What’s more fun than watching four librarians run after a greased pig on a nice July evening?
When Powell Branch Library Public Services Manager Maggie Sullivan posed the question to her co-workers, they couldn’t come up with excuses fast enough. But they were quickly roped into entering the 2019 Park County Fair pig wrestling competition. Sullivan targeted fellow librarians Brianne Schaefer, Rosie Gillette and Kathy Andersen as teammates.
“I received a text that I was part of the team,” Andersen said.
Unwilling to sensibly walk away from the challenge, the four scholarly ladies decided on an appropriate team name: Loco Librarians. Then they made some shirts and, true to their profession, began to research the prospects of making a single basket in a game of pig basketball in the middle of thousands of gallons of bentonite muck.
“We’re taking this pretty seriously,” Sullivan said. “Mostly we just watched videos on YouTube.”
Not wanting to give away their secrets to possible spies prior to the epic match, teammates were tight-lipped about their plans while they waited their turn in the arena of mud in the main grandstands. They were slotted to be the grand finale of the night’s battles. But as the juniors warmed up the crowd, Andersen admitted they were a wee weak on strategy. “Mostly those two [Schaefer and Gillette] are going to do stuff and the two of us are going to yell and then fall down,” she said.
Sullivan lost a shoe early in the 60-second round. Refusing to quit and determined to get a hold of the slippery swine, she quickly brushed off her wardrobe malfunction and rushed the pig. But it was just too fast. Schaefer probably had the best chance to slow their nemesis. Sullivan called Schaefer the team’s most valuable player. “Brianne was a 4-H kid growing up and had more experience,” she said.
But the pig led to the left, then juked right and Schaefer lost her footing, falling against the fence.
As the buzzer sounded, the Loco Librarians were unable to score in their allotted minute. But they weren’t the only team flailing Tuesday night. Out of the 38 teams that entered, only six were successful — and not one team in the largest, intermediate class was able to score. The slippery pigs had the speed and squeal advantage, as well as vastly greater experience in the mud.
Team Gettin’ Piggy With It — made up of Kasen Asay, Sawyer Eck and Russell and Rhett Goolsbey — had the best score of the night, sinking their pig in 14.9 seconds in the junior division. Their score was almost twice as fast as the next best score by the Heart Mountain Pignappers, in the men’s division.
No worse for the wear, the Loco Librarians got hosed off and went home dripping wet, Sullivan said.
“The worst part was not getting the pig,” she said. “All the younger teams made it look easier.”
The team hopes to make the event an annual part of the library’s outreach program.
“Librarians want to be out in our community and this is another way to do it,” Sullivan said. “As a kid, if I would have ever seen a librarian pig wrestling I would have thought it was amazing.”
Sullivan said she didn’t have to bribe any of the contestants and even had Kalea Eller and library manager Faith Johnson on hand as possible alternates. But next year Sullivan plans to buy better shoes. “I brought what would wash off easily, not thinking about the importance of them staying on.”