Pigs take center stage at youth fair

Published 12:49 pm Wednesday, August 13, 2003

By By BEN RAYMOND LODE / Niles Daily Star
NILES -- Claire Molnar of Niles was certain about one thing at the Berrien County Youth Fair on Tuesday.
Having shown pigs at the Fair for the last six years, the 15-year-old seemed confident her pig had a good chance of winning the pig showmanship competition later in the day.
Molnar, who also shows sheep, said pigs are demanding animals.
They always need access to food and water, and they supposedly thrive best when their surroundings are clean, she said.
Molnar raises pigs for the Fair with her sister, Sandy, at their family's farm in Niles.
Her brother, however, stays far away from the pigs, she said.
But Molnar wasn't the only one getting her pig ready for Tuesday's pig showmanship competition.
Max Stahl, also from Niles and in his second year of showing pigs, hunched down next to his pig and applied show sheen all over his pig's back.
Which probably sits well with the judges, anyway.
Stahl said he really enjoys showing pigs, but he also enjoys showing chickens and rabbits.
Which makes him the rule rather than the exception, as most of the youth competing at the Fair do so in several different animal categories.
Stahl, however, is a Fair fan in general and said his circle of friends expands each year he participates in it.
But although the Fair is mostly fun and laughter, Stahl doesn't like what happens to especially his pigs at the end of the Fair.
Because like so many others who raise animals, he becomes emotionally attached to them.