Athens Review, Athens, Texas

March 22, 2013

This pig’s a big deal

LaPoynor student takes top honors in Market Swine Show

Jeff Riggs
The Athens Review

Athens — After consideration of about 250 swine and after more than five hours of judging and qualifying members of class after class by weight, Luke Mills, 11, who attends classes at LaPoynor Junior High, won Grand Champion in the Market Swine category at the Henderson County Livestock Show late Thursday. Reserve Grand Champion honors went to Malakoff resident Josie Driskill.

Mills showed a 266-pound Hampshire swine as his entry into the competition.  He said this is not his first time.

“My sister, Cherith, got me interested when she was showing hogs,” he said. “I just wasn’t old enough at the time.  Now, I have been showing hogs for the past four years.”

Mills also showed the Henderson County Livestock Show Reserve Champion Duroc in 2012, in his class with a Hampshire.

Mills has two older brothers, Joshua Cole, 25, and Daniel Cole, 27.  They have shown pigs, steers and rabbits.

“I feel great and very pleased,” Luke said. “I was confident from the beginning, because I saw that the judge was looking at my pig a lot.”

Luke is the son of Mark and Marsha Mills. His mother said pig farming is a tradition in their family.

“He comes from a long line of pig farmers. His great-grandfather, my father, was a pig farmer,” Marsha Mills, who is principal of LaPoynor Elementary, said. “Now we do it on 20 acres outside of Athens. We work very hard as a family to help each other, and do the work necessary.”

Luke said he wants to continue raising pigs, but with his love of that activity, it probably will not be his profession in life.

“I want to be a pro-basketball player,” he said. “After graduation, I’d like to go to either Baylor or Texas Tech. My major is undecided.  The good Lord has a blessing waiting.”