A young Lebanon County woman earned top honors at the Pennsylvania Farm Show this year with a pig named Drake.
Madison Bomgardner, a 2023 graduate of Northern Lebanon High School, took Drake to Harrisburg and, together, earned the title of Grand Champion Market Hog on Jan. 7. Two days later, Hatfield purchased Drake at the annual sale of champions for a winning bid of $10,000.
Madison’s mother, Katie Bomgardner, told LebTown that this is the 18-year-old competitor’s ninth year showing at the state Farm Show. She’s now a freshman at Penn State University’s main campus, where she majors in animal science.
“This project was a team effort of her and her older brother Colby,” Katie Bomgardner said in an email, “and as parents, it was really neat to see them work together and actually win the highest honors.”
The family purchased Drake, the proud mother said, from a Maryland breeder in early September.
Colby, she noted, graduated from Penn State in 2022 with an animal science degree. While on campus, he was active with the Block & Bridle Club (for students working with beef, horses, sheep, and swine) and competed nationally with the livestock judging team. Although he works full-time as a layer poultry flock supervisor for JWM Poultry in Mount Joy, he “took the reins so far as the nutrition and care of the pigs” because Madison was studying full-time at PSU.
“She did come home two weekends or so a month to help as much as she could,” Katie said. Once the fall term ended on Dec. 15, Maddie was “able to take over the daily feeding, training and skin and hair care of Drake with Colby’s supervision and expertise on the feed rations.”
Last summer, Katie said, the siblings “traveled to several jackpot shows across the state showing her Lebanon Fair pigs.” The trips gave them “lots of time and miles to bond over their love of showing, competing and livestock.”
Katie Bomgardner noted that 20 percent of proceeds from the Farm Show champions sale goes into the scholarship fund. This year, Madison took home a $5,000 scholarship from the show, and Penn State added an additional $2,000 to the package.
Colby, she noted, won the Champion Market Hog division at the Farm Show in 2011 when he was just 10 years old. He was “eager to relive that experience with his sister,” she said. “One of my favorite memories was the tears in their eyes and the gigantic hug they gave each other when they realized they actually accomplished their dream.”
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