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Hogs bring families together at county fair

Jul 29, 2014 By Eric Blom, Staff Writer

The Crippen family started breeding pigs to support local competition.

Hogs and the fair are family affairs for Trish Crippen.

She has volunteered at the Fremont County Fair and Rodeo for 15 years.

"What I enjoy is just going and seeing every kid and seeing their animal project or going to the hall and seeing their big items --see what they've sewed or their leather craft," Crippen said.

She also is the community leader for the Trivalley 4-H club based in Missouri Valley.

Sewing

Crippen got her start in fair as a child, mostly sewing and showing clothes.

"One year I made a corduroy jacket and pants," she said. "I got to go to state and model that outfit. That was kind of a cool highlight."

Her sisters Jody Post and Bessie Cantrell also showed at fair, and the three still are close.

"We were laughing because we were looking for pictures, and I did find some old pictures of us in our clothes that we sewed and modeled," she said. "We were making fun of each other's hair dos back then."

To the hogs

Crippen did not get her start with hogs until she had children of her own.

Her son and daughter were in 4-H and showed projects at the county fair. Then they decided to start to raise swine.

"I've always liked pigs, and where we live at it was easy to set up and do that," Crippen said.

After a while, she and her husband Darren were convinced to expand the pig operation.

"My kids, after they had to sell their pigs, they were very sad, so they talked Darren and I into starting to raise them," Crippen said.

For several years, the family bred hogs and sold some to other fair kids who would raise and show them, she said.

Eventually, her sisters got into the business as well.

The Crippen family's hog operation was called Paradise Hogs, Post's family had their own called Riverview Bottom Hogs, and Cantrell's family's was Lakeview Hogs.

Crippen and her husband stopped raising pigs for this year, she said. Her sisters still breed pigs, but Crippen thinks she won the sibling rivalry.

"I'm going to have to say it's me because they have all my breeding stock now," she said.

Family at the fair

Fair is still something the women share: The three sisters all volunteer with the Trivalley club and at the week-long annual fair.

During fair week, Crippen spends much of her time in the swine barn, helping the kids with their animals, operating the gate at swine shows and shooing hogs with a swine board.

She also helps her club run recycling bins. The group has two cardboard boxes used to collect recyclables, such as cans and plastic bottles. Crippen makes sure the kids empty the bins when the containers are full and take the collected items to the Riverton recycling centers.

Even though her children do not participate in fair anymore, fair week is a busy time for Crippen.

"I'll also be running to all my other barns and making sure my leaders have everything under control and my kids know what they're doing," she said.

Sometimes, she still calls on the skills she developed as a girl.

"Just the other day I got to sew with one of my first-year members --we got to sew some little shorts up," she said. "So I still get to sew; that's nice."

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