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Pork Expo fun

By Staff | Jun 17, 2011

Pig races were held throughout the three-day World Pork Expo last week at the Iowa State Fairgrounds.

DES MOINES – Everything from fresh pork on the grill, to the newest in swine equipment, vaccines and manure handling equipment, as well as visitors from more than 30 countries, were on hand at the annual World Pork Expo held last week on the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines.

Between all of the various meetings and seminars and visiting the hundreds of exhibits, there was also plenty of fun.

Including pig races.

Several times each day pig races allowed spectators opportunities to cheer on their favorite piglet, whether it was Jeff Hogworthy, Lindsey Loham, Ham Salad, or Oprah Swinefry.

Marcie Campbell, a.k.a. the Pig Lady, and Rick Campbell, a.k.a. the Pig Whisperer, brought the herd of Hedrick’s Racing Pigs to the Expo.

Marcie Campbell, a.k.a. Pig Lady, announces during one of the many pig races last week during the World Pork Expo.

The Campbells are animal trainers and in their 25 years with the show, Marcie Campbell said, it was common for them to travel with the company for up to eight months a year. However, they recently have begun to slow down a little bit, she said, although they still enjoy putting on the shows.

“They are family shows, everyone can laugh and have a good time,” said Campbell.

Hedrick’s Racing Pigs are a part of Hedrick’s Promotions Inc., an affiliate of Hedrick Exotic Animal Farm located in Nickerson, Kan.

The Campbells said they Rick Hedricks while working on a ranch in Missouri and helping to put on rodeos.

“They had one petting zoo then,”?Marcie Campbell said, “and it has since grown into what it is today.”

Rain fell heavy on June 9, second day of the World Pork Expo making it difficult for those attending to visit with exhibitors outside.

In addition to the pig racing exhibit, Campbell said Hedrick’s Promotions also provides family entertainment through camel races, ostrich races and petting zoos across the United States.

“We go coast-to-coast and border-to-border and even extend out to Hawaii,” said Campbell.

The petting zoos, considered educational exotic animal exhibits, are primarily hired for state fairs, including the 2011 Iowa State Fair.

These animals are usually less than a year old, with the exception of the camels and goats and are changed out regularly in order for the animals to get plenty of rest.

“The animals don’t work as hard as the people do,” said Campbell.

On the Hedrick farm, Campbell said, one can see giraffes, camels, zebras, kangaroos, African and Indian antelope, porcupines, emus and tortoises.

They also have a group of “crazy cattle critters,” which is a variety of exotic cattle breeds.

Tours of the farm provide visitors a chance to get up close, pet and feed some of the animals as well as camel and pony rides.

The Hedrick Bed and Breakfast Inn is a replicated Old West main street with safari-type suites decorated with murals depicting the animals on the farm.

According to the company, the animals are home grown through the farm’s breeding program. A full-time trained staff insures that each animal receives individual care regarding nutrition requirements, housing needs and human companionship.

They are also licensed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and have a veterinary service that provides 24-hour assistance to both the farm and touring units.

According to Campbell, they will also provide animals for shows such as the traveling Radio City Rockettes Christmas Spectacular and for Christmas Nativities, too.

Contact Kriss Nelson at jknelson@frontiernet.net.

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