By Ben Orcutt -- firstname.lastname@example.org
Young people try to corner a pig during the greased pig contest at the Warren County Fairgrounds, north of Front Royal, on Saturday. Andrew Thayer/Daily
FRONT ROYAL -- Parents hollered and pigs squealed as children ages 5 to 14 tried to grab the greased four-legged animals during the final day of the 52nd annual Warren County Fair.
Christa Grady, 5, of Front Royal, put down her sash as Tiny Miss Warren County 2009 and entered the greased pig contest for the first time. Christa said she entered, "because I thought it was fun. It was."
Children in the 5- to 6-year-old category only had to hold on to a pig until a spotter saw them, and Christa was equal to the task, to the delight of her mother, Christy Grady, 34.
At first, Mrs. Grady said Christa couldn't keep the pig and they would instead opt for a $25 prize, but in the end, mom gave in.
"I don't want to hear her cry," Mrs. Grady said.
Christa planned to name her pig Squeaky, an appropriate moniker.
Stacy Hartman, a technician with the Virginia Cooperative Extension in Front Royal, timed contests that also included 7- to 8-year-olds, 9-10, 11-12 and 13-14.
Despite the squealing of the seemingly unwilling participants, Hartman said the pigs were no worse for the wear, with children scrambling to catch them as hundreds looked on in the new barn at the fairgrounds.
"No, it doesn't hurt the pig," Hartman said, adding that the pigs are greased with an oil used in the artificial insemination of animals.
Clayton Grigsby, 9, and his brother, Hunter, 12, made their parents, Greg and Kim Grigsby, happy when they each caught a pig. Their parents were sponsors of the event, along with Raymond and Connie Sargent, Teddy Stout Construction and the Warren County Farm Bureau.
Hunter said when his little brother caught a pig, the pressure was on him to do likewise.
"Well, it kinda feels pretty good," Hunter said of he and his brother's showing.
Mrs. Grigsby agreed.
"It's awesome," she said.
Marie Barron, 33, of Marshall, was equally proud of her three children, who each managed to grab a pig, with daughter Elizabeth, 13, having to not only catch the animal, but put it in a sack.
"I thought it was pretty fun," Elizabeth said, adding that her family lives on a farm and they raised some pigs this year for 4-H. Elizabeth said it should only take a few months to fatten up the pig she won Saturday.
Contestants had to pay $5 in advance to enter and $8 to enter on Saturday. Proceeds will benefit the Warren County 4-H.
Not to be outdone by their big sister, Katelynn Barron, 12, and Caleb Barron, 6, each brought home the bacon -- in a manner of speaking.
Katelynn said she and her siblings' pig-catching prowess felt "really good."
One of the stipulations of the contest was that each child who took a pig home had to be able to properly care for the animal and check in monthly with their local extension agent on how the pig is faring.
Tammy Henry, a member of the Warren County 4-H staff, said this was the third year for the greased pig contest.
"It's been successful every year," she said.
Squeals and all.