HELENA — Siblings Abby and Ryan Yeske have been raising their pigs Chubbs and Pudgy for the past four months in preparation for the 4-H fair and livestock sale.
“Well, it's, it's a lot of hard work. We get these pigs at the end of March. And we just, we're constantly out, checking on them, feeding them, walking them, just letting them have fun,” Ryan said. “Yeah, we feed them two times a day, hand feed, and then we check on them four times a day, and walk them once a day. So it's a large commitment, we put in about two hours a day to these pigs. At least,” Abby added.
The Yeskes got their pigs from Deaton Show Pigs, a breeder in Helena.
“We've been nothing but happy the last couple of years have been having these pigs as a private auction,” Ryan said.
They tried other 4-H activities in the past, but ultimately decided pig showmanship and market were for them.
“It was just, we did it our first year. And it was I don't know, something kind of clicked into place. This is what I want to do. It's so fun. I love the bond that I get to share with the pig. And I mean, they'll lay on his belly and I'll roll around and pet his belly and all that. So it's just like a dog. So they’re really fun animals,” Ryan said.
The Yeskes noted that 4-H has taught them about hard work and the importance of community involvement.
“Without the community 4-H couldn't be a thing. I mean, throughout. All throughout the year, we asked for donations from businesses and everybody's always willing to help. And then you work so hard to get this final moment, which is the 4-H sale. And if there wasn't, I mean, we usually see 100 businesses down there, which is awesome. And if there weren't that many people or any people at all for each of them, they could not exist and wouldn't be a thing,” Ryan said.
“We market every year. We just went and we've gone to about 65 businesses so far this year, because we just want to get the community involved. That's what's so great about Helena, Montana is they're so involved and they just love supporting four h and it's really great. And we're really appreciative for that,” Abby said.
Overtime, Abby and Ryan have accumulated around $20,000 from the 4-H sale. Last year, Abby made $15 per pound for her 300 lb pig.
“It's not like that every year. Usually it's $6 a pound. But I think this year is gonna be pretty good. So yeah, I'd say I’ll probably market well, I’ll profit a little more than $1,500,” she said.
Not only do they make money through 4-H, but it opened opportunities for college. Ryan will be attending the University of Montana Western on a full-ride scholarship next year, and received additional scholarship money through 4-H.
The 4-H livestock sale will take place Saturday at 9 a.m. at the Lewis & Clark County Fairgrounds.