Swine Spectacular Tests Youths on Industry Knowledge, Skills

Swine Spectacular Tests Youths on Industry Knowledge, Skills

Young swine enthusiasts tested their pig knowledge and skills during the annual Swine Spectacular at the Hansen Agriculture Student Learning Center in Ames.

Sweepstakes winners include, from left, Tricia Veldhuizen of Runnells (senior division); Landry Mabry of Earlham (junior division); and Tucker Rohrig of Orient (intermediate division).

The educational event, presented by the Iowa Pork Producers Association (IPPA), was held in conjunction with Iowa State University Block & Bridle Club’s Spring Market Hog Show last month.

“This event was created to keep youth who are interested in the swine industry engaged, learning more, and building their skills. We also were able to highlight all the various careers available within our industry,” said Kelsey Sutter, IPPA’s marketing and programs director.

Nearly 60 students from Iowa and Minnesota attended. Activities were developed for three age groups: Junior (ages 8 to 10 years); Intermediate (ages 11 to 14); and Senior (ages 15 to 18).

Students competed in several areas to earn points toward their efforts to win the Sweepstakes prizes in their division. Points were earned for photo and essay entries, swine judging, a skill-a-thon, a written test, and by taking part in a workshop provided by a group of ISU students studying animal science.

During the workshop, students compared nutrition labels for ground pork, ground beef, as well as two plant-based proteins. They also did a blind taste test of ground pork and a meatless alternative.

The top five youth in the junior division then participated in personal interviews, while the top youth in the intermediate and senior divisions gave extemporaneous speeches.

Top Sweepstakes Winners


  • First – Landry Mabry, 9, of Earlham, son of Brad and Chyla Mabry;
  • Second – Taylor Rohrig, 10, of Orient, daughter of Matt and Heidi Rohrig and Ryan Sloth;
  • Third – McKinley Kaysen, 9, of Saint Charles, daughter of Brett and Tara Kaysen.


  • First – Tucker Rohrig, 14, of Orient, son of Matt and Heidi Rohrig and Ryan Sloth;
  • Second – Landry Kaysen, 11, of Saint Charles, daughter of Brett and Tara Kaysen;
  • Third – Brady Allan, 13, of Le Mars, son of Mark and Alise Allan.


  • First – Tricia Veldhuizen, 16, of Runnells, daughter of Craig and Denise Veldhuizen;
  • Second – Kiley Allan, 17, of Le Mars, daughter of Mark and Alise Allan;
  • Third – Reagan Gibson, 16, of Panora, daughter of Jim and Karwyn Gibson.

Each first-place Sweepstakes winner received a $50 Theisen’s gift card and a custom belt buckle; the second and third place winners each received a special Swine Spectacular blanket.

Editor’s note: Photos are available of all the Sweepstakes winners.