Stillwater News Press

March 6, 2013

Contestants learn life lessons with animal care

By Mark Rountree
Stillwater NewsPress

STILLWATER, Okla. — Morgan Brunnemer and his sister Jaden say they have learned an important lesson about raising and showing hogs — responsibility.

“We walk them every day when it’s warm enough outside before school,” said Morgan on Wednesday as he was preparing for the swine competition in the Payne County Junior Livestock Show at the Payne County Expo Center. “We brush them every day and just work with them as much as possible. And we feed them twice a day. We wash them once a week and clean the pens once a week.”

Morgan, a 15-year-old freshman at Stillwater Junior High, started showing when he 9 years old. His best finish was in 2008 when he won reserve grand champion. He took third place on Wednesday in the Hamp division with his 245-pound hog.

Jaden, an 11-year-old fifth-grader at Skyline Elementary School, had two hogs entered in the livestock show, Ella and Emma.

“I enjoy it so much,” Jaden said. “It’s so fun to get out and show our pigs. We usually get them when they are little babies and I like watching them grow. It’s cool.”

Morgan Brunnemer said he also has learned about the financial commitment required in raising and showing hogs. He said the family’s five hogs consume three, 50-pound bags of feed each week, and it costs approximately $300 each month to keep the hogs fed.

“Jaden and Morgan do an excellent job,” said Scott Schaefer, agriculture education instructor at Stillwater Public Schools. “They have a lot of support from their family but they work at it and they try hard.”

The Brunnemers were raised in an agricultural-minded family that knows the value of hard work, commitment and responsibility, Schaefer said.

“We wanted both of our kids to show,” said Teresa Brunnemer, the children’s mother. “It shows them how to be more responsible and take care of something. ... I think it’s really good because it gets the whole family involved in something. We go out to the barn together and work and clean as a family.”

Schaefer said young people involved in the junior livestock show learn valuable life lessons at an early age.

“The first thing it teaches them is responsibility,” said Schaefer. “These kids are out taking care of their animals when the sun comes up and they are out there again taking care of their animals when the sun goes down.”