West Delaware senior Wyatt Voelker knows how to manage his time. He’s a high school football player and wrestler, a member of the National Honor Society and wrestles out of season with Big Game Wrestling Club of North Liberty.
He also credits working with his family’s hog operation for helping him organize his time and adjust on the fly.
Voelker’s parents, Corey and Jenne Voelker, of Ryan, have two hog barns, each holding 2,400 hogs, bringing in pigs when they are seven to 10 pounds and finishing them between 260-290 pounds.
Besides his parents, Voelker has an older brother, Tristan, a senior at Wartburg College, and a younger brother, Memphis, a freshman at West Delaware.
“I help take care of the barns, making sure the hogs are healthy and the feeders are going,” Voelker said. “My buddies and I vaccinate hogs, sort a lot of pigs, stuff like that. Being in hog barns has been a big part of my life.”
He said working in the hog barns has helped him. “It’s taught me to work hard. It’s pretty simple as long as you do the chores right. You need to make sure the feeders are running smoothly, make sure the feed will be there on time and make sure you walk through the pens. It’s just keeping on top of stuff.”
He said checking on the pigs and doing chores can often take a couple of hours. “It can take 40 minutes a barn, then checking on the feeders. I know Dad will be there at least two hours a day.”
As one can imagine, a high school athlete needs plenty of food to keep fuel in a body that is burning lots of calories. Voelker said pork is part of his diet.
“It’s part of a wrestler’s diet for sure. We have pork chops at least once a week, then Mom makes us bacon in the morning all the time before we go to school. It’s a big part of our diet.”
Balancing school, athletics and chores can take some juggling at times. Voelker said that experience has helped him.
“Doing all of this has taught me to move my schedule around and adapt to things. Sometimes Dad will call and I will have to drop what I’m doing to go down to the barns. There have been times I’ve had to miss (weight) lifting to go down there. The coaches understand that work and family are more important. I’ve had to be flexible. Working with hogs, going to school and being in sports has taught me discipline, hard work and how to listen.”