Agricultural History Series
Missouri State University
1904 St. Louis World's Fair
The World's Fair Hog shows began on October 5, 1904. It was a huge exhibition of hogs - 2,454 head were entered and 1,827 head exhibited. The weather cooled down as the hogs arrived. It had been quite hot as the pigs were brought to St. Louis in crates on trains. In fact, a few head died en route to the fair due to the heat. The grounds and pens were a bit muddy when the hogs arrived, but that was only a minor discomfort for the exhibitors and not a discomfort at all for the hogs.
Like the sheep exhibitors, the hog exhibitors complained when they learned that the hog shows would be held in the Livestock Forum. This meant that their animals would have to be driven to the large arena quite some distance away. The fair management did not back down on the show location. Exhibitors then fashioned panels that they could use to drive their animals to and from the Forum so that they did not get away. There were only a few problems with boars getting into fights to, from or in the Forum.
Hogs showing in the Livestock Forum
The hog judging was to be using "expert" judges in a single judge system. However, there were so many complaints in nearly every hog breed that by the third day, four judges had been assigned assistant judges. The Breeder's Gazette commented on this spectacle, remarking that complaints about the judging system at the World's Fair would be a disgrace at a county fair, let alone at a World's Fair. It was noted that the complaints were so bad in one class, that the livestock Superintendent ruled that the animals in the class should be shown again under a different judge. However, the exhibitors who had placed well in that class refused to bring their animals back into the show ring. Eventually, the original placings stood.
A catalog was available during the hog shows. Although it was incomplete, it was the first of the livestock shows to have a catalog available for spectators to purchase. Total prize money offered in the swine shows was $55,610. This came from the World's Fair and the various hog breed associations. The hog show ended on October 15 with the selection of the Premier Exhibitor and the Premier Breeder in each breed. Large banners were presented to those winners.
References: The Breeder's Gazette, October 12, 1904; St. Louis Republic, October 5, 1904; Farmer Stockman, October 20, 1904; Bennit, History of the Louisiana Purchase Exposition.
Photo from The Breeder's Gazette.
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