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Nindigully leaves punters hamstrung

SPEEDY SWINE: Spamela Hamderson leads the pack in Race 4 of the Nindigully pig races.
SPEEDY SWINE: Spamela Hamderson leads the pack in Race 4 of the Nindigully pig races. Joshua Macree

THOUSANDS of pig racing enthusiasts from as far as Scotland and Ireland descended on the Nindigully Pub on Saturday to witness some of the country's swiftest swine, battle it out for charity.

Visitors came in their groups, hoping to pick a winner and redeem themselves after the horse racing season had more or less wrapped up.

Most teams came dressed in a specific theme or a company uniform, with many referring to themselves as a syndicate, such was the lucrative nature of the highly anticipated races.

The day featured a jam-packed schedule of six pig races, with each pig auctioned before the races in a furious and highly competitive wave of bidding.

The winners would stand to win 50 per cent of the total profits poured into the pigs following the bidding process, with the other 50 per cent donated to the Royal Flying Doctors Service.

For those who couldn't afford to bid, there was a raffle available for each pig; the winner standing to gain $150 and a case of beer.

After all pigs had gone under the hammer, punters were confined to an emotional roller-coaster ride as their pig raced against five others around a challenging obstacle course featuring ramps, hoops and tunnels.

The sweet scent of milk lead the pigs through the course, with the ultimate temptation of a milk bowl the final checkpoint of the race.

Over the course of the afternoon, most pigs typically were snapped up for around $550, but a an intense game of bidding cat and mouse for the final pig of the Race 4 achieved a mammoth total of $860.

The winners of Race 4, a group of punters from MBS Resources, Gunnedah, who won $1830 for their winning pig, Hogzilla, were pretty happy with the victory.

"We've had a pretty tough day on the trots so far, so it's good to finally get up,” team captain Michael Stevenson said.

"I've got a really good feeling we're going to be strong for the rest of the afternoon.”

And his fail-proof strategy for picking the winning pig?

"You've got to decide on the the pig you want, and then bid on another one.”

Along with the pig races, attendees could also donate to the service through tip jars on the bar counter or bidding on a number of items up for grabs, including a 70L fridge with a built in TV, pub T-shirts or a 10kg block of chocolate.

The service's board director Desley Marshall praised the giving nature of the attendees.

"The people that showed up are big supporters of the RFDS and I think last year the races raised about $25,000. I know the publican (Steve Burns) was hoping to reach $30,000 this year.”


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