SHERIDAN — The Vacutech Hoggers looked on as Pigs in a Blanket set the bar considerably high, logging one of the quickest times Saturday during pig wrestling at the Sheridan County Fair. Pigs in a Blanket felt confident their time of 13.95 seconds would hold up to win the crown.
The Vacutech Hoggers took to the ring and proved nearly everyone in the grandstands at the Sheridan County Fairgrounds wrong. The second-lowest team in the Calcutta auction corralled its swine in 11.48 seconds, claiming the title.
The winning team only sold for $175 in a competition in which teams such as Pigs in a Blanket and Pork Grinders sold for $500 and $650, respectively. Vacutech Hoggers were breaking in a couple rookies, as well.
Matthew Zier got talked into participating in pig wrestling just a couple months ago. The ranch hand by day elected to give it a whirl, and his background in wrangling livestock paid dividends in the ring Saturday.
“We wrestle calves bigger than these pigs,” Zier said. “I ride bulls and used to fight, and it’s just the speed and being able to keep your balance on your feet.”
Zier competed alongside Nathan Booth, Kevin Dickerson and Colton Lapp, and they set a goal of breaking 10 seconds. Even though the team failed in that quest, they succeeded in every other regard.
Pig wrestling involves a team of four, picking up a hog and dropping it into a bucket or barrel in the middle of the ring. The older the division, the larger the pig. The ring is filled with mud and wetted for maximum slickness.
Contestants start on one end of the ring with at least one hand firmly gripping the side railing.
Once the start flag is dropped, the team has one minute to lift the pig and drop it, butt first, into the barrel.
The Swine Squealers didn’t set a goal time but easily slid under the 10-second threshold, clocking in at 8.57 seconds. The team of Cashlee Cates, Casey Porch, Amber Schankey and Courtney Smith boasted the fastest time of the night, in any division, to win the women’s pig wrestling championship.
The path to victory, while a little dirty, remained simple.
“Just attack,” Smith said. “Just go at it. Get in the mud. It won’t hurt.”
“Don’t be afraid to get a little dirty,” Cates added.
Cates wooed her entire team into doing pig wrestling. Contrary to what she’d heard — that chasing a pig in a mud pit was embarrassing — Cates thought it would be fun. Her team agreed, even if they weren’t in the ring for that long.
“It was very competitive and very fun,” Smith said.
The Wicked Warthogs — after selling for $375, the highest price in the Calcutta — held serve and won the pee-wee division with a time of 9.76 seconds.
The Pony Pigs also made good with their high Calcutta price of $275 and won the intermediate division, clocking in at 18.33 seconds.
Not all accomplished the end goal Saturday, having the pig get the best of them, but most had fun, especially the Vacutech Hoggers and the Swine Squealers.