Last November, life took a drastic turn for the Edwin Emmert family, while father and son worked to move pigs from one barn to another.
“We got a call that Mr. (Edwin) Emmert and Heath had an accident on one of the back roads between the barns. Hugh and I immediately left to find them. When we got there, Heath (his son) was ok, but Mr. Emmert has passed away,” said Hannah Emmert, wife of the family's elder son, Hugh Emmert, about the tragic the day.
Both Heath and his mother, Donna Emmert, were not sure if Heath would or how he would continue showing.
“Pigs are our family’s passion, dad showed in the Ellis County shows as well as my brother, Landon, and myself as youths. He was still active in the Ennis FFA. It was my time to step up and take the place of our father for Heath and help and encourage him in every way I can,” Hugh Emmert said.
“It's tough, passing on the same things and them justice that dad taught me to Heath to do things just like dad did. He was a great man,” Hugh Emmert said
As Hugh and Heath were grooming Heath’s before the swine show Hugh said of his little brother, ”He is learning to be a real patient learner. He listens well,” Hugh said
Both Hugh and Heath were in the stall together washing down Heath’s animal that soon was a part of a drive in the arena.
"It’s bittersweet. We want to be here to see his legacy. This is a family legacy; we are his legacy,” Hugh said.
The Emmert family has had the help of other Ennis FFA and Ellis County pig raisers.
“They are very wonderful and dedicated family. We are so blessed to know this family and step up to help them wherever we can,” Lisa Burden said.
For his mother, Donna Emmert, ”This first year has been tough, but on the other hand, being here today and being with pig show people, it’s like having the support of a family. We had to keep on showing. Pigs are our passion as they were Edwin’s. We want to keep that passion alive. That’s what their father would want them to do.”
In his first time in a show ring since his father’s passing, Heath —with the coaching of his brother, family, and friends — guided his pig past the judge with all the looks of an experienced showman. While he didn’t make it to the grand or reserve drives, the young Emmert placed high enough in his class to make Saturday’s premium sale.
“I’m really thankful I made the sale. There were a lot of really good animals out there, but I hung in there,” Heath said.