Don’t Just Dream for it,
WORK FOR IT!
eing the youngest of four children, it’s no surprise that when it was finally his turn, Sonny made the wait worth his while. Sonny Bohannon is the son of Lloyd and Dianna Bohannon of Wellington, Texas. He grew up watching his older siblings, Bo, Brittni and Alabama, in the show ring, patiently (or not so patiently) waiting for it to be his turn. Sonny’s show career began in Dallas at the State Fair; the nervous third grader entered the ring with his big yellow pipe and after that, he
was hooked.It did not take long before the family decided to start raising some of their own. “Bama Show Pigs” began seven years ago; now with six sows the primary focus is Hampshires and Crossbreds. It is safe to say this operation is a family affair. Sonny says his dad is the one always striving for a champion, his mom makes sure they have the prettiest, cleanest pigs going into the ring, and Alabama is Sonny’s biggest fan at every show. Outside of his immediate family is Sonny’s “show family” which includes Mike Clay, who provided the foundation to Bama Show Pigs. Their first
crossbred gilt was purchased with Mike and he still assists in matching genetics. Also, the Walser family has been with Sonny every step of the way. The Walser family hasn’t just helped Sonny out in the show ring; in fact, he recalls being four years old at the Brenham sift when Rodney Walser pulled his tooth with a pair of needle-nose plyers. Rumor has it the tooth fairy felt bad for him and left a twenty dollar bill under his pillow that night. “My favorite part of raising hogs is the anticipation of maybe a Grand Champion coming from one of our litters, or when one of our hogs does really well in the ring. As a breeder, simple success gives me satisfaction, but
“I keep pushing for the big wins!”
Sonny is no stranger to some pretty “big wins.” Bama Show Pigs raised the Reserve Champion Heavy-weight Division Crossbred at the Houston Barrow Show in 2010.
“To see one that we raised and put a lot of work into really compete, those are the moments that make raising hogs special.” His other proud accomplishments in the ring include a first place cross gilt at the CTBR Gilt Show in 2011 that sold for $12,000 and driving the Reserve Champion Light-weight Division Crossbred at the San Antonio Barrow Show in 2010.
It’s no coincidence that his favorite hog also happens to be his biggest win. In 2014 Sonny showed a dark cross that he called “Mr. K,” which he bought from his dad’s high school Ag Teacher, Kenneth Kensing. Sonny went on to win the Reserve Champion Dark Cross banner at the San Antonio Barrow Show with Mr. K., from which the iconic “Sonny Fist Pump” photo was born..
Sonny’s competitive spirit and work ethic has led to more success than just in the ring. As a starting defensive end in just his sophomore year, Sonny helped lead the Wellington Skyrockets football team to a state championship in 2013. His big, shiny ring goes nicely with all of his big, shiny buckles. He also enjoys playing on the Wellington High School Tennnis team..
Don’t let that fool you, Sonny goes beyond brawn with brains. Not only has he has been ranked number one in his high school class for the past 3 years and a member of the National Honor Society, but he also serves as the Vice President of Student Council, class President, and just received his Lone Star FFA Degree this summer.
“Get Busy Livin’ or Get Busy Dyin,” This quote from the movie Shawshank Redemption is Sonny’s favorite, and it’s easy to see Sonny is definitely “gettin’ busy livin.” With his involvement and commitment to so many different organizations and activities, his biggest challenge with raising hogs is managing his time between school, sports, work, and pigs. Although he admits cleaning pens and long nights (and early mornings) with sows during farrowing are some of the not-so-fun parts of raising hogs, Sonny says it best, “I know the value of a hard earned dollar, which is how every dollar in the pig business is earned.”
“The only thing being lazy in this business will get you… is last.” As Sonny starts his senior year his goal is nothing short of ambitious; to win the San Antonio or Houston Barrow Show. Sonny, we wish you the best of luck in and out of the show ring your senior year, as well as with your upcoming college career! We know you have a bright future ahead of you! Like your dad says,
“Show ‘em like you know how to!”
5 Things The Show Ring Does For You... Anyone that’s ever shown an animal knows that there is nothing that compares to what we gain from being a part of the show industry, but sometimes it is hard to explain to others what exactly it is that we have gained. So, we sat down with past showmen from across the state and asked them the simple question, “What did the show ring do for you?” Here is what we got back: 1. “Helped me develop a stong work ethic,” Kristen Knight. Having a show pig means feeding every morning and every night, no matter how early or late it is, how tired you are, or how cold it is outside. 2. “It gave me selfconfidence,”Alabama Bohannon. Imagine being in a ring full of fellow competitors and knowing that there are people in the stands rooting for you. More than that, there is no better feeling than knowing you showed the best you could have and it paid off. 3. “I met my life-long friends,” Weston Wyatt. There is no way you sit in a trailer line for twelve hours and don’t become friends with those people. 4. “Taught me how to move on,” Cameron Knight. There can be many disappointments in showing hogs, but you have to load up and get ready for the next show. Its the same thing in life. 5. “It gave me a passion to educate others on the swine industry,” Peyton Hill. Once you become a part of the swine industry it is easy to see how uneducated the public is and how important it is to change that.