Iowa Pork helping Special Olympians show pigs at State Fair

Special Olympians from across Iowa will receive a unique challenge at the Iowa State Fair. Under the tutelage of Iowa FFA and 4-H members, 16 Special Olympians will show a pig during the Bacon Buddies® Pig Show on Saturday, August 12 in the Swine Barn.

This is the fourth year for the Bacon Buddies® event at the Iowa State Fair. It is an annual collaboration between the Iowa Pork Producers Association (IPPA) and Special Olympics Iowa (SOI).

“This event brings a smile to my face and it’s one that we most look forward to every year,” said IPPA President-Elect Matt Gent, who is a pig farmer from Wellman. “One of the primary principles for Iowa pig farmers is caring for the community and this annual event is a great way to help build stronger communities. Bacon Buddies unites Iowans with intellectual or developmental disabilities with 4-H and FFA youth in a shared experience of showing pigs at the Iowa State Fair.”

Each Special Olympian is partnered with two 4-H/FFA mentors to learn about animal agriculture, show a pig, and interact with judges in front of a live audience.

“We are thrilled for our Special Olympics Iowa athletes to have the opportunity to participate in Bacon Buddies for the fourth year,” said Special Olympics Iowa CEO John Kliegl. “Our partnerships with the Iowa Pork Producers, 4-H, FFA and the Iowa State Fair have provided a platform for our athletes to be recognized. This experience brings joy and excitement to all the participants and spectators as our athletes and mentors show their skills in the show arena.”

Bacon Buddies® has expanded significantly to county fairs across Iowa as well. More than 30 counties held similar events this year. IPPA assisted county pork producer organizations with organizational and promotional resources. The Bacon Buddies® Pig Show begins at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday, August 12 in the east show ring of the Swine Barn on the Iowa State Fairgrounds. The event is open to the public.