Nick Rose/Daily Journal
Pigs jump out of the gate during the regular races at the San Mateo County Fair this week. The fair ends this Sunday.
For many, it was the first time seeing a pig in the flesh this week at the San Mateo County Fair.
Maysen Tompot, 4, was one of the first timers at this year’s pig races hosted by All-Alaskan Racing Pigs.
“I want to see the piggies,” she said. “I want the pink one to win.”
The group, based out of Eugene, Oregon, brought eight of their athlete pigs, including the pink one, Strawberry, Bob, Sloppy Joe, Sourdough Jack and Soapy Smith. Don Noll, whose father started the business in the ’80s, is helping to run this year’s pig races at the fair. The group runs races spring through the middle of fall. Pigs train on a farm in Oregon.
“Most people don’t really see pigs,” Noll said. “It’s cool we get to bring agriculture to places that don’t really have it. … It’s a wonderful summer job.”
For San Francisco’s Mireya Hernandez, visiting the fair’s petting area was the first time she had touched a pig.
“I said, ‘Dude, I’m in love with pigs now,’” she said.
This inspired Hernandez to head over to check out the races.
Meanwhile, Pacifica’s Troy Taufer brought 5-and-a-half-year-olds Gavin and Kane. This is Taufer’s third year at the fair. Kane hadn’t seen pigs before the event.
“I think it’s funny when they fall,” Gavin said.
Flat-track racing and hurdling around the track are the pigs’ specialties. There’s a 100-yard dash and the 50-yard high hurdles. There’s also a round just for laughs. Racing four at a time, they typically hit top speeds of more than 15 mph.
The 20-minute pig races at the fair run noon, 2:30 p.m., 4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. during the weekends.
“Show up 10 minutes early to get a good seat,” Noll said.
The fair takes place at the San Mateo County Fair grounds until it ends on Sunday, June 15. For more information visit www.sanmateocountyfair.com.
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