KEWANEE, ILLINOIS - Welcome to Kewanee, Illinois, the self-proclaimed Hog Capital of the World, population 12,916, where the 1st International Bacon Olympics will be held the first week of March.
If there is any doubt that this small town loves hogs, come and feast your eyes on the spot where a six foot pig made of concrete used to sit in front of city hall. (It mysteriously disappeared in 2010, but someone thought they saw it on eBay and reported it to local police.)
Kewanee is already the site of a gigantic summer celebration held every Labor Day weekend where, according to event organizer, Harold "Porky" Rasmussen, "Attendees can pig out on the thirty thousand butterfly and pork burger sandwiches that we make and sell to the public. We also have a pig beauty contest and carnival rides. It is only fitting that our town host a winter time event, too."
Rasmussen explains, "The 1st International Bacon Olympics will be held in Kewanee's Sooie Stadium and feature individual events like 'Hog Calling' where competitors use calling techniques to gather hogs, as well as team events like 'Greased Pig Wrestling', where a team of four members, racing against the clock, chases a greased domestic pig around a fenced-off mud pit while attempting to catch it and put it in a barrel. Great family fun!"
Other events in the line-up will be Men's, Women's and Mixed "Mud Volleyball", a "Skatin the Bacon" freestyle skateboarding competition, as well as the highlight of the Bacon Olympics - the "Bacon Jump-Off".
According to the Bacon Olympics souvenir program, the "Bacon Jump-Off" requires each competitor to jump off a 50 foot high dive into a pile of foam rubber bacon strips, while screaming a bacon cheer at the top of their lungs. A panel of judges will then score each competitor using a scale from 1 -10 points, much like the scoring for figure skating. Points will be given for jumping skills, performance, choreography, and cheer originality and interpretation.
Following the athletic sporting events, the eating contests will be held. Competitors will be vying for places in the Guinness Book of World Records for the following categories: most deep fried bacon consumed in 5 minutes, most pork and bean tacos consumed in 10 minutes, and the grand finale, the Dr. Suess Green Eggs and Ham Championship requiring competitors to devour 20 "green" scrambled eggs and 5 slabs of country ham in 15 minutes. Japan's World Champion Eater, Takeru Kobayashi, is expected to compete.
Reminds Rasmussen, "Don't miss out on the fun! Since Kewanne only has a Super 8 Motel and the local 'Pig Sty Inn', be sure to make your hotel reservations well in advance. Ya'll come and see us... SOOIE!"