Over 1,800 boys and girls, with their prized barrow and gilt in tow began arriving at the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines on Tuesday, June 7.

Billed as the largest junior pedigreed barrow and gilt show in the world, the World Pork Expo’s four-day Junior National swine show surpassed last year’s total entries with this year’s 1,812 entries.

The junior competition will begin at noon on Wednesday, June 8. Purebreds from the eight major breeds – Berkshire, Chester White, Duroc, Hampshire, Landrace, Poland China, Spotted, Yorkshire – and crossbreds will be shown. The event is hosted jointly by the National Junior Swine Association (NJSA) and Team Purebred, representing those breeds.

In addition, the young participants will participate in the Youth Pork Quality Assurance program and compete in showmanship and judging contests.

The WPX Junior National has seen a continued rise in participation since its inception in 2004. “It has been amazing to watch the Junior National grow faster than any other purebred junior swine show in America,” comments NASR CEO Darrell Anderson. “This event truly gives the kids a chance to be exposed to the total industry with all the other activities in the pork industry going on at the World Pork Expo. It is exciting and it shows that we still have lots of kids interested in the pork industry,” he says.

Sarah Schwab, NSR junior activities coordinator, says this year's entries come from 26 states – literally from coast-to-coast. "We have participants from California to Maryland, from North Dakota to Texas. It's incredible to see how far these kids and their families come to take part in this exciting event. We put a lot of time into this to make the overall experience as rewarding as possible for all participants, not just the winners of the contests," Schwab says.

More information about the WPX Junior National is available at: http://www.nationalswine.com/Shows_Events_index.html.