This week’s Grow to Show Spotlight is Damon Sahli and his pig, King. Damon is a 7th grader who attends Quincy Junior High school and is actively involved in many sports including football, basketball, baseball and wrestling. He is also a member of Boy Scouts and the Barnyard Buddies 4-H Club. Aside from all his extracurricular activities, Damon enjoys camping, going to the sand dunes, and visiting his family's cabin, snowmobiling in the winter and dirt and mountain biking in the summer.
Damon first got started in 4-H when he was in 3rd grade. He first began showing lambs for 3 years with the Wrangler Ranchers Club and last year started showing pigs. Damon bought his first pig with saved birthday and Christmas money. This will be his second year showing pigs. He used the money he earned at last year’s fairs to purchase four pigs and his own feed this year. Damon likes to call his four pigs the “Royal Flush”. Their names are King, Queen, Jack, and Ace. He is raising one pig as a feeder pig for custom butcher for a family friend. With the remaining three pigs, Damon will show one each at the Grant County Fair, North Central Washington Fair in Waterville and Adams County Fair in Othello.
Being a 4-H member is a long standing tradition in the Sahli family. Damon’s mom, Summer, was enrolled in 4-H from 3rd grade through high school and is still a volunteer for the 4-H program today. His dad, Sean, was also a member of 4-H as a child. They even have a tack box that has been passed down through four generations that Damon’s maternal Great Grandpa used when he was a 4-H leader. The Sahli family has a love for animals and together they have three lambs, four pigs, two horses, a dog, a cat and two kids.
Damon makes sure his pigs feeders are always full and heavily monitors their diet as Fair approaches to determine whether they need more or less feed. He tracks how many bags he has fed his pigs over the course of preparing for Fair. He checks their water often and says the "Royal Flush" prefers cold water. While they eat in the evening, he cleans their pen and sits with them to keep them company. After they’re evening meal, he walks them for exercise and to help them build muscle. He and his dad built quite the pen to house his four pigs. It has a shaded area and a fan to keep his pigs cool as well as a water dispenser. Damon’s goal is to raise the “perfect show and market pig”. He must be prepared for questions that the judges may ask such as identifying the notch on his pig’s ear and the most common disease pigs can contract. Damon pointed out the notches on his pig’s ears and explained that the notches identify a pig’s litter and which pig in the litter it is. This gives each pig a unique identity number. Damon is also entered in the Livestock Judging contest where he will observe and evaluate a set of animals and judge them based on a standard that is accepted as ideal.
Along with caring for the "Royal Flush", he is required to attend a certain number of 4-H meetings and create an education poster relating to his pig for each fair. He and his fellow club members pick up garbage at Quincy Lakes to fulfill their community service hours commitment. Their fundraising project is selling ice cream cones during the Dru Gimlin 3 on 3 basketball tournament in Quincy.
Damon says the hardest thing about raising an animal is the responsibility of taking care of them, teaching them how to walk, getting them familiar with you, loading them on and off the trailer, and watching his pigs go at the end of Fair.
Damon’s favorite part of being involved in 4-H are the fun activities he gets to be involved in and the friends he has made. Keep a look out for Damon and King at the Grant County Fair.