Many of the county fairs in Wyoming have pig wrestling as part of their venue. They rope the unsuspecting human into participation by saying “pig,” which is not in fact what you will “wrestle” if you are in the group above grade school. They always start with the small children and the little wiener pigs, which is the mental image that most people have of the word “pig.” This mental image is incorrect if you are in the adult category, so do not be lulled into thinking how fun this is going to be if you are first watching the children.

As an adult you do not get “pig,” what you get is “hog” – like the ones in the horror movies that eat people. Most pig wrestling takes place in “mud.” This is also incorrect terminology. It starts out as mud, but after a pig (I mean hog) is in it, it contains other excrement (maybe from the hog, maybe from the wrestler). In any event, don’t breathe when submerged.

The usual order of business is to grab the hog (that weighs three times the wrestlers) and place it into a barrel. Experienced “wrestlers” will tell you that you need to grab it under the shoulders in order to get a good hold and hoist it into the barrel. They would be incorrect. When the hog is extended, it is important to note that it is taller than you (not that you will ever get it extended), which raises a new set of criteria for barrel placement. This is not likely a concern for one’s initial attempt at the sport.

The first few tries to grab our hog proved futile. However, I was determined to make those that purchased our team in the Calcutta proud. (This is betting by the uninformed).

I hurled myself upon our hog, screaming victory to my team members as I lay upon his back. Later, as I was groping for the shoulders, I determined it was a she. I used those new found handles for awhile, until I made the unfortunate discovery that the hog was not standing when I had mounted it (maybe that’s not a good word). (It was likely squatting to add to the mud, and certainly not because it was scared).

I wrapped my arms tightly around it, well not all the way around it, just to the “handles,” my face planted against it. I noted that it stunk and was scratchy, an interesting thing about a hog I had not formerly known. As the hog rose to full height, I became momentarily frightened, until I remembered there were emergency personnel standing by. Quite suddenly the hog bolted and trotted (happily) (the hog, not me) forward, I simultaneously slid backward, losing my grip on the handles, even though there were six more sets on the way back. I landed face down in the mud mixture. It had an unpleasant odor.

It was shortly after this the buzzer (thankfully) sounded and the hog won. The second important piece of information in hog wrestling is that if you have any distance to drive home you might want something to plug your nose and do not run your heater. Although the firemen hose you off afterwards (oh yes, do not wear loose clothes) it is not possible to get all the mud off with a fire hose. In fact, it will be some time before the “memories” of the experience fade and the staph infections in your cuts subside.

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