After holding three successful Bacon Buddies swine shows at the Iowa State Fair, the Iowa Pork Producers Association is encouraging Iowans across the state to organize their own local shows.
Bacon Buddies shows are designed to give individuals with disabilities the opportunity to take a pig into the showring. There they experience acceptance by working with 4-H and FFA mentors, the opportunity to talk with a livestock judge in a public setting, and the joy of snagging a blue ribbon for their efforts. The shows are held in cooperation with Special Olympics Iowa.
"Bacon Buddies is a great opportunity for our Special Olympics Iowa athletes to be exposed to something new and socialize with friends," says John Kliegl, the president and CEO of Special Olympics Iowa. "Our athletes want to do what their peers are doing, and it's a great opportunity to work with the 4-H and FFA youth who see them as their equals. It's all about equality and a great partnership with the Iowa Pork Producers Association."
"What happens in the showring isn't the main event," says IPPA President Trish Cook. "Rather, it's the connections, friendships and memories built as participants prepare for the show. Those of us in the pork industry know that when you work pigs together, you develop relationships. Our effort here is to honor our We Care principles of caring for people and for our communities."
To encourage local Bacon Buddies shows, IPPA has established "Bucks for Bacon Buddies." IPPA will provide up to $500 for groups that plan and host these events. The money can be used for event signage, t-shirts, awards, advertising, etc. More details are here; click on the Plan Your Own button on that page. The information will provide suggestions on how to get started and the guidelines for applying for the funding.