Thursday, May 13, 2010

Hog-callers turn into swinemasters at California fair

Chase Ruiz, 5, of Dixon, a first-year hogcalling contest, won his age division to the delight of emcee Donnie Huffman of Vacaville, president of the Friends of Dixon May Fair. (Photo by Marilyn Sexton)

From Kathy Keatley Garvey at UC-Davis:

DIXON, Calif.--Hogcallers turned into “swinemasters” at the eighth annual Dixon May Fair Hogcalling Contest as they tried to coax 250-pound porkers into four-squeal drive and hamward bound.

“Boss Hog” Nick Stacey of Dixon won the adult division for the fifth year with a series of oinks and “soo-eys” while the 2009 high school champion Annaley Herzog, 16, of Vacaville teamed with Rachel Fink, 16, to win the 14-17 age division by doing a rap song about much-desired Billy Currington tickets.

Chase Ruiz, 5, of Dixon won his age category, 5 and under. He brought home the bacon with loud snorts. Lindsay Tryba, 11, of Dixon, a member of the Roving Clovers 4-H Club, Dixon, swept the 6-to-13 age category by pleading “I need some bacon with my eggs.”

“It was fantastic and a swine time at the fair,” said emcee Donnie Huffman of Vacaville, president of the Friends of Dixon May Fair, which sponsors the annual event. “We had great participants and we held it in our new swine pavilion.”

Hogcallers had one minute to call the hogs, using only their voice. First-place winners in the upper age categories received two tickets to the Billy Currington concert at the fair. Winners in the under 5 and 6 to 13 age groups received carnival tickets, compliments of Butler Amusements.

Contestants yelled everything from “Soo-ey!” to “Here, piggy, piggy” to specific food references in attempts to coax them over. Judging was on hog response, audience response, creativity and originality.

Judges were Mary Harris of Vacaville, vice president of the Dixon May Fair Board of Directors; Hendrick Crowell of Fairfield, member and past president of the fair board; Richard Byrum of Fairfield, president of Butler Amusements; and JoAn Giannoni of Dixon, secretary of Friends of Dixon May Fair.

None of the hogs pulled any hamstrings, Huffman said, but one hog wanted to root in the sawdust and take a nap.

Stacey, whose daughter used to raise pigs, wore a shirt lettered with “Boss Hog” on the front. The back indicated the years he’s won the competition.

Herzog, accompanied by Fink, rapped out why they wanted tickets to the Currington concert.

Herzog, a contestant in the Dixon May Fair’s Royalty Court and a member of the Tremont 4-H Club, Dixon, with horse and poultry projects, wrote and delivered a rap song:

“Here piggy, pig
Come over here
Please hurry up
The prize is near
I want some Billy Currington tickets
All for me
So, come over her
Please, please, please.”

She later reported that the Currington concert was “awesome” and that she’ll be back to the hogcalling next year to defend her title.

When Roving Clovers 4-H Club member Katie Luedke, 15, of Dixon called the hogs, on cue her friend and fellow Roving Clovers 4-H’er Stephanie Marshall, 16, of Vacaville squealed, jumped the fence, entered the ring and hugged her, much to the audience’s delight.

When it was her turn to call, Marshall, wearing her 4-H uniform, got the “pig idea” and went whole hog, coaxing two hogs over to her at the same time.

Champion Chase Ruiz, in his first time hogcalling, said he learned how to hogcall from his brother, a contestant from previous years.

Three members of the Gary and Lisa Short family of Dixon called the hogs. Dad Gary won second; son, Eli, 10, won third in the 6-13 age division, while son Caleb, 12, also participated but didn’t land in the winners’ division.

Providing the hogs were Garrett Pryor, 10, and his sister, Allison Pryor, 12, of Dixon and their friend, Cody Meitrott, 10, all members of the Maine Prairie 4-H Club. Garrett’s hog is named Jimmy (after Jimmy Dean of hot pork sausage fame); Cody named his hog, Bacon, and Alison named hers Lefty.

The winners:

Adults: 1st, Nick Stacey of Dixon; 2nd, Gary Short, Dixon; and 3rd, Silvin Forcier of Dixon.

14-17 or in high school: 1st: Annaley Herzog, 16 and Rachel Fink, 16, both of Vacaville; 2nd: Katie Luedke of Dixon; and 3rd, Stephanie Marshall, 16, Vacaville.

6 through 13: 1st, Lindsay Tryba, 11, Dixon; 2nd, K-La Duncan, 11, Dixon; 3rd, Eli Short, 10, Dixon; and 4th, Josh Marshall, 7, Vacaville.

5 and under: 1st, Chase Ruiz, 5, Dixon; 2nd, Dallan Roebemy, 5, Dixon; 3rd, Natasha Patterson, 3, Benicia; and 4th, Parker Franceschi, 5, Dixon.

Huffman, a former 4-H club swine leader, entertained the crowd with pig jokes, including

“How do you take a pig to the hospital?”
In an hambulance.

“Do you know the name of a famous ice cream company?”
Hog ‘n Dazs (Haagen-Dazs)

“What do you call a pig that studies karate?”
Pork chop.

Why should you never tell a pig a secret?
Because he might squeal.

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