RIVERTON – The Fremont County Fair always seems to get people around Riverton, including local towns in Fremont County, really riled up for their week-long activities and events. Nothing screams this more than the opening night festivities at the Fremont County Fairgrounds where local pigs of all sizes attempt to avoid being put in a barrel. 

Hog N’Mud Wrestling has been a staple of the fair for years now, always looking to help out local businesses who get their names out by sponsoring teams, as well as providing a fun, messy way to entertain kids and adults of all ages. Businesses and local citizens do that with their Calcutta Auction which showed which teams, like the Riverton Fire Department team who had won the previous two years, were favored and which might be underdogs.

Each team was allotted one minute to get their pig in the bucket centered in the middle of the ring. The pigs were drenched in mud before the clock began, and after that all hell broke loose. 

Pork Patrol chased after their pig Saturday during Hog Wrestling at the Grand Arena in Riverton. (p/c Carl Cote)
Team Bacon Bits tried to corral their pig into the fence Saturday in Riverton. (p/c Carl Cote)

It all started with the little kids who were allowed to be on co-ed teams of four, all of whom were going up against much smaller pigs that range in the 25-50 pound range depending on which hog shoots out of the trailer. That eight-and-under division was won by the The Pig Squad team with a speedy time of 27.56 seconds, nearly 24 seconds faster than the next-best team. 

After that, local girls between the ages of nine and 13 tried their best to get the pigs in the bucket. Those pigs, just a little bit heavier than the youth-division animals, put up a big fight but in the end three separate teams were able to get a time on the board. “Piggy Smalls” ended up on top with one of the fastest times all night, 17.98 seconds, followed closely by “Bacon Patrol” at 23.23 seconds. In third place, “Hogs & Kisses” finished with a time of 33.21. 

The boys’ 9-13 age group only had two teams finish before the air horn was blown, one of whom did so quickly compared to the other. That team was the “Pinky Piglets” team, finishing with a speedy time of 17.18 seconds, finishing over 30 seconds ahead of “Mud Throwers” (43.10 seconds).

Hogs and Kisses hoisted their pig into the barrel in Riverton Saturday night. (p/c Carl Cote)

High schoolers then took to the mud, putting up six girls teams and only two boys teams with all contestants between the ages of 14-18. Half of the girls teams ended up plopping the hogs into the buckets, with the “Brisket Babes” doing so in just 11.61 seconds – the second-fastest time of the night in any division. 

Behind them, the “Ambassador Babes” finished with a time of 16.83 despite the fact they were the lowest-earning team during the pre-show calcutta. After them, the “Gold Piggers” finished out the division with a third-place time of 35.62 seconds. Meanwhile, the high school boys only had one of the two teams finish before the air horn: “Swine Slayers” with 48.04 seconds. 

Then came the big pigs and the adult teams, all trying to lift and carry a hog that was at least 250 pounds no matter what. The luck of the draw decided a lot, especially in the men’s division, but the women were all as unlucky as possible considering none of the five teams ended up putting in a qualifying time. 

Rusty Harris flexed for the crowd during the adult women’s’ bidding Saturday in Riverton. (p/c Carl Cote)

This included WyoToday’s and 93.9 KTAK’s Rusty Harris (above), a veteran of the event, who was on the “Smokies Smackdown” team with friends.

Once the men came out for the opening calcutta it was obvious that the two-time defending champions were one of the clear favorites, earning the second-most money during the auction. Then the “Hunky Hams” came out of the chute, nearly finding a time after struggling to get underneath the hog. 

Second up was the WyoToday team, featuring Wyoming’s 2022 Photo of the Year photographer Carl Cote, who got right to business and finished with a time of 14.67 seconds. That would end up being good enough to beat the defending champions (18.63 seconds) and the “Ham Slam” team who finished right before the timer at 59.95 seconds. 

The Wyotoday Wrasslers hoisted up Trent Wheeler as they received bids from the Grand Arena Saturday. (p/c Carl Cote)

In the end, the WyoToday team (above) would finish second thanks to a blitzing time of 10.12 seconds, the fastest of the night, by the “Riverton Packers” team. 

Overall, the Hog N’Mud Wrestling event proved to be as fun as ever, even with the rain and lightning circling the Fremont County Fairgrounds. Not only that, it set up the always-fun week of fair events in Riverton, including the Wind River Rodeo Roundup nights. 

BY: Shawn O’Brate