Pig race draws crowd at Central Iowa Fair

T-R PHOTO BY ADAM SODDERS - Trumpet fanfare blared around a small track, the pigs were lined up and the race was on during pig racing at the Central Iowa Fair Thursday afternoon. The heat didnÕt keep a small crowd from gathering in the bleachers around the track to cheer their favorite racer.

Despite oppressive afternoon heat Thursday, a crowd of dozens gathered around a small track at the Central Iowa Fairgrounds to watch some furry, four-legged, hoofed critters race.

The trumpet fanfare and celebratory mood could have been heard from a Kentucky Derby horse race, but the animals in the ring Wednesday were small pigs.

“They like to see the pigs race against each other,” said presenter Gary Dauer of the Minnesota-based Famous LA Racing Pigs.

He roused the audience by throwing colorful necklaces and playing pop music over a stereo before the races began. Finally, when the small pigs were lined up in the starting area, the gate flew up and the pigs sprinted out.

“They’re about 12 weeks old,” Dauer said of the racers. “After they get to about 45-50 pounds, they don’t run anymore.”

The crowd included people of all ages, but children dominated the cheering. One Marshalltown resident, Laura Rasmussen, brought her four kids along to enjoy the event because of its novelty.

“We signed up for the (youth) rodeo, so we were here and decided to check it out,” she said. “The pig races are new.”

Rasmussen said she enjoyed the pig races overall, “besides the heat.”

Her daughter, Grace Rasmussen, said she had seen pig races before and knew what to expect from Thursday’s event. While she liked the races, she said there were other fair events she preferred.

“I like seeing the 4-H projects,” Grace Rasmussen said. “Seeing friends is fun.”

A second round of pig races took place in the early evening, which offered some reprieve from the 90 degree-plus weather.

Other events, like the youth rodeo, Bingo and a free dinner for veterans gave fair-goers a variety of activities to enjoy that evening.

For more information on the Central Iowa Fair, visit centraliowafairgrounds.net/central-iowa-fair.html

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Contact Adam Sodders at

(641) 753-6611 or asodders@timesrepublican.com