Four men line up in their wedding dresses along the fence, yes, men, ready to take on a enormous beast — a pig that weighs about 225 pounds.
As the flag falls, the men lift their dresses and take off in pursuit of the pig. Despite their costumes, the men get a grip on the pig and carry it over to the barrel when a wardrobe malfunction gets the best of them. The train on one of the dresses gets caught on the barrel blocking the pig from dropping in.
The pig gets loose scurrying around the pen, trying to avoid its opponents. One of the men stops and says, “Your dress got in the way,” to which the other man responds, “That’s how it is for girls.”
Pig wrestling is a annual tradition at the Utah County Fair in Spanish Fork. Teams, inexperienced or novice, pay a fee to participate in this muddy business.
Caleb’s Super Squad participated in the Intermediate Division. Thirteen-year-olds Kaitlyn Olsen, Brilie Laforett and Josie Miller with teammate 14-year-old Aspen Ruiz were excited “to get the pig in the bucket and to get muddy” — and they did just that.
All contestants got one minute to wrestle, lift and place a pig hindside first in a barrel before the timer sounded. The PeeWee Divison (ages 5-8) wrestled piglets, the Intermediate Division (ages 9-15) took on a 75-100 pound pig, adult women (ages 16 and older) tackled a 140-160 pound pig and adult men (ages 16 and older) challenged a full-sized 200-230 pound pig.
To make it more challenging, the pigs are smothered in mud and the arena is covered in 8 inches of slick bentonite clay. Jared Harris, a pig mudder for Utah County Fair, is supposed to make wrestling a pig more difficult.
“We are supposed to grab the mud and put it on the pigs, get them all mudded up so that when they try to grab them it’s really slippery and they can’t get them in the barrel as easily,” Harris said.
Einswine, an adult woman’s team, participated for the first time this year in pig wrestling. Their husbands, Team Pearls Before Swine, had wrestled in past years inspiring them to try out this new sport. They also wanted to show that girls can play rough, too.
“It’s something that girls don’t really do,” said Taryn Bodine, a Einswine team member. “It’s very different for a girl to do.”
While they weren’t able to get the pig in the barrel this year, they want the Old Hogs, this year’s adult division winners, to know that they will beat them next year.
“Write that down,” Rachel Sandberg from Team Einswine said. “We’re coming back next year and we’re going to beat those cowboys.”
Pig wrestling is over for the 2013 Utah County Fair, but there are more activities happening Friday and Saturday. A ranch rodeo will entertain the whole family at the Grand Arena on Friday Night at 7 p.m. Then on Saturday a crushing Demolition Derby will start at 7 p.m. in the Grand Arena.
Visit the Utah County Fair website for more fair-going activities.