Pig racing lights up footy race day
RUGBY league, horses and pig racing.
The Rugby League Ipswich race day at Ipswich Turf Club on Saturday was certainly an eclectic affair and was well supported despite the extreme heat.
Former Maroons rugby league star Dale Shearer brought a new dimension to the day with his pig racing carnival, which raised funds for a variety of cancer charities.
Mr Shearer lost his wife and father to cancer and funds from the pig racing, which punters betted on, went to a variety of organisations.
The six racing pigs stood up well in the heat with the first race taken out by the pig in a green insignia by shrewd punter Michael Lakey.
"My pig stepped out well and stood up with the pack, and found the line in the last little bit...which was great," he said.
"I'm a horse trainer and Rowdy (Dale Shearer) is raising money for a good cause.
"This is the first time I've seen this, and it was a lot of fun."
Mr Lakey donated all of his $100 winnings back to charity.
Noah's Thoroughbred Racing Pigs breed the pigs under the tutelage of Kevin 'the pig whisperer' Kiley.
"We started Noah's Thoroughbred Racing Pigs on Melbourne Cup day in 2000 and the Ipswich Show was one of the first shows we done," he said.
Mr Kiley said the training regime was "top secret".
"But so long as they like milk, that's a start," he grinned.
"It is like me and Rowdy with beer. With the pigs it is milk."
The pigs went through an obstacle course that contained various bowls of milk, with one at the finish line as extra incentive.
Mr Kiley's organisation has raised over $1 million for a variety of charities from Royal Flying Doctors to Shearer Tackles Cancer to local Rotary clubs
"Last year we started at this time and I didn't have a weekend off until the end of November," he said.
Mr Shearer said the day was enjoyable and the pig racing embraced by the punters.
"It was terrific for people of all ages, a lot of fun and all for a good cause," he said.
"We got plenty of support which was great to see.
"We are looking to hold one of these days once a month."
Rugby League Ipswich manager Brendon Lindsay said the day was a great success.
"We've held it for the last three or four years now and it is a great way to get the clubs involved and kick the season off," he said.
Mr Lindsay said it was a great combination to have Mr Shearer's pig racing on the same day, given his rugby league connection.
Rugby League Ipswich is keen to book the day in well into the future.