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Like a pig in mud





ELLIS -- Mud was no problem at the Ellis Jr. Free Fair pig wrestling event Saturday night.

Participants and spectators alike got wet from the occasional bursts of rain. The lightning held off until the end of the competition that pitted teams of contestants against a pig.

The gray skies didn't dampen the crowd's enthusiasm as the bleachers were full from the start, and the crowd ringed the pit, in some areas five or six people deep trying to get a glimpse of the action. The cheers were sometimes for the wrestlers and sometimes for the pig.

However, the number of spectators dwindled with each rain shower until only the die-hard fans and last teams' family members remained.

While youngsters chased piglets, the animal's size grew proportionately with the wrestlers.

Adult teams, like the one representing the Ellis County Rural Fire Department, chased a larger pig, and once they caught it, placed it on a barrel.

Team uniforms ran the gamut from little girls in pink tutus to adults in old jeans and torn T-shirts.

None were fit to wear when the event was over as the wrestlers slogged through ankle- to waist-deep mud. Sometimes crawling proved easier than walking, leaving the wrestlers covered from head to toe in mud.

"We're throwing them away," Jeannie Ferland said of her son Wyatt's clothes.

Wyatt, 9, competed on the Ellis Hoggers team.

"He wore his oldest clothes and oldest shoes," she said.

Ferland watched along with Wyatt's grandmother, Loretta Robinson, and Joan Winter, whose son Gannon, 9, also competed.

Winter said she was excited to see the boys' team.

After their turn in the mud pit, participants were hosed down by members of the Ellis County Rural Fire Department.

That water was colder than being in the mud pit.

Debbie Kohlrus said her daughter Trinity, 8, a member of the Ham Slammers team, "about froze" getting hosed off. Austin Carbajal, 13, agreed the water was cold. For him, the best part was "getting all muddy and getting the pig."