My name is Christopher Love, and I am from Bakersfield, California.
I started showing market swine my freshman year and the first breed I exhibited was a Duroc gilt named Ray. I bought her from my high school agriculture program, as they had an auction at the school farm every year. When I got her, she wasn't the biggest of the group of Durocs there, but she had the best temperament that I could see. She walked right up to me at the edge of the big pen and sat down and watched me. So long story short, I bid on her and won. Then, after a short quarantine, I started working to get her show ready. I wasn’t crazy about showmanship my first year, as I was not very confident in my skills. I learned that year, that when in the ring, I had to make everything outside of it fade away and just focus on my animal, myself, and the judge.
Pictured - Christopher with his sister Claudia.
Since my first year, I went on to win a reserve breed champion buckle and several blue ribbons. I showed for 5-years and have now aged out of FFA, and I spend my free time helping my little sister Claudia with her show pigs. Throughout the time I showed, I had a total of 6 hogs. My biggest accomplishment that came from showing animals was receiving my American Farmer Degree my last year after I sold my last hog at my last county fair.
A couple important lessons I've learned growing up in the stock show world are - work hard, have fun, be competitive (but not to the point where you lose sight of all the fun), and finally eye contact is everything. My goal for the future is to one day breed show hogs for my kids and other kids in my city to show. The one thing I would tell someone just starting out and this goes for all species is have patience, take a step back and breath, calm down, and your animal will do the same. Once you’re levelheaded, then get back after it, and you'll see better results instead of clashing and losing it.
Pictured - the Love Family visiting with Allen in Tulare, CA.