Gowrie teen follows brother’s influence

GOWRIE – It took a lifetime for Alex Alliger to reach a goal he set for himself as a child.

The Gowrie teen and recent high school graduate has been around cattle and swine his entire life, and has been showing them at fairs and shows for nearly as long.

“I’ve been around it my whole life,” said Alliger.

Alliger was influenced by his older brother, Aaron, who took top honors as a grand champion in the 4-H Market Beef show at the Iowa State Fair in 2003.

“My brother has been my influence since he had the champion steer 10 years ago,” said Alliger. “He gave me the motivation to do it.”

Alliger set a goal for himself to one day become an Iowa State Fair champion and continued to show cattle and swine for the Gowrie Groundbreakers 4-H Club, and during his high school years, with the Prairie Valley/Southeast Webster Grand FFA chapter.

“It’s been a goal my whole lifetime to have a champion,” said Alliger.

A decade after his older brother, Alex Alliger did just that and even exceeded his own expectations when he exhibited two steers and a hog at the State Fair.

Alliger’s hog was crowned the 2013 Iowa State Fair grand champion market hog which sold for a record $41,000 in the sale of champions.

Taking home the top honors was no easy task as competitors in the State Fair swine show are up against more than 1,000 other hogs in their class and breed divisions.

“You start out and there are probably more than 1,000 hogs,” he said. “First you have to win your class round and then the breed division to go on to the championship rounds. I really didn’t think my hog would make it, and it ended up setting a new record. That was pretty cool.”

Alliger said he was also pleasantly surprised with the outcome of his steer in competition. It was named the reserve champion market steer, selling for $31,500 in the sale of champions, a new record for a reserve champion.

“I actually thought out of the two of them that the other one would have done better,” he said.

“I was excited that I exceeded my own expectations and met my goal. I’ve always wanted to have a champion and I had two of them in the same year.”

Although his 4-H days are over, Alliger said he can continue to show with FFA.

“I plan to keep it up,” he said. “You can do FFA shows until you’re 21 and that is what I want to do.”