L-R: Tim McNae, James Davidson and Scott Carnochan formed the Selwyn Swine Breeders Association with the aim of creating some competition at the Canterbury A & P Show this year. The group (aka the Hairy Hog Handlers) took out the Boar Breeders Association Commercial Best Eating Pig with Amy Swinehouse!

Rivalry in the Pig Section

23.11.2017

The pig section of the Canterbury A & P Show has been transformed by friendly rivalry between groups of young farmers.

Rivalry was rife this year with two younger groups; one calling themselves the Bhuja Boar Breeders Association, the other first-time entrants, the Selwyn Swine Syndicate – both complete with witty animal names and snappy dressing.

A group of mates from the Glenmark rugby club, North Canterbury, make up the Bhuja Boar Breeders Association and turned out in matching blazers and maroon ties.

The local syndicate, Selwyn Swine Breeders Syndicate (also known as the Hairy Hog Handlers), members James Davidson, Tim McNae and Scott Carnochan were ‘out to beat the Bhuja boys’ and made their presence felt with three boars; Pablo Escoboar, Frank Lucus, and Notorious P.I.G., along with two sows; Amy Swinehouse and Beth Heke entered.

Both groups have Facebook pages and ‘a good bit of banter flies between them’ explained James.

“We’re first time entrants, but Bhuja Boars have been at the Show for the past couple of years, so we’re trying to see if we can stick it to them. It’s a good bit of friendly competition,” he enthused. “It’s all a bit of fun, but serious fun.” Even outside of the pig section the fun continued with the Selwyn group creating a stir of excitement in the Grand Parade, when they threw hats out to eager youngsters in the crowd.

This year pig entries for the Show were at a level not seen for decades. There were no entries at all in 2010 and only one or two each year since – until this year when 44 entries were received. James believes the new good-natured rivalry of the young syndicates may have encouraged traditional breeders back to the section.

The rise in numbers has allowed for the introduction of a new commercial class which looks for ‘the perfect eating pig’, regardless of breed.

James proudly entered Pablo Escoboar, a ginger-spotted cross between a Berkshire mother and a Tamworth father who is apparently as friendly as a house cat. James though didn’t hold high hopes for him as he felt he lacked a bit of length and the big hams the judges were looking for in the commercial class.

“I like the Tamworth because it’s a bit slower growing and it is better eating, then you get the stockiness from the Berkshire,” he explained. “But this mother was as mad as hell. I don’t actually have her any more, for good reason!

“He, however is a bloody good character; friendly and will trot around anywhere.”

With three boars now in the syndicate James is unsure of Pablo’s future. “I’m pretty keen to hang onto him. He’s a pretty nice-natured boar. He just doesn’t quite have the length and the big arse that some of the other ones do,” he explained. “He’s got a bit of character to him though.”

Though Pablo, didn’t take out winning place, the syndicate was able to celebrate winning the BBA Commercial Best Eating Pig with Amy Swinehouse! Frank and Notorious got in on the ribbon action with a 3rd & 4th in the Commercial Class and a 2nd & 3rd in the Age Group Class!