta Signorini is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Renatta at 724-837-5374, [email protected] or via Twitter .