Winning by the hairs of their chinny, chin chins

COSTA MESA — Families packed the stands and children clutching stuffed animals lined the track. Everyone was clapping along to Queen's "We Will Rock You" as the competitors took the stage at the Orange County Fair.

Small, pink and standing on four legs, Sourdough Jack, Yukon and Kobuk positioned themselves for the race, but Soapy Smith had other ideas.

Jumping the track's small fence, Soapy Smith ran straight to the finish line, showing why he and was named after the infamous Alaskan con artist.

Soapy is known for "finding a way of not racing," said announcer Jimmie Berguin, 19.

Soapy, though, showed what he was made of Thursday afternoon at the O.C. Fair's All-Alaskan Pig Races, as he won the championship race by the "hairs on his chinny chin chin," Berguin announced.

The eight pigs, weighing between 30 and 50 pounds, were all pretty evenly matched and the winner changed with every race, said announcer and road manager Donald Noll, 20.

Still, 6-year-old Jackson Wilson, of Bellflower, called Soapy's win before the start of the final race.

"Well, he was a fast racer and he was a fast runner — a fast pig," said Jackson, whose prediction earned him a blue grand champion ribbon, which he plans to hang on his bathroom sink.

The animals aren't just fast, but are descendants of some quick pigs, said Noll, whose father started the All-Alaskan Pig Races nearly 25 years ago inFairbanks.

The pigs' fabled heritage puts their ancestors as the swine of gold miners who traveled to Alaska in search of riches, Noll said.

Noll said he knows the pigs were fast simply because they survived.

"They didn't become bacon. Therefore, they had to be fast," he said.

See Piggies Run!

The All-Alaskan Pig Races run at 3 p.m., 5 p.m., 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday with an extra race at 1 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

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