Pig wrestling

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A greased pig contest at the Houston, Indiana Fall Festival in 2004

Pig wrestling (also known as pig scramble[1] and with the variants hog wrestling and greased pig catching) is a type of game sometimes played at agricultural shows such as state and county fairs, in which contestants, usually children or young adults, try to grab a slippery pig. In the most common version of the game, a team of four members chases a domestic pig around a fenced-off mud pit and attempts to place it in a barrel, in a race against the clock.[2] In some events the pigs are greased with vegetable or mineral oil in order to make catching the pig more difficult.[3]

Rules[edit]

Pig wrestling in Chile.

Rules vary depending on the venue. Some contests use larger pigs, while others use those that are smaller. Some include a single pig, while others use more than one. The pigs are coated with shortening, vegetable oil, lard, or another lubricant. Contestants chase the pigs around a field or other determined area. Depending on the contest, contestants either try to get one or both hands on the pig, tackle and hold the pig down, or drag the pig to a set point. There may be several rounds per contest. The prize for winning is often the pig itself.[4]

Children too young to compete in pig wrestling may compete in a greased pig chase, the object of which is to hang onto a greased pig for a certain amount of time. A more juvenile pig is often used for this competition.

Animal welfare[edit]

Concerns have been raised by animal rights organizations that using pigs in this form of entertainment is inhumane,[4][5] since the pigs have no choice in the matter of whether they want to wrestle or not. The wrestling may impose undue emotional stress on the pigs, as evidenced by fearful squealing, and causes physical torsional stress on the pigs' joints. Some fairs have thus eliminated pig wrestling from their events.[6] In Minnesota, pig wrestling is a misdemeanor.[7]

In popular culture[edit]

A variant is shown in The Man in the Iron Mask in which a pig dressed to look like a unicorn is released with a valuable gem hung around its neck. The first to capture the pig is allowed to keep the treasure.

The television show Family Guy parodies this concept with the Greased-up Deaf Guy; a recurring character that first appears in "The Thin White Line" as the quarry of a company picnic event.[8]

The writer George Bernard Shaw is reported[citation needed] to have said "I learned long ago, never to wrestle with a pig. You get dirty, and besides, the pig likes it."

In a 2014 episode of the Discovery Channel series MythBusters, the Build Team investigated the difficulty of catching a greased pig, both with and without technological assistance.

See also[edit]

References[edit]