LIMA — It was like a scene out of “Jurassic Pork.”
A pig dressed like a dinosaur had avoided its enclosure and began to look for a way out of the Allen County swine barn. Luckily, its 11-year-old caveman handler, Quincy Schwartz, knew how to guide the beast back where it could lay down out of the way.
Quincy’s mother Emily Schwartz had a good explanation for the escape attempt.
“The pigs don’t like wearing clothes,” she said.
That struggle lay at the core of the “best dressed” pig contest held at the Allen County Fair Tuesday afternoon. While many contestants tried their best to keep their pigs clothed and ready for a walk past the fair judge, very few were able to succeed.
When the gates opened, pigs would often race to the other side of the show arena while their handlers chased after them picking up the random bits of costume they had been able to strap on the wily hogs moments before. By the time Quincy’s pig finished his route around the stage, he impressively still had a tail and a few back fins.
“When they get out there, all bets are off,” Emily said.
The Schwartzes from Spencerville are quickly making a name for themselves as pig wardrobe specialists. Quincy and his pig triceratops took first place this year, but his brother Griffin had took the gold last year because of his pig’s lion costume. As for 2018, Griffin took fifth place. This year his pig was dressed as a log, and he was a lumberjack.
Emily said the costuming process is a family-based one. She’s in charge of construction, and the boys provided the vision. Quincy’s caveman get-up consisted of multiple layers and props, including a spear and club, and when he took the stage, he spoke in a series of grunts to explain the theme.
Although she’s helped the family take the trophy multiple times, she wouldn’t take much credit for her handiwork.
“My sewing skills are sufficient for the pig contest,” she said.
Placing second this year was the trio of 9-year-old Jake Spencer, 8-year-old Joe Spencer and their pig, Barbie-Q, who made up the three “porketeers.” Again the costuming was led by their mother, Jesse Spencer, of Bluffton.
Unlike many pig-raising families, this year was the first time Jesse had any experience with the 4-H program. Her husband, Randy, had been involved with 4-H growing up, and now that the first of his five kids was old enough, he thought it was a good time to get involved again in the family-friendly farm educational program. Despite Jesse’s lack of experience, she ended up with the task of dressing a pig in a cape and creating a sign reading “All for pork, and pork for all.” Judges approved of the sentiment.
“It all went really well. The best dressed was fun. Randy is getting into the swing of things,” Jesse said as one child slept in her ams and a second poked the sleeping child with a foam sword. “It’s definitely been a whirlwind.”
Reach Josh Ellerbrock at 567-242-0398.