Although his age hasn’t quite reached double digits, Jacob Swatsell has already earned nine showmanship buckles competing in various junior livestock events with his pigs.

Overall, the Erath County 9-year-old has brought home so many that he wasn’t quite sure of the exact total. He estimated that it’s either 26 or 27.

“I think pigs are a little easier (than some other show animals),” said Jacob, who spends many of his weekends at jackpot junior livestock events. “You’ve just got to work, train them and love on them.”

Jacob is a fourth-grader at White Horse Christian Academy. He is a member of the White Horse Chapter of the Erath County 4-H Club. 

He lives with his parents, Jason and Angie Swatsell, on a farm near Huckabay. Angie had experience in junior livestock shows with steers, pigs and rabbits when she was a student in the Henrietta school system.

Jacob also competes in numerous play days, with his horse, Tabasco.

“I’ve got lots of buckles with that, too,” Jacob said.

Despite that success, the buckle Jacob was wearing when he was interviewed for this story by the E-T seemed to be — based on his smile — the one he cherishes the most. 

That’s because it belonged to his older brother Paul T. Morgan, who he never had a chance to know. Paul T. tragically died 10 years ago, at age 21, as a result of a traffic accident. That buckle was a prize Paul T. earned as a champion in a team roping event. 

Jacob’s half-brother, Jeffery Swatsell, is a 13-year-old 8th grader at Henderson Junior High who made a big impact in the junior livestock world in 2017. That was when Jeffery’s gilt (female pig) entry at the State Fair in Dallas won the title of supreme grand champion.

“He probably likes more aspects of it than Jacob does,” said their father, Jason, who owns and operates a farming and trucking business. “(Jeffery) likes the more challenging pigs … the ones that have a little harder attitude.”

At last year’s Erath County show, Jeffery’s pig was the reserve grand champion. The one he entered in 2016 in Erath County won the showmanship title.

Following this week’s Junior Livestock Show of Erath County, Jacob will be going on to compete in major upcoming shows in Fort Worth, San Angelo, San Antonio, Houston and Austin.

Jeffery lives with his biological mother, Amanda, north of Stephenville. He played football his seventh-grade year, and now plays trombone in the school band at Henderson. Jeffery also stays busy doing play days with his horse.

Jacob has been showing pigs, but is considering other types of animals in the future. His longterm schedule is starting to look quite busy.

“I want to do cows,” he said. “I’ll probably do pigs most of my life. I’ll probably squeeze in a few sports — baseball, football, soccer, basketball. Next year I’m going to play a little flag football — and go to eight or nine jackpots, and then we’ll be done.”