The weatherman is always asked about the weather, an accountant always answers questions about taxes and if you want to know the best thing on a menu, always ask the chef. In this business, I get asked a few questions from time to time about pigs, feed and my family, but lately, the only question I get asked is “what kind of sow do I breed to Swagger?”
I can only speak for my experience and this sowherd, but in general, Swagger works best on tall shouldered, good built sows that are inside their skeleton front and rear. Muscle shape is usually not a question – he is a stress carrier and sires that way. Swagger offspring can be longer bodied than the average but proportionally, they do not come out of balance in their build or topline. Their ability to flesh, soften and get fat will be dependent on the sow, the way they’re fed and maturity. He will add bone as long as the sow is not frail featured and typically generates stout features at every indicator. Most importantly, regardless of sow, he sires a functional, correct skeleton with top end ‘running gear.’
The San Antonio Stock Show is arguably the toughest barrow show in the country and last week, Swagger continued an impressive run as a sire. The Champion Cross & Reserve Grand Overall was bred by Stevenson & Lacy with semen purchased in the auction last year. The Champion Lightweight Cross & Reserve Champion Lightweight Dark Cross were littermates bred by Curry Allen, also produced with semen purchased in last years auction. The Reserve Champion Dark Cross was bred here and many others placed and made the sale. These wins followed an impressive double win in the Crosses at Ft Worth with the Champion being named Reserve Grand Overall.
If you’re ringside at a show like San Antonio, a couple things about Swagger barrows usually separate them from the rest. As a whole, his offspring have a unique look and a commanding ring presence. Their high head carriage is natural and they seem to know when its showtime. But perhaps the most distinctive Swagger trait is their mobility. Soundness, flexibility and the basic ability to ‘go’ long enough in the showring without breaking down is more important than its ever been. There are exceptions to every rule, but the best Swagger’s can ‘go’ a long time and that alone can separate them from the pack.
Right or wrong, breeders are often defined by a boar or sow that change their course and pave the way for success. There’s no doubt, Swagger has been that changer here at HH. Over a short period of time he has silenced doubters and impressed many…including the toughest critics. In January, I had the opportunity to see Swagger’s mother at Kip Smith’s in Hereford, TX. Oddly enough, it was that moment that everything came into focus and I finally understood why he’s special. Its simple really, his mother is one of the most impressive – if not the best – sows I’ve ever seen. Her incredible build, stature and presence is not easily replicated but her son passing those traits to his offspring. Congrats to Kip & Liz for breeding a genetic giant.
For now, Swagger is still going strong but his staying power will continue to be measured by his sons, daughters and his progeny in the showring. Swagger’s sons are few but those that are out there are doing a great job in their first crops. My confidence grows each day in his daughters and their ability to be sows that generate.
Like last year, the decision has been made to offer Swagger semen at auction for March-May collections. The 80 doses offered will be sold online on March 4th at www.showpig.com. This will be the only Swagger semen sold this spring so don’t miss out!
No one can predict the future and there will always be plenty of unanswered questions but I can say with absolute certainty, if they’re sired by Swagger…#theygotswag and a whole lot more.