Bulger's Beat: 4-H teaches lifetime of learning by doing - WSMV News 4

Bulger's Beat: 4-H teaches lifetime of learning by doing

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It was a blue-ribbon day in Murfreesboro for young men and women who raise, take care of and then show off their prized hogs.

Bigger than the Super Bowl, for these kids, the State Junior Market Hog Show is a Rutherford County 4-H Club tradition, where the pigskin has nothing to do with touchdowns.

"It's important you're not too fast. Look like you're in control of your animal," said competitor Sara Garmezy.

When Garmezy, 18, says she grew up with pigs, she's not kidding. She first appeared in a Channel 4 story when she was 10 years old and still learning the dos and don'ts.

A red-checkered shirt and blue ribbons in her back pocket back then, not much has changed.

"I do have a blue ribbon right here," she said.

In rural Tennessee, 4-H kids raise their hogs and get to know them from head to hoof.

City folk are kindly invited to spend time around the learning tables, but for a four-time state champ, there's not much left for Garmezy to learn.

In a way, Wednesday really was her last rodeo.

"Definitely sad about it, but excited to know I'm moving forward on to college," she said.

A lifetime of blue-ribbon memories earned in a short time.

"So rewarding - all the work paid off great," Garmezy said.

4-H programs like that great one in Murfreesboro take place in 80 countries around the world. Its slogan has always been "Learn By Doing," and just think of the things you learn when the life of a 200-pound pig is in your 10-year-old hands for an entire year.

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