Peyton Pratt is just one of many local teens preparing their animals for the County Fair

By Victoria Martinez

Tank and 14-year-old Peyton Pratt have a special relationship.

“The first hour, I had him laying on my lap,” Peyton said.

The animal she was snuggling with wasn’t a typical domestic pet, but rather a 2-month-old, 58-pound Hampshire Cross pig. Now weighing in at 230 pounds, Tank and Peyton will compete in the swine market and showmanship categories at the Santa Barbara County Fair later this month.

Peyton, an incoming freshman at Santa Ynez Valley Union High School and member of the Lucky Clover 4-H Club in Los Olivos, has spent the majority of her free time the past four months working with Tank and preparing to compete.

“I enjoy working with my pigs and spending time with them,” she said.

Tank enjoys his personal mud hole across the street from the Pratts’ house in Dan and Jo Agin’s front yard.

Peyton competed in swine for the first time at last year’s fair, so she understood what it would take to do well this time around. She takes Tank out for a walk every day around her family’s property and their surrounding neighborhood. The pig has even created his own mud hole across the street in Dan and Jo Agin’s front yard.

“He’s such a goof,” Dan laughed.

Peyton said Tank wasn’t born with his endearing personality, but that she conditioned him to have it.

“You’ve got to work hard and you have to have a lot of patience. If you want to do well, you have to work every single day,” she said.

Peyton and Tank’s hard work is expected to pay off.  At the fair’s preliminary Exhibit Day, they took third in overall showmanship and Grand Championship in market.

“Not everyone can have control enough to have their pig like this. You don’t see this very often,” Agin added.

Both of Peyton’s parents participated and competed in 4-H in their youth. Her mother, June, also competed in swine. And Peyton’s grandfather, Ron Long, was June’s 4-H leader back when it was Solvang 4-H.

June has enjoyed watching her daughter learn and grow through this experience.

“You don’t see it every day, someone walking up and down the street with their pig,” June said.

Peyton said she is excited to see how she and Tank perform at the fair. After they compete and he is sold, Peyton will put any winnings into paying back the costs of Tank’s upkeep and the purchase of next year’s pig. The remaining funds will go into her college fund.

Once the fair is over and Tank is gone, Peyton says, she will be feel OK because she will know he had a great life while in her care.

“I’m going to be sad to not have him, but next year, who knows? It could be better,” she said with a smile.

Peyton believes more youth need to understand what agriculture is, where their food comes from, and the processes involved.

The Santa Barbara County Fair will take place at the Santa Maria Fairpark at 937 South Thornburg St. in Santa Maria from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily from July 12-16.

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