Jentrie Eldridge carries on family’s hog tradition at Angelina County Fair

Jentrie Eldridge carries on family’s hog tradition at Angelina County Fair
Jentrie Eldridge with her hog she will show at the Angelina County Fair on Friday, April 19 at the George H. Henderson Expo in Lufkin.

EAST TEXAS - Jentrie Eldridge has shown pigs since she was 3 years old in the Pee Wee show at the Angelina County Youth Fair. It’s a family tradition. Her two older siblings, Tyler and Jordan who are now in their 20s, showed when they were growing up.

Jentrie is the daughter of Sheilla and Clay Eldridge and live int the Beulah community where she is Junior at Diboll High. This will be her 9th year to show in the county fair in just under a month.

A member of Diboll FFA and 4-H, Jentrie states, “I chose to show pigs because it is a family tradition.” She says the best part is getting out and meeting new people.” And that “Diboll FFA has so many freshmen this year and I want them to get our there and expand their horizons.”

Earlier this year, she nearly had a disaster. “In early December our barn caught fire. We don’t know what started it but my grandparents who live across the road saw smoke pouring out of the barn. They quickly ran over and were able to put out fire in one corner of the barn. They soon called my mom and I got out of school to go home and take care of the hogs.”

Jentrie had been raising three hogs for the year: one for Houston, one for the County Fair and a spare one that could be substituted in case one of the others didn’t develop. The fire started at one end. The hog nearest the fire somehow got out of its pen and was spared. The one in the second pen only suffered burns on one rear leg due to the quick action of her grandparents.

None were lost.

She says the hardest part is the feeding. Not the actual daily chore but “selecting what type of feed to give and how much. My parents study this a lot. One day a pig will look a certain way and you may need to change their ration one way or another.”

Her mom Sheilla, says, “Raising show animals has taught Jentrie lots of responsibilities. Jentrie has a passion for showing animals. She has made lots of friends throughout her showing career that share the same interests. Jentrie has been a member of Diboll 4-H for 9 years and a Diboll FFA member for 3 years.”

Last year, as a sophomore, Jentrie show a market wether goat and she’s been showing rabbits since she was a freshman where she placed 10th overall. Her second year showing rabbits she won 3rd and the judge told her “you could have placed in the top 10 at the Houston Stock Show!”

Jentrie has already been the Houston Show this year with another hog. She didn’t make the final placing and ended up being ill most of the show but competing in it accomplished a goal that she’s had for some time.

“I showed at Houston when I was in 3rd and 4th grade but didn’t remember much. I really wanted to go again but my busy schedule kept me from doing that.” Looking ahead to next year, she has set her sights on going all three major stocks in the spring: Fort Worth, San Antonio, and Houston.

Jentrie is truly dedicated to Diboll FFA where she served in leadership roles as well as showing livestock. “Really this is all I do,” she states, “Besides hanging out with friends and working a part-time job.”

This year’s hog show at the Angelina County Fair will be on Friday, April 19 at the George H. Henderson Expo. The entire County Fair is from Monday, April 15 thru Saturday, April 20 concluding with the sale on Saturday evening. The hog show begins at 8 am and will finish up just before lunch. The auction will be Saturday evening in the main arena starting at 4 pm.

Cary Sims is the County Extension Agent for agriculture and natural resources for Angelina County. His email address is cw-sims@tamu.edu.