It’s a Family Affair: The Kelso Krew Kolton, Karson, Kross and Kase
aising hogs is in the DNA of the four Kelso grandsons. Dating back to 1941 with grandma Sylvia’s family, this group is firmly rooted in the swine industry. When Sylvia married Rodney the boy’s grandparents really made their mark on the show pig industry, taking home champion banners every decade dating back all the way to 1950. Fast-forward to the present, and Kelso & Sons Show Pigs is far from slowing down, because the youngest generation of Kelso’s are following in their family’s footsteps, leading them straight to the show ring. The four Kelso boys, Kolton, Karson, Kross and Kase, all live and work on the family farm located in Seguin. The operation has changed over the years where it now consists of 85 sows and 10 boars, with breeds including York, Duroc, Hampshire and Crossbred seedstock and show pigs. Raising and showing hogs is truly a family production for the Kelso bunch. The grandparents, parents and children all enjoy spending time in the barn, farrowing sows, feeding hogs, and working with their projects. The boys are proud to say that the majority of their show hogs are “homegrown,” raising, training and showing the majority of their own livestock. Kolton, Karson, Kross and Kase are all in agreement when it comes to their favorite part of raising hogs. “Being successful in the ring with hogs we raised is our favorite part,” said Karson, the 13-year-old son of Kurt and Stepheny. “It’s also satisfying to see how proud our parents and grandparents are when we are showing, whether we win or lose!” replied Kross.
Age: 16 years old School: Junior, Marion High School. 4-H/FFA chapter: Marion FFA and New Berlin 4-H Club Accomplishment: Grand Champion Barrow at the Guadalupe County Show, SALE Open Gilt Show Champion Hampshire, 2010 Star of Texas Champion Duroc Favorite hog: Miss Poly Future goals: Place at every Texas major Likes: Hunting, cross-country and shooting sports events. Future plans: Texas A&M, wildlife management
Age: 13 years old School: 7th grade, Marion Middle School. 4-H/FFA chapter: Marion FFA and New Berlin 4-H Club Accomplishments: Placing at every major show at least once, 10th place AllAround division NJSA, 2014 SALE placing 2nd in swine skill-a-thon and 4th in beef skill-a-thon Favorite hog: Batman Future goals: Win Houston and SALE Likes: Football and baseball Future plans: Texas A&M and raise hogs. In fact, the four Kelso boys credit much of their success to their grandparents and parents. All four of them say that their dad’s and grandfather, Opa, have helped them the most in all of their endeavors. The oldest of the Kelso grandchildren, Konni, is now a college graduate and employee of Cargill Pork would help the two oldest Kelso boys, Kolton and Karson, before she went to college. Looking back they say they greatly appreciate all of Konni’s help, but admit to having to remind Opa and their dad’s that they aren’t Konni and do some things differently. Like so many livestock exhibitors, the boys
Champion Pedigree Rodney Sylvia
Stepheny Kurt Kyle Shell
Konni Karson Kase Kolton Kross Kodi
have had to learn how to balance school and sports with their responsibilities on the farm. Aside from showing advice, the older generations of Kelso’s have passed on words of wisdom to their youngsters. When asked, each boy gave a different response as to what they have learned from the family—Kase: “never give up,” Kross: “always do your best,” Karson: “being a success doesn’t always mean you will win,” and Kolton: “if you work hard in the beginning it will pay off in the end.” It’s these words that they too are passing on to the youngest grandkid Kodi, the first grader anxiously awaiting her chance to join 4-H. Tradition runs deep in this close-knit family. All four of them began showing when they were three years old, getting their start in the open gilt show at the San Antonio Livestock Exposition (SALE), noting that this is the entire family’s favorite show, considering it their “hometown” show. “We all love San Antonio,” said Kolton, the oldest of the Kelso boys. “We have a lot of friends that show there and it’s where we started.”
Additionally, they showed at various jackpot shows across Texas. When each of the boy’s became eligible to enter all of the shows, the family kicked it into high gear. The boys show year round, attending all Texas majors, Guadalupe County Youth Show, State Fair of Texas, Fall Classic, Belt Buckle Bonanza and numerous jackpot and prospect shows. The Kelso Krew are longtime members and supporters of the National Junior Swine Association (NJSA), giving them the opportunity to also travel across the country, competing at the NJSA Southwest Regional and the National Junior Swine Spectacular. In 2014, Kolton and Karson showed at the World Pork Expo for the first time, and are very excited to add that trip to the show roster. The National Junior Summer Spectacular, held in Louisville, Ky., ranks second on the Kelso kids list of favorite shows. Running the hog operation, along with their cattle, doesn’t leave much time for vacations, so the Kelso’s make the Summer Spectacular their annual family
retreat. At the show the kids compete in showmanship, the barrow and gilt show, as well as educational contests such as livestock judging, photography and the swine skill-a-thon. This show gives the kids a chance to spend time with their friends from other parts of the country, and the family gets to enjoy some time away from the show ring, visiting local tourist attractions like Churchill Downs, Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom, the Louisville Zoo and Slugger Museum. The Kelso Family have made show pigs their history and they are making it their future; a future that is looking very bright with the hard work and leadership of these passionate and capable new-comers. With the constant support and guidance of their seasoned grandparents and parents, Kolton, Karson, Kross and Kase are all forging their individual paths of success in the show ring, and we look forward to seeing where it takes them. Some would say it’s a kalling; with them it can be kompetitive; it’s sometimes krazy and komical; there’s no komparison; they are the Kelso Krew.
Age: 10 years old School: 4th grade student at Marion Elementary 4-H/FFA chapter: Marion FFA and New Berlin 4-H Club Accomplishment: First belt buckle in 2013 at the Seguin Swine Breeders Prospect Show, 2-time showmanship winner State Fair of Texas, 2014 GCYS Champion Duroc Favorite hog: Champion Future goals: Win Houston Likes: Baseball and football Future plans: Be a NFL player
Age: 9 years old School: 3rd grader at Marion Elementary 4-H/FFA chapter: Marion FFA and New Berlin 4-H Club Accomplishment: Rookie of the Year 2015 GCYS, first buckle 2014 Seguin Swine Breeders Prospect Show, 2014 State Fair of Texas 1st swine skill-a-thon Favorite hog: Kevin Future goals: Win more buckles than my sister, Konni Likes: Football and baseball. Future plans: Be a NFL player, Monster Truck Driver and a hog farmer