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The Journal Gazette

  • Photos by Michelle Davies | The Journal Gazette Nathan Sible, 13, keeps an eye on the judge as he guides one of the family hogs around the show ring during Saturday’s Allen County Fair.

  • Michelle Davies | The Journal Gazette Terry Sible watches as his son Nathan, 13, shows Sammy, a crossbred gilt hog, at Saturday’s Allen County Fair.

  • Michelle Davies | The Journal Gazette Brothers Nathan Sibel, 13, left, and Larry, 15, right, walk Ol' Red, a Duroc pig, to the showring at Saturday's Allen County Fair. With Video.

Sunday, July 30, 2017 1:00 am

Sons' love of raising hogs earns dad's pride, respect

Boys, 15 and 13, gain knowledge, lessons in life from father

STEVE WARDEN | The Journal Gazette

From his motorized wheelchair that is snug against the pens where his sons' six hogs are waiting to be judged, Terry Sible shouts to his 13-year-old son, Nathan. “Don't make her stand up! Let her lie down. Get out of there.”

As instructed, Nathan steps out from Roxie's pen.

“They get tired,” Sible said.

It's a crisp Saturday morning at the Allen County Fair, where 150 or so gilts and barrows are about to be judged. Nathan Sible has three: Sammy, Spooky Ghost and the now-relaxing Roxie. His 15-year-old brother, Larry, will also show three: T.J., Ol' Red and Smitty.

And as far as the boys are concerned, they've learned how to show livestock from the best.

“I learned everything from him,” says Larry, who, like his younger brother, inherited his father's piercing blue eyes. “I love it. It's always been my dream. I've been around pigs growing up. He (Terry) had his boar stud, so it kind of came natural.

“And he loves it. I think it's really important. With his accident and all of that, he needs to be happy. I love showing pigs, and I think it's really important to him.”

Terry Sible had just graduated from Carroll High School and was only 18 – three years older than Larry is now – when he and two buddies headed north along country roads to Kendallville, where they planned to cruise around in his Buick Skylark.

As the car came over a hill, two silage wagons were being pulled across the road. When the Skylark went underneath one of the wagons, its roof was sheared off and Sible hit his head.

A friend who sat in the back seat was killed.

“I broke my spinal cord – C5. That's what paralyzed me,” Sible said. “That was in June of '87.”

Active in 4-H while growing up on his family's 600-acre farm, and president of Carroll's Future Farmers of America chapter, Sible continued to persevere after the accident. He went to Purdue, joined a fraternity, graduated with a degree in agricultural economics and started an artificial insemination company.

“After my accident, the 4-H and the FFA community gave me the drive, just from their support,” Sible said. “Being in a life-changing event like that, the 4-H had a benefit and raised enough money for me to get a van that I drive. That got me started and got me through college.”

Surrounded by the grunts and snorts and squeals of the hogs waiting their turn, the Sibles are in their element.

“It's a lot of responsibility,” Nathan says of taking care of his hogs. “You have to get up early every morning. We walk ours twice a day and feed them twice a day and clean the pens usually once a day.”

Adds Larry: “After a real hard day of football practice or a long day at school, (Terry) tells us to go do chores. I think it's helping us. Even though we're having a hard day or whatever, he's teaching us responsibility and to take care of them. I think that's a good life lesson.”

Terry says, “It's a dream of having your kids following in your footsteps and do what you did.” Then later adds: “I got great boys. They're very responsible, and I'm very, very proud of them.”