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Johnson Co 4-Hers continue through tough luck

by Wyoming Livestock Roundup

Buffalo – For the brother and sister duo of Pake and Isolina Nimick, tough luck is just another day on the ranch.

Pake, age 13, and Isolina, age 12, the children of Brenda and Earl Nimick of Buffalo, have had 4-H projects running around the yard for the last five years.

“I took pigs because they seemed like a good starter project, and they seemed like they would be fun,” says Pake of his first attempt.

But disaster struck the first year. Pake had tagged two pigs to take as projects to the county fair, but only one would make it. One morning the family went out to do chores and noticed that one of the pigs didn’t appear to be feeling her best. Needless to say, Duffy the pig soon died from dust pneumonia.

“I don’t remember a lot about that time, just that we were all really sad. I wasn’t in 4-H yet and it was Pake’s first year, so we all got pretty attached to the pigs,” explains Isolina.

With luck like that, the Nimick’s spirits could have been low headed into the county fair. On the contrary, the Nimick family loaded up their remaining pig and headed to fair with hopeful hearts. The small community of Buffalo rallied to support Pake in his difficult first year, and when they did they couldn’t help but notice something interesting about the remaining pig. The night of the show Pake proudly walked his 317-pound pig into the ring, accompanied by applause and whistles.

“You just have to keep going when bad stuff happens, because something good has to happen sooner or later,” says Pake.

Despite the tragedy of his first year in 4-H, Pake continued the next year, and Isolina started 4-H, too. Both kids took one pig each and were eager for the fresh start the pigs represented.

However, now it was Isolina’s turn for mishap. Her one pig simply wouldn’t grow and didn’t make weight for county fair. Nonetheless, she helped big brother Pake with his pig and still learned something along the way.

“Taking pigs has taught me a lot about responsibility and taking care of your animals,” says Isolina.

The following year was rough for Isolina, as well. This time Isolina took two pigs, but following her brother’s trend, only one lived to see county fair.

“The one pig prolapsed and died. But one lived and I got to show him at county fair,” explains Isolina.

Despite that run of luck, Isolina says, “In my record books for my goals I put to have both pigs live until fair. It may seem silly, but it was a real goal for me.”

The next year Isolina’s goal was accomplished – all four of her and her brother’s pigs lived and made it to county fair.

“Only two of them made weight, but at least they lived!” says Pake.

For the 2011 Johnson County Fair, Pake decided he wanted to take a steer along with their normal bunch of pigs.

Pake did chores every day and spent hours with the steer, but trouble was once again waiting. The steer bloated, but luckily lived. However, it stopped gaining and didn’t make it to the fair. The Nimicks hauled all of the pigs in and Pake’s barely made weight. Isolina wasn’t so fortunate with her pigs – neither made weight.

“Even though my pigs didn’t make weight, I still showed them and I won Reserve Champion Feeder Pig,” explains Isolina.

Although the Nimick kids have had a rough go with 4-H experiences and some of the worst luck in the county, they continue to keep high spirits and hopes for years to come.

“We will keep doing 4-H, it’s still a lot of fun,” adds Isolina.

Tressa Lawrence is the editorial intern for the Wyoming Livestock Roundup and can be reached at

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