WEST PALM BEACH — Even though he’s only a junior in high school, Braydn Daum already has a pretty good idea about his future career.
He wants to join the Navy after he graduates and perhaps serve as a hospital corpsman.
For now, the junior at Lake Placid High School is laying the foundation for his future by being a member of ROTC and the weightlifting team at school and the Seminole Indian 4-H Club outside of school.
The discipline and hard work necessary to succeed in those programs will no doubt pay off when he enters the service. The 4-H program, for example, has benefits that Daum can carry with him whether he’s on land or sea.
“It’s taught me that you need to work for what you have and nothing is going to be handed to you, so you need to work hard and work towards it,” Daum said Jan. 17 moments after he showed “Smalls” at the South Florida Fair’s hog show in West Palm Beach.
“Smalls” is anything but that; he is a 236-pound hog that Daum has cared for since acquiring him in August, back when “Smalls” was only about 60 pounds.
“Normally we get them at 75-pound range, but he looked good to me so I picked him,” Daum said.
The judge didn’t pick “Smalls” as high as Daum would have liked; he finished in seventh place in the 236-238-pound class that featured nine other competitors.
“It went all right, but I didn’t place as high as I wanted to, but nobody ever does. I’m happy I wasn’t last,” Daum said.
Daum was part of the Seminole 4-H contingent at the show that included volunteers, staff and other fellow 4-H’ers.
Daum’s mother Linda Spurlock and stepfather John Spurlock helped guide the hogs in proper directions in the back pens.
Aaron Stam kept things running smoothly and on schedule behind the scenes, making sure kids and their hogs were in the ring with their classes at the right time.
Kimberly Clement helped keep the peace amid snout-to-snout rush hour traffic in the waiting pen just before the kids and hogs entered the ring.
Daum’s “Smalls” and Oreste Perez’s “Porky Pig” got a little too rough as they waited to enter the ring and had to be briefly separated by a board before it was showtime.
Perez, 10, is in his third year with Seminole Indian 4-H and has become accustomed to all the caretaking involved in raising a hog.
“I feed him, wash him and put wormer around him to get any worms out,” he said.
Perez’s pig finished fifth in the same class as “Smalls.”
Atley Driggers, 12, had the heaviest hog among the three Seminole 4-H’ers at the show. “Shakira,” a female, weighed in at 265 pounds. Already in her fifth year of 4-H, Driggers previously raised a hog that weighed 270.
She’s had about five pigs and doesn’t become emotionally attached to them, knowing that they move on to new owners during the fair.
“I just like showing them,” she said.
The following day was the sale when the hogs were put up for purchase. “Shakira” was bought by Brighton Board Rep. Helene Buster. “Smalls” was purchased by Brighton Councilman Larry Howard. Seminole Gaming snatched up “Porky Pig.”