Repeat was a repeat for Talawanda High School senior Matt Butterfield when he took his 280-pound market barrow to the Ohio State Fair and came home as Grand Champion for the second year in a row.
As if that accomplishment was not enough, his hog, Repeat, brought $48,000 in the Sale of Champions, the highest price paid for any champion at this year’s sale — a top price that traditionally goes to a market beef winner.
This year, the top beef winner brought in $41,500.
Butterfield admitted to a little extra nervousness showing this year’s market barrow after last year’s championship.
“I was more nervous when I went in the second time. It doesn’t matter how many times you go in, you’re nervous,” Butterfield said. “You never go in with the mindset we’re going to win. We go in knowing our pigs are always good and see how it works out.”
It worked out well this year as he went into the ring at the Ohio State Fair, nervous or not. Although he said a year ago, that win was a “once-in-a-lifetime thing” he was determined to make it a repeat performance.
He won last year with a barrow named Hollywood and his grandmother, Patricia Butterfield, suggested naming this year’s entry Repeat.
Butterfield took the suggestion but downplayed the name during the competition for fear of appearing too overconfident about winning again.
The odds were against a repeat win since back-to-back championships had only happened once before, in 1974 and 1975.
“I wanted to do good, not ever thinking we’d win,” he said.
He had raised five barrows this year and had taken two of them to the Butler County Fair, selling one of them. He took the remaining four to the Ohio State Fair, and Repeat was the last of the four to show in the judging ring.
“I showed two and they both placed second in their class,” he said, adding he asked a friend to show the third while he prepared Repeat for his judging. That third hog also took second.
“I showed Repeat last. I was getting scared I was going to get second all day,” he said.
While some of the judging is based on numbers, like the weight, a lot of the decision is subjective.
“They want to pick the barrow that best represents the industry. They want to represent what the industry sees as the best and that changes over time. Breeders need to keep up and know what it will be in a year or two,” said Matt’s father, Mark Butterfield, a Talawanda school board member.
Repeat, like Hollywood before him, was purchased at the Sale of Champions by Meijer Foods, paying that top sale price this year after spending $41,000 a year ago.
“It’s a lot of hard work, but it’s fun,” Butterfield said. The show “is really the main thing you’re looking forward to … no matter how you place, it always pays off.”