Josie had the right idea.
With the temperature hovering around 100, Josie had had enough poking and nudging from interested humans.
While fellow piglet Daisy ran interference, Josie squiggled through the barricade of sweltering city folks. With a squeal of relief, Josie plopped down in her pen, home at last.
It didn't seem to matter that Josie's owner, Lori Hinkle, cringed with anxiety, certain that Josie had thrown away her chance to win the pig championship. All Josie cared about was that nice, slimy mud cooling her body.
"I was certain we wouldn't win after Josie darted away," said 14-year-old Lori, adding, "I love to win."
But Josie's antics didn't seem to bother the judges, who awarded Lori Hinkle blue ribbons for best of breed and best of show at the annual Fairfax County 4-H Fair last weekend.
More than 700 4-H members from 45 county clubs gathered at Frying Pan Park in Herndon for the three days of displaying wares, skills and livestock -- and collecting prizes.
There were plenty of prizes. Fred the guinea pig won the best pet award because, whispered one judge, he looked like his owner. Ginger, his twin sister, brought home a blue ribbon because she sang so sweetly. Flower the skunk got a prize for the animal with the longest tail.
John Mead, a red-headed 7-year-old, could hardly contain his excitement when his frog hopped across the winning line to beat several other contestants.
"All right! I won, I won," John screamed. His enthusiasm matched the crowd's, and his jumping ability equalled that of his champion frog.
There were, of course, awards for more serious endeavors. Horses leaped over fences; tomatoes and other vegetables won ribbons for size and taste; and young livestock owners paraded their prize hogs and cattle.
There seemed to be something for everyone. Pigtailed moppets, cotton candy in hand, darted from Grace and her 10 newborn piglets to Timothy, the charcoal-colored rabbit.
Mothers browsed through craft booths wearing "Hug a Homemaker" buttons.
Grandfathers sat under circus-like tents exchanging memories.
"It's a great fair," said Annandale resident Madeline Donald from inside the Extension Homemakers cabin, as she tucked a needle in and out of a quilt. "It's good for the old people to see what young people are doing, and it's good for young people to see that old people can still produce. It's a great thing for everybody.
Smiles spread quickly across youngsters' faces as prize ribbons were placed in their palms. But the gleam in their eyes shone brightest when they talked about their dreams of the future.
Some semmed to have visions of becoming vets, Olympic equestrian riders or farmers. But for 9-year-old Ashley Leigh of Centreville, dreams centered on the rodeo ring and bronco-riding.
"Sometimes when I come home from school I go outside and ride Blackie (his cow). I'm by myself, and I dream about the rodeo," Leigh said stroking one of three cows he and his two brothers bought and raised. "I think about Bronco Billy, and I think about winning."