At Aubrey Layton’s first show, her pig — a family pet bought for her younger brother — tore through the shavings on a wild run but the experience she gained in the ring inspired her to push for greatness.
“After that first show, I realized if I wanted to do well I needed to put the time in,” Layton said. “After my first year I made it my goal to win showmanship and I spent all my time watching YouTube videos and talking to other showmen to get to the level I needed.”
When Layton, now an 18-year-old senior from Welch, Oklahoma, accomplished her goal and won showmanship, her years of hard work were realized in front of her home crowd at the county fair.
“The key to showmanship is teaching your pig to effortlessly communicate with you,” Layton said. “When you’re in the ring in front of the judge, being able to have your pig walk beside you and sense when you want to turn with minimal effort makes a big impact.”
Learning and applying concepts that seem simple — from keeping a pig’s head elevated to easy communication with her animal — is a skill Layton is proud to have learned through showing livestock.
“With showmanship I kept working with it until I got the hang of it, and I found myself applying that same work ethic to concepts I was struggling with at school as well,” Layton said.
Layton’s dedication in the classroom was highlighted by her selection as a recipient of a Coca-Cola academic scholarship. The prestigious award will cover $20,000 of her tuition and her competitive nature honed in the show ring served her well in the application process.
“I think around 90,000 people apply for this scholarship and only 150 people are chosen as winners,” Layton said. “I had to go through several rounds of applications before flying to Austin to interview in front of a scholarship committee.”
With her interest in a career in journalism or broadcasting, Layton is planning to take full advantage of the opportunities her scholarship will bring. However, one of her proudest moments continues to be her first showmanship win at the 2015 Craig County Fair.
“That first showmanship win continues to be one of the proudest moments of my pig showing career,” Layton said. “I think I cried a few tears in the ring that day and it is something I will always remember.”