Catch-a-Pig brings squeals and thrills to fairgrounds |

Catch-a-Pig brings squeals and thrills to fairgrounds

Kyla Gannon, 8, happily hauls her new pig to the handlers during the Catch-a-Pig contest Friday night. Dozens of kids were involved in the annual scramble to claim their own pig.
Andy Bockelman

Sitting on the fence of the Moffat County Fairgrounds arena Friday night, Raegan McMillen, 9, Kayden Grinolds, 9, and Alana McIntyre, 10, were abuzz with a timely topic: good names for a pet pig.

A classic like Spot was in consideration, as was Rosie, while fantasy-inspired monikers like Pinkie Pie and Harry from “My Little Pony” and “Harry Potter,” respectively, were also in the running.

Still, the most important thing that night was to actually get ahold of their porcine prey in the annual Catch-a-Pig contest, held between rounds of the Moffat County Fair’s Ridin’ & Riggin’ Days Rodeo. Each year, kids across Moffat County gather at the fairgrounds arena for their chance to catch a slippery, slimy, muddy pig that — if they’re lucky enough to pin down — they get to keep and take home.

This year’s Catch-a-Pig contest saw dozens of children running after kids donated to the Moffat County Fair by JB Chapman.

Karl Huntsman administers the greasy fun, and he has a front seat view of how the pigs make kids squeal for a change. The audience also loves the extravaganza.

“It’s all about the kids,” he said. “(People) like to see their grandkids and their kids get out there and have a good time.”

This year’s event has some changes.

Last year, several participants who were over the age of 18 snuck into the arena, catching pigs and causing a ruckus for those who were trying to legitimately participate.

As a result, the Moffat County Fair Board opted to change the age requirements. This year, only children 14 and younger will be able to enter the contest, said board member Mardi Anson.

A total of 50 pigs were up for grabs, which is an increase of 10 more pigs than last year, and animals weigh between 50 to 70 pounds.

The pigs are put in pens and greased up with vegetable oil. The kids are lined up in the arena and told to have their backs facing the pigpens.

State Farm and Justin Stokes covered costs for the earliest entrants, with many kids getting their new t-shirts from the insurance company covered with slop, though many dove right onto the oinkers and wrestled them into submission, picking up a bag of feed for their new companion.

With the promise of a new animal they can keep to raise for next year’s fair, the wily beasts themselves are only part of the challenge, as many kids come ready to do whatever it takes to win in the arena.

“It gets really competitive,” McMillen said. “I don’t try to think, I just try to elbow everyone out of the way.”

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