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Pig wrestling (also known as pig scramble 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. In some events the pigs are greased with vegetable or mineral oil in order to make catching the pig more difficult.
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.
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.
Concerns have been raised by animal rights organizations that using pigs in this form of entertainment is inhumane, 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. In Minnesota, pig wrestling is a misdemeanor.
In popular culture
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.
- "Pig Scramble Is Fun, Profitable". Ludington Daily News. 22 September 1950. Retrieved 6 October 2009.
- Pig Wrestling-Sublette County Fair 2005 - Pinedale, Wyoming
- "Greased Pig Scramble Is Evening's Big Draw". The Washington Post. 26 July 2007. Archived from the original on 12 October 2008. Retrieved 3 November 2009.
- Sullivan, Erin (4 September 2006). "Pasco: Pig catching rubs some the wrong way". Tampa Bay Times. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 10 October 2019.
- "Farm Owner, County At Odds Over Pig Wrestling". WBAL Baltimore.
- The Record Delta County axes greased pig contest
- Minnesota Statutes 343.36 "GREASED PIG CONTESTS AND TURKEY SCRAMBLES"
- YouTube - Catch the Greased Up Deaf Guy