Thursday, July 17, 2008

Hog Wild

Tuesday we finally attended an event that I have literally been anticipating for years:


Yes, here in Warrick County, hog wrestling (along with the tractor pull, which we will unfortunately have to let wait until next year) is a major highlight of the annual 4-H county fair. As we drove up, I could see a literal sea of pick up trucks and American cars surrounding the completely packed stadium, with even the standing room crammed full of exuberant Hoosiers ready for the spectacle. My mind briefly flickered back to ancient Rome. The applause thundered.

Perhaps at this point you are a sensitive soul, concerned about the welfare of the poor piglets involved. If so, I console you with the observation that as often as not it was the kids being run down under the mud with the pig on top. There is a reason it takes four people go wrestle one pig up onto a barrel.

Before the stands are two fenced in pits, each with a muddy water hole and a tire-topped barrel in the middle. The right is for the girls, gathered in teams of four. There must be forty teams, each with matching t-shirts and thick thighs encased, sausage-like, in impossibly tight short shorts. A personal favorite were the pink "Piglet Princesses" who did their mud-wrestling festooned with tiaras and duct-tape sashes. To the left were the boys, where Michael's team of choice was the 12 year old, fluorescent yellow "Bacon Basherz."

On each side, a team came up to the gate. The boys are poised, leaning forward, muscles taut, ready for the signal to enter. The girls meander to the gate, tentative, maintaining a flattering pose for the crowd. The shot rings out! The boys plunge one over the other in a mad rush toward the squealing object of their pursuit. The girls work as a team, hemming in their pig while lurching about in a blur of puff paint, sequins, and flowing mud. Arms and legs flail. The boys grunt, holler; the girls screech orders to one another. In moments the pig is caught, escapes, disappears beneath the bodies. Soon with a heave, a scream, it's hefted onto the tire and rolled over. TIME!

Interestingly, despite their distinct size disadvantage, the girls who worked as a team whomped upon the boys almost every single time. The boys seemed to enjoy trampling one another under the mud as much as they enjoyed getting the hog, the girls were focused on one thing only: GET. THE. PIG.

Once the pig's been on the barrel, with at some split-second moment its entire body in the air, the team is excused. A broad, ham-faced teen with shoulders as wide as a 1970s pickup lumbers into the pen. Immediately, the previously running and squealing hog is quiet. The boy picks the hog up like it's a small cat, rather than a huge, mud slippery beast, and tosses him back into the pig pen. Another pig is herded into the pen and it all begins again.

In retrospect, few favorite moments:

When a 16 year old beauty queen with fake blonde hair stacked on her head entered the ring, she put on quite the show for the menfolk. Within seconds, the pig ran her down completely under the mud, she started shrieking hysterically, and the fat girl on the team had to heave the pig up all on her own. What a moment to be burned into my memory forever.

Behind me, a neighbor and a preacher rated the hogs. "Well, that ain't much of a pig, but he shore is a fiery little sucker."

Never before have I seen a place where 10 year olds have facial hair. And I'm talking full beard here.

Also behind me, a father watching his boy's team yelled in a moment of excitement, "If them boys don't get it in time, I'm gonna call them sissies for a year!"

A shockingly large preteen girl encased in a tank top and hot pants found success rolling herself onto the barrel with the writhing, screaming hog on top. I couldn't help myself when the thought drifted across my mind.... "They got the wrong pig!"

I really wanted to stay for the adults but this event was unbelievably popular. Even at 25 bucks a team just to get into the competition, there were literally hundreds of teams in line to try their hand at it. We stayed for several hours but eventually had to head home before we got to the 18 and up division. Don't you worry, though. Next year, we are SO THERE and you will see Vanessa throwing them hogs around like they ain't never been thrown before! YeeeeHAH!


Matt and Melanie said...

Oh my gosh so fun!!! I wish we could have been there with you! :)

Mike and Emily said...

I support you and your hog throwing. May I recommend full body pink spandex suits? And maybe piggy ears? Pleeeeze?

Brooke said...

Wow. I know I saw my first tractor pull when I started working in a rural OK school... I don't recall hearing about hog wrestling though, lol. Could it be that IN is MORE redneck than OK? Who woulda thunk it?

Shiloh said...

Hahaha! I love it!

Jill Rogers said...

Hey Vanessa! Remember me? Good 'ole BYU 83rd...

Anyways, I have a friend who just relocated their family their to IUSD in Indianapolis. Unfortunately their housing hasn't pulled through, so she's stuck in a hotel with their two vivacious kiddos all day every day. I'm sure you can imagine how boring and horrible that would be. It kind of sounds like she could use a little help- Getting the kids out of the hotel, things to do that isn't too hot etc. GIRL TALK! (Sounds like just a little ADULT, FEMALE time would be great too) Is there anything you can do? Are you guys too far? She is a friend from home (AZ), great family- All members. Just kind of there all alone. Her name is Candace Evans, her email is:

Carrie and Aaron said...

Sounds like an outing that must have made your sides split with laughter. I'd love to see it sometime.