ALIA RODGERS – SHOWMAN SPOTLIGHT
NATIONAL WESTERN RESERVE GRAND CHAMPION HOG
Tell us about yourself:
My name is Alia Rodgers, and I’m from Napa, California. I am 19 years old and have shown livestock for ten years now. When I was young, my parents involved my sister and I in their company that managed vineyards in the Napa Valley. While I found my dads talks of the vineyards interesting, I knew I did not want to be involved in that type of agriculture for the rest of my life. Apart from my summer stays to see my grandparents in Blossom, Texas, livestock was not a huge part of my life. After beginning to show pigs when I was ten, I was hooked and have never looked back. I am currently attending Utah State University but plan to transfer to Texas A&M in the fall to study animal nutrition and meat sciences.
Tell us how you got involved in showing:
My 4-H leader got me a Duroc when I was ten that I named Hammy and although I had no idea how to show or train a pig, I won champion Duroc at the 2013 Napa Town and Country Fair. That absolutely spiraled my love for this industry and started going to local jackpot shows quickly after that. Ever since then, my family and I have found our place in this industry with some of the best friends we have ever met and that is truly what has made us love it so much.
Highlight some of your success that means the most to you:
There are three moments that have defined my show career for me. My first time ever going to the World Pork Expo in Des Moines in 2017, I was able to get 5th Overall Purebred Gilt. This was an absolute shock being a girl from California who just barely got over winning her first jackpot the year before. The next was at the 2019 Napa Fair where my sister and I won Grand and Reserve Overall in the show. That would be one of the last times my sister and I will ever step in the show ring together and that moment is one I will remember with her for the rest of my life. The last was this year at the National Western, I was able to get Reserve Supreme Champion Barrow. I always viewed the NWSS as a show far above my pay grade and nothing I would ever have a shot at. My barrow, CJ, was the only one we fed for that particular show and while I loved him dearly, I always told myself to be happy with a placing in class. Although all wins are an absolute blessing, this one took the cake and I will never be able to forget how I felt that day.
Tell us about your interests and hobbies:
I would like to say I have many hobbies besides raising livestock, but in all honesty this is all I want to do. I enjoy shooting some photography and swimming, but I devote most of my time to working at the barn and to school.
What are your future goals?
While I do not know exactly what path I want to take for my career quite yet, I would like to work in animal nutrition and meat sciences. I know I want to work within the swine industry, I just am not sure where that may take me quite yet.
Tell us the most challenging moment in your show career:
I remember my second year, I won my first ever showmanship competition at my country fair. I thought I was a hotshot until I went to my first jackpot and I realized that it did not matter. It was that day in my show career it dawned on me that my past achievements meant nothing if I do not work hard enough to make them happen again. I began to idolize and study those who won the Senior and Intermediate showmanship and I worked hard enough so I had a chance to just compete with them. Seeing how far I have come makes me incredibly grateful and in absolute disbelief.
Tell us the most rewarding moment in your show career:
A few years ago, a girl only a few years younger than me asked if I could help her with showmanship. It was at that moment I knew I had achieved everything I wanted to because just a few years before that was me. Fast forward to now, this girl is one of my best friends and since then I have been able to help others learn how to show pigs. It really is a dream come true.
If you could offer a new showman one piece of advice what would it be and why?
I would say, never be afraid to ask for help. No matter how many banners you have, there is always more to be learned. You can never let a past result be your confidence leading to the next show. Whether it be a spectacular market animal or pristine skin and hair, let your livestock and showmanship do the talking, not the buckle you have on your belt.
What keeps you working hard and striving to be better each day?
The one thing that always keeps me going is the incredible people I have surrounded myself with. Even when I am tired or have had a bad day, they can keep me focused on the amazing parts of this industry, not the parts that try to tear you down.
What is the most important tip you could give any showman?
Win as graciously as you lose. As much as I love winning a banner while showing livestock, a loss is not the end of the world. No amount of bad mouthing the judge (I know everyone has done it) or the livestock or even the showman will take back the banners. Just remember that you cannot let your pride be your eyes and cloud your judgment as you walk throughout your life. Be humble and learn to love every result.
What do you hope other showman see or think about you when they are at a show?
I hope that they see a friendly face who they can always ask for help or even just a hug if they need it.
When your years of showing are over what do you hope people will remember about you?
Although people remembering achievements is incredible, I just hope people always recognize the work that went into the banners. I do not want to be defined by the banners I may or may not have hung, I just want people to think I at least deserved what I have gotten.
Where do you see yourself in 5 Years?
This is hard because I am not sure. I hope to be a part of this industry, working a job that I love with incredible people by my side. Other than that, I am taking it by year and seeing where this crazy life takes me.
What’s one thing you want to accomplish in the showing?
One more thing I want to accomplish is to walk a pig I have bred and raised into a show ring. I do not care as much about the placing, but it has and always will be a dream of mine until it hopefully one day comes true.
Who do you look up to? Who do you strive to be in life? Who motivates you?
This may be the hardest question I have been asked. It is an absolute toss up between my mom and my dad. My dad is the hardest working person I have ever met and has the biggest heart. He wants to help every person her ever meets and has prioritized my family above himself my entire life. My mom on the other hand is so full of life and her laugh is absolutely contagious. She is so incredibly smart, beautiful and cares about everyone she has ever met. I will be lucky to be half the people they are.