An afternoon of swinin’ good times

Cook’s Racing Pigs, from Galt, Calif., entertained the Fair crowd as they raced around the track. - Photo by Jesse Beals
Cook’s Racing Pigs, from Galt, Calif., entertained the Fair crowd as they raced around the track.
— image credit: Photo by Jesse Beals

Although the race only lasted five seconds, squeals and snorts could be heard in rounds as the piglets kicked up hay while rounding the corner in search of their ice cream and Oreo Cookie reward.

Today and tomorrow are the last chances to visit Cook’s Racing Pigs at the Kitsap County Fair & Stampede. With five performances every day at varying times, each performance features two heats and spectators can participate by placing a free bet on the colored pig of their choice.

With only four pigs racing at a time, race-goers with the colored ticket corresponding with the winning pig receive a blue ribbon that says, “My pig won.” Race times can be found on the racing trailer located near the main entrance of the Fair.

“My favorite part is seeing everybody,” said Cook’s Racing Pigs Co-owner and Charlie Cook’s wife, Tonia Cook. “People will wait in line just to get the blue ribbon.”

Based out of Galt, Calif., Cook’s Racing Pigs got its start at the 1986 California State Fair. Charlie Cook, frontman of Cook’s Racing Pigs, said they have raced for 21 years total, 14 years in a row, and perform in more than 300 cities throughout the western United States.

“Everybody gets excited,” Charlie said with a smile. “Entertaining the public (is my favorite part), and how amazed they are at how fast the pigs are.”

The Cooks and team of pigs travel 300 days a year to both state and county fairs in their custom-built trailer called “The Bacon Barn.” The mobile hog farm boasts two air conditioners, four roof vents, a swamp cooler and a misting system that serves as a home away from home for the animals. During event hours, the back door of the display trailer is left open so people can walk by and get a sneak peek of the racing champions.

More than 35 years ago, Charlie got his start showing pigs in 4-H and Future Farmer’s of America and had plenty of background having been raised on a farm.

“I like the travel ... I like performing at fairs, especially here in Bremerton,” Charlie said.

In addition to the races, Charlie offers a trivia contest called “The College of Pig Knowledge,” where he asks trivia questions that stump and amaze audience members.

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