- Associated Press - Saturday, November 14, 2015

DOTHAN, Ala. (AP) - Ashley Pippin knows a little something about catching pigs.

Pippin, of Graceville, Florida, caught his second pig in row Wednesday night at the National Peanut Festival’s greased pig scramble. Pippin won a pig in the previous year’s contest and now has the opportunity to raise another pig and show it at agricultural exhibitions.

Pippin said his strategy for catching pigs was simple.

“You just jump on them,” he said.

He did allow that the pigs could be formidable opponents, however.

“They just hit hard,” he said.

About 20 local students participated in the greased pig scramble and another 20 participated in the calf scramble. During the events, students chase and catch pigs or calves and haul them across a finish line. The students who catch an animal then raise it and show it at exhibitions.

The greased pig and calf scrambles, along with a border collie exhibition, are a tip of the hat to the National Peanut Festival’s roots as a celebration of local agriculture. The scrambles are among the festival’s most popular events. The festival’s arena filled with folks eager to see local students chase and wrestle the calves and pigs.

Antonio Villeda used a smart strategy to catch his pig.

“I waited for it to get near the finish line and then I picked it up,” he said.

Bethanie Hartzog, of Ariton, caught a calf in the calf scramble. Hartzog said she had some tense moments in catching her calf.

“Another girl and I had one and the referee told us we had to let it go,” she said. “I thought I had blown my chance and then we both let go and then I jumped on top of it.”

Adam Humphrey, of Dale County, wasn’t so lucky. Humphrey said he had fun, but he wasn’t able to catch a calf.

“It was intense,” he said. “You’d get behind them and they’d either poop on you or kick you.”

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