The Jefferson Iowa News®


  New Event Added to 2010 Bell Tower Festival

Based on Pamplona, Spain's annual summer "running of the bulls", a new event is going to be added to the festivities at our Jefferson Bell Tower Festival starting this year. It will be called "The Running of the Hogs". This event will showcase Greene County's role as hog capital of the world, allowing local farmers to attract the attention of state-wide media coverage. Several local hog farmers will be selected to provide between 2,000 and 3,000 of their most animated hogs for the event. Applications are available at the Jefferson Chamber of Commerce.

The route the hogs will run has been pre-selected by the Bell Tower committee, and will begin at the county fairgrounds on East Lincolnway. The route will continue through downtown, ending at the Middle School, hopefully. The hogs chosen for the run will be kept quarantined for several days prior to the event without food. The event will start with contestants standing on the other side of the release gate taunting the hogs with hot dogs and strips of bacon. When the hogs have been whipped into a frenzy, the gates will be opened, and the hogs will be released. Contestants will then run along the route in front of the hogs, it is hoped.

Greene County has long been associated with providing the world with the choicest of pork, and the Iowa Pork Producers will be on hand to film the event. Prizes will be awarded to all entries, and anyone who completes the route ahead of the hogs will be rewarded with a 9-pound ham from a local farmer, to be announced at a later date. Contestants must meet eligibility requirements, and separate categories are available for them to choose from. A special handicapped bracelet will be worn by contestants who are unable to run without assistance, and separate prizes apply to them.

The Bell Tower committee hopes that this will become an annual event. One unnamed committee member stated that success was not ensured, however. "It could just as easily end up like the 'Wrestle an Anaconda for Ten Dollars' contest that was tried in 1991 - cancelled after one year." Local residents may remember that event as the one in which local farmer Hugh Boydston unfortunately opened the contest with a less than successful bout with a Brazilian anaconda (see photo at left). The result was similar to the "Poison Oak Pie-Eating Contest" that was held the following year. 

Proceeds from "The Running of the Hogs" will go to the Bell Tower carillon fund, which currently is trying to stay ahead of inflation. All forms, rules, applications, and eligibility requirements can be obtained from the Jefferson Chamber of Commerce. This web site will report on any future updates regarding this and other Bell Tower events in future stories.   

Submitted by Spencer Straight (01-22-10)