On a recent trip to Ireland our adventures took us to Belturbet to watch Pig Racing. Not even all the locals know about this high point of culture. In fact, we arrived early unable to find where the races were to be held. At 3:30pm, there was not a sign, crowd, or hint of the impending excitement. But at 4pm, the atmosphere changed. Two trucks pulled up…one filled with pigs, which proceeded to unfold, revealing the starting line; the other transformed into the finish line. Barriers were put up, a green Astroturf® carpet was rolled out, short little pig hurdles were spaced along the route, and the bets were taken. By 4:45pm, the races began, with six contending pigs racing down the line with stuffed “jockeys” strapped to their backs.! “Watch out for #6…She’s a real flyer!!” yelled the announcer. Sure enough, five seconds later, #6 was declared winner, the pigs were rewarded with a snack and herded back to the starting truck for the second round. Six rounds of betting, six races…I lost them all, but ended up with an inspirational subject for new paintings!
This piece won the 2009 First Place Award at the SCVWS Annual Exhibition. Judge Christopher Schink commented, “It’s hard to do a good painting that amuses you. This painting is fun without being corny. With its broken-up design, this piece conveys the feeling of the subjects without seeing them. It delighted me! Not just an illustration, it is full of fun and whimsy and has an imaginative concept of design.”
If you’d like to see a short clip of the race that inspired this painting, I’ve posted it on YouTube. Click here.
You can purchase prints of this painting here.