COLUMBIA — Returning once again to the Boone County Fair are 12 squealing swine that have been running sprints around the fair's mulched track since Wednesday.
Presented by Hedrick’s Exotic Animal Farm from Nickerson, Kan., pig races are taking place just north of the main building of the fairgrounds each evening throughout the rest of the week.
Hedrick said it takes about four weeks to have a set of pigs ready to go before an audience. Trainers take the pigs once they reach the weaning age — about six weeks — and train them to race, and then race them for close to two and a half months, Hedrick said.
Jonnie Small of Hedrick’s Exotic Animal Farm acts as the “pig whisperer” and riles up the crowd with assistance from four team cheerleaders as four piglets run around the track to snatch the prize at the end — an Oreo cookie. The final winning pig’s cheerleader of each time slot will get a Boone County Fair T-shirt, Jonnie said.
This is just one of many stops these piglets have taken this summer. Jonnie said the pigs — which were given celebrity names Brittany Squeals, Kevin Bacon, Hama Montana and Arnold Swartzenhogger — have traveled all over the country. The Hedrick’s team has races in Iowa, and just got back from the Montana State Fair and another show in Hawaii.
The races are at 5, 7 and 9 p.m. and will continue through Saturday at the fair.