East Feliciana Parish 4-H members Rebecca Stringer and Sophie Hopkins didn’t expect to leave the state livestock show last week in Gonzales with piles of ribbons and awards.

The first-time hog exhibitors were just happy to make it to the state show. They got to the big stage after competing in parish and district shows.

“You’ve got to start somewhere,” said Kristy Stringer, Rebecca’s mom.

The 4-Hers said they competed this year for the fun they experience in the barns and for the lessons from expereinced 4-H exhibitors.

The annual LSU 4-H/FFA State Livestock Show was last week at the Lamar-Dixon Expo Center in Gonzales. Livestock exhibitors from around the state showed hogs, cattle, goats, lambs and poultry.

Stringer, who attends Zachary Christian Academy, and Hopkins, who is home-schooled, are members of the East Feliciana Parish 4-H Club.

They said their participation in the club has resulted in friendships and lessons in responsibility. The girls said they have to feed and water their hogs each day and spend time practicing exhibition techniques before each show.

It takes lots of work and dedication to learn how to maneuver a 200-pound hog when you weigh 50 pounds, the girls said.

They credited 4-H Agent Leanna Cupit with teaching them the techniques needed to prepare for the livestock shows. They also picked up tips from other, more experienced 4-H members.

The girls spent their down time feeding and preparing their hogs for exhibition.

Rebecca showed her hog Cleo, and Sophie exhibited Priscilla.

Both girls said they hope to continue showing livestock.

“It’s great experience, and it’s something we can do as a family,” Kristy Stringer said.