By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily
A traditional event at many Wyoming county fairs has been canceled for at least two counties this year due to the rising price of livestock.
This week, both the Park and Campbell county fairs were forced to cancel their pig wrestling events due to the fact vendors were not able to find enough pigs.
Park County Fair Board Chairman Tiffany Brando told Cowboy State Daily on Thursday that she received word from Double D Livestock in Greybull, the fair’s vendor for pig wrestling, saying the company would not be doing any pig wrestling events this year.
The vendor said it did not have enough pigs to run the wrestling and could not obtain any more.
Campbell County Fair organizer Liz Edwards said she received a similar message from Double D.
“We’ve worked with them since 2013, but they gave us a call and told us they weren’t able to find enough pigs to supply for our show,” Edwards told Cowboy State Daily on Thursday. “They didn’t really give me a whole lot of detail on why they can’t find them.”
Both events received numerous applications from perspective participants prior their cancellations this week.
The lack of available pigs can be attributed to inflation and pandemic disruptions, as pork prices have gone up 13% in the last year, according to Tyson Foods, the nation’s largest meat processor. The price of feed has also increased in the last year, putting a strain on livestock producers to either kill or sell any extra animals in order to avoid any extra costs.
“It makes sense to me, because the prices of livestock are outrageous,” Edwards said. “But it’s not only the cost to feed the animals that has gone up but the price of subcontractors who have to haul the animals has increased and so has gas. It’s just been hard to hold on to things.”
Pig wrestling is an event that’s basically exactly what it sounds like. Teams will work to get a greased-up and muddy pig into a barrel in a certain amount of time.
It’s messy, it involves a lot of squealing and is one of the most popular events at county fairs across the state, being held in the past at fairs from Big Horn County all the way down to Laramie County.
Washakie County Fair chairman Jeff Lapp told Cowboy State Daily on Friday that they were also canceling its pig wrestling event due to the same reason.
As of Friday, it did not appear that any other county fairs have canceled their pig wrestling events. The Wyoming State Fair had not yet announced its list of events as of Friday.
Edwards said to her knowledge, pig wrestling at the Campbell County Fair has never been canceled in the past, at least not due to the lack of available pigs.
The Gillette fair usually has anywhere from 60 to 80 pigs in its wrestling event as there are several categories that teams can participate in, from young children to adults.
“We need a variety of sizes due to our categories, so we need not only a lot of pigs, but different sizes of them,” Edwards said.
She said the community members are disappointed about the cancellation, as the event is always popular. But Edwards and the rest of the fair board are hoping to find something just as good to replace pig wrestling this year for the fair’s entertainment lineup.
“We have a ranch rodeo and we’re bringing in monster trucks, but we want to find something good for our Friday night crowd, because pig wrestling is always a big draw,” she said.