May the fastest pig win


First Posted: 8/18/2011

LIMA — It's a show full of comedy and plenty of action. “It is like the perfect television show all in one live,” Zach Johnson said of his Swifty Swine Racing and Swimming Pigs show coming to the Allen County Fair. The racing pigs will entertain multiple times per day Saturday through Wednesday in Roschman Park. “Swine Master” Johnson said “all the big stars” will be on hand: Brad Pig, Kevin Bacon, Britney Spare Ribs and a Rack of Ribs Obama.Johnson, the son of petting zoo owners who brought their zoos to county fairs, earned a business degree and then started racing pigs 14 years ago. The show is based in Dallas, Texas.Twenty pigs, including Durocs, Hampshires, Yorkshires and pot bellies, will be in Lima, racing around an 150-foot track four at a time. When the bell rings and the gates open, the pigs head out with one goal in mind: an Oreo cookie at the finish line. “They love chocolate,” Johnson said, adding that the summer heat doesn't work well with the Hershey Kisses that used to wait for the pigs at the finish line. It takes six to seven seconds for the pigs to finish the race. Just how fast a particular pig is depends on muscle tone and muscle structure. “You want a good, slender front end for the corners, yet a good beefy rear end for explosion out of the gate,” Johnson said. While the running pigs get a rest, spectators will meet Swifty, the swimming pig. Along with supplying the half-time entertainment, Swifty will let children hold him and pose for pictures with him. The “all-out excitement” show has something for all ages, Johnson said. The pigs race around the country nine months out of the year, seeing many repeat spectators year after year. The heavy schedule has kept Swifty Swine from Allen County the past several years, but Johnson is glad to be back and hoping to attract some new fans. “Once you get into it and let your hair down, it is a fun time,” he said. “Just come out and try it, because you are going to love it.”