Monday, July 24, 2017

Competitive Americans

In Ireland, we'd be described as willing to fight our own shadow. 

But we've branched out from football, baseball, basketball and found three more things to race - our babies to see who can crawl fastest (which is a very young start, do admit)  and looked to the barnyard to race pigs and the dog world to race dachshunds.

The Fastest Baby Crawler competitions seem to belong to basketball as the infants race on the court between rounds or innings or whatever they're called.  Apparently a parent and the competitor are lined up in a row and at a signal, the babies are turned loose to crawl speedily to the other parent at the other side of the court.  I can't think this is good for the bare knees of babies or adults, but from the photos, the babies are often costumed.  I would imagine that most games are in the evenings, well past baby's bed time.  Where are the Child Protective Service? A basketball court floor can't be any too sanitary ...

The 22nd Annual  Wiener Dogs Nationals have been held since 1996 when the best time for the 50 yards of the race was 7.01 seconds.  The prize money back then was $1,000.  Today, the fastest time ever in a time trial was 5.8 seconds and Baby Bo is only 1 1/2 years old.  He went on to win the full competition with a time of 7.05 and the prize of $2,300.  Find out more at

Billed as "snout to snout racing," the All-Alaskan Pig Racers have been around for at least 20 or 25 years (with new piglets each season!)  The pigs run a 75 ft. course, laid out in an oval.  The first heat is straight running for the treat.  The second round adds short gates for the pigs to jump over.  The running gag is that one of the gates has a flap door for the bottom slat and the pig runs through and under the gate.  O whee!  and the audience goes nuts.

This struck me as rather tasteless at the time and today as well - upon departing, the audience members are all given a coupon for a free pound of bacon at Food4Less.  

Should you have a pig and wish to train it to race, here are some useful tidbits from  Pigs cannot be led.  The flat of the hand or a broom applied to the pig's butt are used to move the pig in a forward direction.  Pigs cannot see very well although they do have acute hearing.  The training course is laid out with solid walls so that the pig is not distracted on the way to the treat.  Gradually the walls become shorter and the pig inured to the audience. 

Think about this for a moment.  Not only do people race pigs, they do it from very fancy, a/c special pig haulers - all shiny paint and glossy chrome.  Clearly, this is a lucrative way of earning a living.

But would we want to do it? 


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