Mighty fine speedy swine

The racing of pigs to a treat of soft serve ice cream: It’s not an everyday sight, but it is at the Kitsap County Fair & Stampede.

Today and tomorrow are the last chances this year to experience Cook’s Racing Pigs at the Fair. There are five performances each day at varying times and each performance features two races — but it’s not just a spectator event.

All four racing pigs are labeled with a color and everyone is offered a free colored ticket to bet which pig they think will win.

“It’s free betting and everyone enjoys watching them for free,” said Charlie Cook, owner of Cook’s Racing Pigs which is home-based in Galt, Calif.

Everyone who has a winning colored ticket receives a blue ribbon and are placed into a drawing for a Cook’s Racing Pig T-shirt or hat.

“We give away two T-shirts, a hat and possibly hundreds of blue ribbons at each show,” Cook said.

Waiting at the end of the finish line is a reward of soft serve vanilla ice cream with an Oreo cookie mixed in.

“They have a sweet tooth just like humans,” he said.

He adds that because the pigs have self-feeders and can eat 24 hours a day, he had to find a desert they would like. He came across the idea at his mother’s fast food restaurant which featured soft serve ice cream.

“It was easy to get at home,” Cook said.

His mother has since sold the restaurant so now he says he totes it around in a powdered form. Cook first started racing pigs at the California state Fair in 1986 and has been touring the West ever since. He travels with 19 pigs and is on the road about 300 days a year and says he doesn’t mind the traveling.

“I like the travel ... I like performing at fairs, especially here in Bremerton,” Cook said. “It’s not as boring as a 9 to 5 job.”

The pigs travel in a custom trailer dubbed “The Bacon Barn” which features two air conditioners, four roof vents, a swamp cooler, a misting system and it’s own sewer system.

But Cook didn’t always race pigs. More than 35 years ago he got his start showing pigs in 4-H and had plenty of background having been raised on a farm.

Race times can be found on the racing trailer located near the main entrance of the Fair.

“Come out to the Fair and try to win,” he said.

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