Hartsell exhibits grand champion market hog

Published 6:48 pm Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Jeremiah Hartsell of Cassopolis with his grand champion market hog.

Jeremiah Hartsell of Cassopolis with his grand champion market hog.

CASSOPOLIS — Jeremiah Hartsell’s name will be inscribed on the trophy which has been traveling among exhibitors of the Cass County Fair grand champion market hog since 1988.

His win Tuesday over Ashley Rogers, of Niles, also gave him a director’s chair and other trophies and ribbons.

At 17, he’s been showing half his life, with two years of eligibility remaining.

Reams of ribbons ring the ceiling of his bedroom. His uncle built him a trophy case.

The Cassopolis Ross Beatty High School senior expects to study something agriculture-related at Michigan State University after graduating with the Class of 2014.

As a seventh-grader, “We beat the eighth-graders from Cass going head to head at state” in conduct of meetings, he said.

“Cheryl Rogers was our coach. I also had reserve champion heavyweight gilt. Last year, I was reserve champion swine showman and had reserve champion medium-weight gilt, and I won a bunch of stuff with lambs.”

Away from the fair, Legacy 4-H’s two-year vice president plays middle linebacker on the Rangers football team and catches and pitches for the baseball team.

He shows pigs year ’round, including at MSU, and judges at other fairs.

His 4-H club has grown rapidly in two years to 110 members, who are led by Jim and Linda Bogue.

“We do a lot,” he said. “We go on 4-H trips, we have bowling parties and Christmas parties. It’s more than showing.”

He works for Dennis Wooden, who supplied his 251-pound barrow.

“He’s like my uncle and does a lot for me,” Jeremiah said. “I couldn’t do this if it wasn’t for him.”

While Rick Hayden will represent swine in Saturday’s Showmanship Sweepstakes, Jeremiah advanced that far two years ago.