When the Laytons first started raising show pigs about nine years ago, they didn’t know exactly what to expect — and selling a Champion Yorkshire boar for $150,000 at the 2018 World Pork Expo in Des Moines, Iowa, wasn’t even on their radar.
The Layton family — Rowdy, Tiffany, Aubrey, Landry and Lucas — had a rough start when they first decided to get into the show pig business on their farm near Welch, Oklahoma.
“Aubrey decided she wanted to raise some show pigs,” Rowdy said. “We’d never raised pigs or done anything with them until then, and that didn’t turn out very well.”
About everything that could go wrong, did go wrong. They lost the gilt as well as all but one piglet after a series of unfortunate events.
“She didn’t get discouraged,” Rowdy said. “She just said that it’d be better next time.”
Aubrey started with Durocs. When Landry decided she wanted to start showing pigs, she decided to go with Yorks. Now, Aubrey has a few Duroc sows and Landry has a few Yorkshire sows.
The girls started showing locally at county fairs and have shown at the Oklahoma Youth Expo for the last couple years. The World Pork Expo was the first national show for the Laytons.
They almost didn’t make it to the show, however.
“We didn’t know if we were going to get to take him,” Rowdy said, explaining they had bred the litter of pigs with the intent to go to the Expo but obstacles kept popping up. Aubrey was attending the Washington Leadership Conference for FFA, Landry had other commitments, and Lucas was scheduled for surgery on the same day they were to check in at the Expo.
They enlisted the help of family friend Joe Snedden, a representative for Ralco Show Feeds, to take the soon-to-be prize hog to Iowa and care for him until Rowdy and Landry could get there on the morning of the show.
“Joe helped make everything work,” Rowdy said.
When the Laytons realized they had bred the Champion Yorkshire boar at such a prestigious show, there was a moment of disbelief.
“I was just shocked,” Landry said. “I couldn’t wrap my head around it.”
Landry sent Aubrey, who was still in Washington D.C., a text message to tell her the news after the hog’s sale for $150,000.
Aubrey said, “My first thought was, “Are you sure you put the right amount of zeros on that number?”
Thompson Bros. Genetics of Ohio, Chuck and Ben Olsen of South Dakota, and Schenken Genetics of Texas partnered to buy the boar. He is now standing at Thompson Bros.
From the beginning, Rowdy said he knew they had a good hog. A full sister to the mother of the boar won her division in the gilt show at the World Pork Expo in 2015 and also won the Oklahoma State Fair and Tulsa State Fair. They made the decision to breed the gilt to a boar called “Amped Up” — and hoped the two would make a good match.
And a good match it turned out to be.
“The kids are anxiously awaiting their fall litters, and they have the mother to the boar bred the exact same way,” Rowdy said.
They plan to take their hogs to some major shows next spring. They also intend to breed November and December litters to take back to next year’s World Pork Expo and the Summer Type Conference in Louisville, Kentucky.
“Landry really enjoyed the camaraderie and atmosphere at the Expo,” Rowdy said, “and she plans to go next year with Aubrey and Lucas where they hope to be successful.”