A young volunteer chases three piglets named Mary Hamkins, Petunia and Sir Oinks-a-lot through the race Kenai Peninsula Fairgrounds during the pig races on Friday, Aug. 16, 2019 in Ninilchik, Alaska. Spectators place bets on their favorite swine to win and the proceeds go to support the fair. (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News)

A young volunteer chases three piglets named Mary Hamkins, Petunia and Sir Oinks-a-lot through the race Kenai Peninsula Fairgrounds during the pig races on Friday, Aug. 16, 2019 in Ninilchik, Alaska. Spectators place bets on their favorite swine to win and the proceeds go to support the fair. (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News)

Living the fair life

Residents enjoy weekend of pig races, fish throwing, and livestock auctions in Ninilchik

Fair weather and fair fun were in abundance this weekend at the annual Kenai Peninsula Fair in Ninilchik.

Families from all over the peninsula converged on the fairgrounds to enjoy live music, classic games like the egg throwing competition, classic-to-Alaska games like the fish throwing contest, and the ever popular 4-H Junior Market Livestock Auction.

Participants in 4-H also showcased their talents in other ways not related to pigs, goats and cattle. The exhibit hall at the fairgrounds was filled to the brim this year with one-of-a-kind creations showcasing the talent of local youngsters and their love of Alaska. From handmade traditional Alaska Native mukluks, to miniature Lego replicas of the BB-8 android from the Star Wars film franchise, crafting skills of all kinds were on display.

Another big crowd-pleaser were the annual pig races. Businesses, including Alaska USA Credit Union, Diamond M Ranch and Matti’s Farm in Kenai, each sponsored a piglet. The animals race in two heats before a final showdown between the winners of those first two rounds.

Spectators place bets on which swine they favor to win, and those who win get to take tokens to the Ninilchik Thrift and Gift to redeem for prizes. All proceeds from the pig races go to support the fair.

This year’s first round of races featured a tight competition between a group of six piglets: Mary Hamkins, Petunia, Sir Oinks-a-lot, Lightning, Hamlet and Kevin Bacon. As the announcer noted between races, it’s “the largest baby pig race on the entire Kenai Peninsula.”

Petunia came out victorious against the winner of the first heat, Hamlet, to take home the trophy in Friday’s first round of racing.

The main event on Saturday was the 4-H Junior Market Livestock Auction, which featured pigs, cows, lambs, turkeys, geese and even a few pheasants raised over the last year by about 40 kids from clubs across the peninsula. The animals were judged on Friday and each category had a grand champion and a reserve champion, which were the first to be sold off Saturday afternoon. The animals were mostly bought by local organizations and businesses, including the Soldotna Rotary Club, which buys the grand champion pig each year.

This year’s grand champion pig was Chaos, raised by soon-to-be seventh grader Alekzander Angleton of Nikiski. Angleton is in his fourth year with the 4-H program and only his second year raising a pig for the auction. When asked how Chaos got his namesake, Angleton said that he was pretty wild as a piglet and was always causing trouble. As if to answer the question himself, Chaos knocked over his water bowl during Angleton’s interview. Despite his rebellious nature, Chaos drew a lot of compliments from this year’s judge, Rayne Reynolds, who told Angleton that the pig could easily be competitive on a national level.

Angleton said that one of the trickiest parts of raising a pig is training them for the showmanship aspects of the auction and getting the pig to “respect the stick.” Angleton’s advice for any would-be pig farmers out there is to give them a bowling ball to root around with so their neck muscles are exercised, and put a step in front of their trough to strengthen their front shoulders.

While Chaos may have won grand champion, he wasn’t the biggest pig in the pens. That title went to the Apocalypse, who came in at a remarkable 335 pounds and was raised from birth by Gracie Rankin. Rankin, also from Nikiski, said that this was her fifth year raising pigs but her first time raising one from birth rather than buying it as a piglet, which is more common. Rankin got two sows back in December, but unfortunately one of them died shortly after giving birth. Rankin said that she had to nurse Apocalypse by hand for a while, and the process of raising a pig from birth ended up being a lot more time-consuming than she expected.

“At one point I had five baby pigs in my living room,” Rankin said.

The kids responsible for raising the animals get to keep all the profits from each sale, with one notable exception. Each year features a charity animal, and this year’s was a pig named Chancho raised by Bailey Epperheimer of Nikiski. Epperheimer chose the Nikiski Children’s Fund to receive all of the revenue from Chancho’s sale, a charity that provides resources to Nikiski students in need.

This year’s auctioneers were Rayne Reynolds, Norm Blakely and Andy Kriner. All three had the high-speed auctioneer’s voice down to a science and managed to keep the crowd entertained by occasionally teasing the bidders into going for that extra 25 cents per pound. After each animal was successfully auctioned off, the audience also had a chance to “add on” by donating a little extra on top of the sale. Rep. Ben Carpenter, R-Nikiski, donated $25 to every kid who showed an animal on Saturday. All told, the kids received thousands of dollars in sales and donations from the businesses and individuals doing the bidding. Peak Oilfield Service alone bought five pheasants, three turkeys and three pigs.

The profits from the auctions are typically split between the cost of next year’s animals and savings accounts, but the kids are free to spend the money however they choose.

Reach Brian Mazurek at bmazurek@peninsulaclarion.com. Reach Megan Pacer at mpacer@homernews.com.

Alekzander Angleton takes a photo with his grand champion pig, Chaos, at the Kenai Peninsula Fair on Saturday, Aug. 17, 2019 at the fairgrounds in Ninilchik, Alaska. (Photo by Brian Mazurek/Peninsula Clarion)

Alekzander Angleton takes a photo with his grand champion pig, Chaos, at the Kenai Peninsula Fair on Saturday, Aug. 17, 2019 at the fairgrounds in Ninilchik, Alaska. (Photo by Brian Mazurek/Peninsula Clarion)

Bailey Epperheimer and Judah Johnston pose with Epperheimer’s pigs, Maui and Chancho, at the Kenai Peninsula Fair on Saturday, Aug. 17, 2019 at the fairgrounds in Ninilchik, Alaska. (Photo by Brian Mazurek/Peninsula Clarion)

Bailey Epperheimer and Judah Johnston pose with Epperheimer’s pigs, Maui and Chancho, at the Kenai Peninsula Fair on Saturday, Aug. 17, 2019 at the fairgrounds in Ninilchik, Alaska. (Photo by Brian Mazurek/Peninsula Clarion)

A participant tries his hand at the fish throwing competition at the Kenai Peninsula Fair on Saturday, Aug. 17, 2019 at the fairgrounds in Ninilchik, Alaska. (Photo by Brian Mazurek/Peninsula Clarion)

A participant tries his hand at the fish throwing competition at the Kenai Peninsula Fair on Saturday, Aug. 17, 2019 at the fairgrounds in Ninilchik, Alaska. (Photo by Brian Mazurek/Peninsula Clarion)

brian mazurek/peninsula clarion                                Auctioneers Andy Kriner, left, and Rayne, Reynolds, right, celebrate a successful sale during the 4H Junior Market Livestock Auction at the Kenai Peninsula Fair on Saturday at the fairgrounds in Ninilchik. (Photo by Brian Mazurek/Peninsula Clarion)

brian mazurek/peninsula clarion Auctioneers Andy Kriner, left, and Rayne, Reynolds, right, celebrate a successful sale during the 4H Junior Market Livestock Auction at the Kenai Peninsula Fair on Saturday at the fairgrounds in Ninilchik. (Photo by Brian Mazurek/Peninsula Clarion)

Crabshoot performs on the Ocean Stage at the Kenai Peninsula Fair on Saturday, Aug. 17, 2019 at the fairgrounds in Ninilchik, Alaska. (Photo by Brian Mazurek/Peninsula Clarion)

Crabshoot performs on the Ocean Stage at the Kenai Peninsula Fair on Saturday, Aug. 17, 2019 at the fairgrounds in Ninilchik, Alaska. (Photo by Brian Mazurek/Peninsula Clarion)

Attendees of the Kenai Peninsula Fair enjoy the music of Crabshoot on Saturday, Aug. 17, 2019 at the fairgrounds in Ninilchik, Alaska. (Photo by Brian Mazurek/Peninsula Clarion)

Attendees of the Kenai Peninsula Fair enjoy the music of Crabshoot on Saturday, Aug. 17, 2019 at the fairgrounds in Ninilchik, Alaska. (Photo by Brian Mazurek/Peninsula Clarion)

Attendees of the Kenai Peninsula Fair smile for the camera on Saturday, Aug. 17, 2019 at the fairgrounds in Ninilchik, Alaska. (Photo by Brian Mazurek/Peninsula Clarion)

Attendees of the Kenai Peninsula Fair smile for the camera on Saturday, Aug. 17, 2019 at the fairgrounds in Ninilchik, Alaska. (Photo by Brian Mazurek/Peninsula Clarion)

A llama snacks on some greens in its pen Friday, Aug. 16, 2019 at the Kenai Peninsula Fair in Ninilchik, Alaska. (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News)

A llama snacks on some greens in its pen Friday, Aug. 16, 2019 at the Kenai Peninsula Fair in Ninilchik, Alaska. (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News)

A calf relaxes in its pen at the Kenai Peninsula Fairgrounds on Friday, Aug, 16, 2019 during the annual fair in Ninilchik, Alaska (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News)

A calf relaxes in its pen at the Kenai Peninsula Fairgrounds on Friday, Aug, 16, 2019 during the annual fair in Ninilchik, Alaska (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News)

A kid (baby goat) born at the Kenai Peninsula Fairgrounds the night before the fair, explores its pen with its mother on Friday, Aug. 16, 2019 at the fair in Ninilchik, Alaska. (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News)

A kid (baby goat) born at the Kenai Peninsula Fairgrounds the night before the fair, explores its pen with its mother on Friday, Aug. 16, 2019 at the fair in Ninilchik, Alaska. (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News)

Piglets about to be let loose on a race course wait in their contestant holding pens during the pig races at the Kenai Peninsula Fair on Friday, Aug. 16, 2019 in Ninilchik, Alaska. Spectators bet on which pig they think will win in each heat, and proceeds go to support the fair. (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News)

Piglets about to be let loose on a race course wait in their contestant holding pens during the pig races at the Kenai Peninsula Fair on Friday, Aug. 16, 2019 in Ninilchik, Alaska. Spectators bet on which pig they think will win in each heat, and proceeds go to support the fair. (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News)

A replica of the BB-8 android from the Star Wars film franchise made of legos rests on a shelf in the exhibit hall at the Kenai Peninsula Fair on Friday, Aug. 16, 2019 at the fairgrounds in Ninilchik, Alaska. (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News)

A replica of the BB-8 android from the Star Wars film franchise made of legos rests on a shelf in the exhibit hall at the Kenai Peninsula Fair on Friday, Aug. 16, 2019 at the fairgrounds in Ninilchik, Alaska. (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News)

A ceramic mug created by a fair participant rests on a shelf in the exhibit hall Friday, Aug. 16, 2019 at the Kenai Peninsula Fair in Ninilchik, Alaska. (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News)

A ceramic mug created by a fair participant rests on a shelf in the exhibit hall Friday, Aug. 16, 2019 at the Kenai Peninsula Fair in Ninilchik, Alaska. (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News)

More in News

The sign in front of the Homer Electric Association building in Kenai, Alaska as seen on April 1, 2020. (Photo by Brian Mazurek/Peninsula Clarion)
Candidate nomination deadline for HEA election approaches

Elections for the Homer Electric Association Board of Directors are coming up,… Continue reading

Commercial fishing and other boats are moored in the Homer Harbor in this file photo. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)
Seawatch: International Pacific Halibut Commission studying COVID-19 impacts on fishermen

Three surveys will look at financial impacts before and during the pandemic

The Pfizer vaccine for COVID-19 shortly after it arrived at the South Peninsula Hospital on Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2020 in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News)
State opens next vaccination tier

More than 23% of peninsula residents have gotten first vaccine dose

Alaska state Sen. Lora Reinbold, an Eagle River Republican, holds a copy of the Alaska Constitution during a committee hearing on Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2021, in Juneau, Alaska. Gov. Mike Dunleavy, a Republican, sent Reinbold a letter on Feb. 18, 2021, saying she has used her position to “misrepresent” the state’s COVID-19 response. Reinbold said the letter was “full of baseless accusations and complaints.” (AP Photo / Becky Bohrer)
Dunleavy says Reinbold misrepresents virus response

Dunleavy said his administration will no longer participate in hearings led by Sen. Lora Reinbold

Homer News file photo
Homer High School.
School announcements

School district risk level update and upcoming events

This undated photo shows a section of Deep Creek near Ninilchik, Alalska recently acquired by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game with the assistance of the Kachemak Heritage Land Trust to protect hunting and fishing in the area. (Photo courtesy of Kachemak Heritage Land Trust)
State, feds and land trust work together to acquire 93.5 acres for conservation

Oil spill trust fund used to buy fish habitat on valuable salmon stream

The entrance to the Homer Electric Association office is seen here in Kenai, Alaska on May 7, 2020. (Photo by Brian Mazurek/Peninsula Clarion)
HEA work at Stonehocker Creek presents challenges

HEA remediation work across the bay continues

Ben Dickson, November winner of the Homer Flex Phoenix Award. (Photo courtesy Beth Schneider/Homer Flex School)
November Homer Flex award winner announced

The November winner of the monthly student award given out by Homer… Continue reading

This undated map shows three wildlife enhancement projects on the southern Kenai Peninsula, Alaska, planned or done by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. (Map courtesy of Alaska Department of Fish and Game)
Three projects on southern Kenai Peninsula aim to benefit moose habitat

Cut willow bushes will regenerate into higher protein browse for moose

Most Read