Just when you thought politics couldn’t get any lower, someone walks you to the curb: Well, sometimes it seems that American political campaigns are rather tame after all, what with our quaint animal kingdom mascots of the two-party circus—the donkey and the elephant—not to mention the enduring pervasiveness of red, white and blue straw hats, streamers bumper stickers and other assorted campaign-related doodads distributed on street corners as though it were still 1900 and William McKinley is debating William Jennings Bryan at the local whistle stop over the gold standard and U.S. imperialism in the Philippines. So we couldn’t help but share with you this titillating tidbit of political maneuvering from our friends in the Czech Republic, who have latched on to some bold, new—or not-so-new—ways of attracting voters to their, um, causes.
Last week, Christian Democrats in the Czech Republic began handing out free shots of plum brandy in the Moravian town of Valasske Mezirici (please don’t ask for the phonetic spelling) during a weekend election rally, in an effort to woo voters, according to a report in Reuters. In an effort to counter this appeal, the Czech Communist Party had to muster up a hasty counter strategy for their weekend meeting scheduled for the very same town square. Soon, the reds had brought in five topless women to hand out campaign literature.
According to Reuters, the communists are now slightly ahead of the Christian Dems, running at about 18 percent. Talk about getting a boost at the polls.
Bring home the bacon: Here’s another one of those great “untold stories” courtesy of our friends at the Montana Department of Commerce: An announcer makes the introductions, a trumpet sounds, a bell rings and they’re off! And just like at many racetracks throughout the country, from under the silks comes the sound of furious pounding hoofs.
Now, should you care to notice that the runners are bit shorter and more porcine than their thoroughbred brethren, this is the Bear Creek Saloon, home to the state’s only pig races. The tiny town of Bearcreek, seven miles east of Red Lodge, has been hosting this event since 1989. During “racing season,” every weekend from Memorial Day through Labor Day, the betting windows open at 7 p.m. for 12 nightly races, featuring such stars as Makin’ Bacon, Knuckles, and Nota Hot Dog.
The winning pig pays out one-half of each approximately $50 pot. The other half goes toward scholarships for Carbon County high school students (who, presumably, are bound for Texas A&M or Arkansas, home of the Razorbacks). Since Bear Creek Saloon owners Bob ‘Pits’ and Lynn deArmond began racing porkers to offset a poor tourist season during the 1988 Yellowstone fires, more than $53,000 has been raised for local scholarships. A white wire fence borders the oval stadium, which is located behind the restaurant. From a nearby balcony, race fans can witness the moves of their favorite pigs and, perhaps, sip mint juleps. And man, can those pigs fly! For those looking to chow down on a post-race plate of McRibs or pork chops, sorry, but the good folks at the Bear Creek Saloon say that ain’t kosher—at least as far as these oinkers are concerned. These little piggies aren’t going to the market, but are strictly racing stock. For more of the lowdown on Montana’s only Bovine Downs, call (406) 446-3481.