Episode #177 — All-Alaskan Racing Pigs

Welcome to 2022! It’s our first Betty White-less year since 1922, but we’re still determined to make the best of it. Besides, we’re pretty sure HBO Max has the technology/money to hold a TV reunion of “The Golden Girls” in heaven, so we’ll just be patient until that happens. In the meantime, we’re riding out the end of the holidays with a continuous play of Dan Fogelberg’s “Same Old Lang Syne,” alternating between wondering what the hell the song is supposed to be and wiping away stray tears over things that could have been. Either way you view it, a song that begins with “Met my old lover in the grocery store” is one you need to hear at least once.

And after writing that, we can’t get Tiffany’s “Could’ve Been” out of our heads. No junior high dance in the mid-to-late 80s was complete without it. Wait, have we just created a new music category called “Wistful Rock?” (Please don’t confuse it with “Whistful Rock,” which is what people listen to during Jane Austen cosplay.) We’re not really into judgy New Year’s resolutions — far be it from us to throw around a bunch of “shoulds” regarding how people live their lives. Excepting all our podcast-related suggestions, of course … but those are less “shoulds,” and more “why nots.” Wait, where were we? Our New Year’s resolution. Is it to avoid going off on so many tangents? Nope. Our resolution is to come up with more music categories/genres, along with their playlists, for your listening enjoyment. 2022 just might be looking up.

If for some bizarre reason, that doesn’t do it for you, then this week’s podcast definitely will help start your year off right. We spoke with Bart from All-Alaskan Racing Pigs and if you’re not sure what the episode is about, then you’re not reading our headlines. These little heritage breed piggies are adorable and travel to fairs and events, mostly out west, to race each other and jump hurdles.

Just how did an Alaskan sled dog musher get into the pig racing game? Bart filled us in on how these sweet swine led him on an unusual career path starting in 1987, along with what it takes to train animals that don’t particularly care if they please humans or not. (Cookies are key — a universal truth.) And for those wondering how the pigs are cared for and what their living conditions are, we discussed their Piggy Penthouse and all the amenities that go with it. After all, these aren’t just run-of-the-mill pigs. They’re Gloucestershire Old Spots pigs, a heritage breed from jolly old England, so it’s nothing but the best for them. (Okay, historically the breed was nicknamed “cottage pig” and “orchard pig” because they foraged and grazed, but rumor has it the Prince of Wales has some on his estate, so the All-Alaskan Pigs are definitely Piggy Penthouse material. And that sentence didn’t seem weird to type at all.)

We asked Bart if there’s a crowd favorite among the pigs, how they get their names, if they have distinct personalities … we had a lot of questions about racing pigs. We also explored pig misconceptions and how watching them race clears a lot of those up. There might have even been a few attempts at pig word play thrown in. But you should listen to the interview anyway.

Once you’ve heard about the All-Alaskan Racing Pigs, you’re going to want to see photos and videos of those superstars. You can find those on their website and Facebook page, along with information about the pigs, their accommodations, where they’ve raced, their upcoming appearances, and how you can get them to come to your town. Now if you’ll excuse us, we’re off to watch the “Bringing Up Baby” episode of “The Golden Girls,” where Rose inherits an elderly prize pig from her Uncle Hingeblotter and we all learn the valuable lesson that pigs can get homesick. We’ll miss you, Betty White.

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