That’s one BIG boar!
This hog would definitely give Wilbur the pig from Charlotte’s Web notoriety a run for his money.
Charlie, a large hog fed on a farm south of Dodge Center, earned the distinction of being state’s largest boar at the Minnesota State Fair last month. He weighed in at a whopping 1,180 pounds. The 4-year-old boar, which measures at 7 feet long and 44 inches tall, belonged to Greg Schley before he was sold and delivered after the fair to a hog producer in Deer River located in northern Minnesota.
Schley is happy with Charlie’s success at becoming the largest boar in Minnesota. “I did it to win,” he said. “I did it to prove a point that I could do it. I was pretty happy about it otherwise it was all a wasted effort,” he added.
Asked how the boar got so big, Schley smiled and said, “That’s the secret.” With a sense of humor, Schley went on to say, “I fed him people like you.”
Seriously, Schley said, he has a particular way in which he fed the hog to get him to bulk up. He estimates he fed Charlie about 2,000 pounds of feed over the past three months leading up to the State Fair. “I fed him just like you would a show pig,” he said.
Schley bought the boar, which is a crossbred of Hampshire and Duroc, from a friend last winter. Since then, Schley has been planning to make him the state’s largest. The Minnesota State Fair has special contest each year dating back to 1976 where the largest boar in the state is displayed in the hog barn.
“It has been a big tradition at the fair,” Schley said. “You can’t even get in the barn because it’s such a big draw. If you would get 50 cents for every picture taken, you would be a rich man.”
Charlie’s stardom raised a $600 premium for Schley. But with a $300 veterinary bill and an estimated $1,500 feed bill, it’s not going to be a lucrative venture. “What hobby do you make any money at?” he asked.
The largest boar to ever win the contest tipped the scales at 1,400 pounds, according to Schley. This isn’t the first time the Schley family has grown the state’s largest boar. Schley also won the contest in 2003 and 2005 with boars that came in about 100 pounds lighter.
Even though Charlie, who is a crossbred of Duroc and Hampshire, got to almost 1,200 pounds, Schley said he could have added more weight to his frame. He describes Charlie as “just big” and not fat at all. “That pig could have handled a lot more weight,” he said. “He was all muscle.”
Schley had a few challenges with Charlie over the past few months prior to his claim to hog fame. “He put his nose through the fence and pulled a 16-foot post right out of the ground,” Schley said. “It’s good he didn’t get into the corn field or we wouldn’t have found him until Christmas,” he added.
While Charlie slept most of the time, he ended up being a hand full at times. Schley noted people shouldn’t be fooled by his extra weight into thinking he is lazy and unable to get around. “He ran across the yard, and I couldn’t catch up to him,” he said.
Schley’s father, Roger, started in the purebred hog business in 1955, but they have phased out of the breeding business within the past year like many other producers have in recent years. There are no pigs on the farm any more. The farm has been in the family since 1936 when Schley’s grandparents moved there.
He noted there are very few small hog operations left in Dodge County.
“It’s a dying thing,” Schley says. “It’s like the smaller dairy herds. The old way of doing things is out.”
Though his hog raising days are over, it doesn’t keep Schley from helping at the Dodge County Fair each year in the show ring. “I wouldn’t miss that for the world to help the kids. It gets in your blood,” he said.
Charlie came up just a little shy of his counterpart in Iowa. The 2019 Iowa State Fair’s Big Boar tipped the scales at 1,254 pounds. The owners from Monticello, Iowa call him Captain.