BEAVER DAM -- In spite of the heat, there was enthusiastic participation at the Dodge County Fair on Thursday when Larry Laux invited his audience to join him in a boisterous "SOOO-EEEE!"
In response, four piglets emerged wearing racing numbers and entered the starting gate.
As the name indicates, pig racing is the feature of the 20-minute Pleasure Valley performance that is offered several times daily at the fair with the first show beginning each day at noon.
Laux of Adell travels across Wisconsin each summer with Vietnamese potbellied pigs, Indian runner ducks and pygmy goats to the delight of fairgoers in the Badger State.
Laux said Thursday morning this is the sixth year on the road with the racing animals.
"We're booked every year from June through August," he said. "It usually works out to 14 events each summer."
The racing animals elicited cheers and laughter from the bleachers.
"A lot of people haven't seen this type of racing before, but when they do, they fall in love with it," Laux said.
Laux, the ringmaster, encourages the crowd to cheer for each race. Each of the animals' racing silks is connected to a NASCAR star, such as Danica Porkrick, Hammy Hamlin or Rutter Busch. He picks from the audience, assigning the task of cheering for a particular racer. The person rooting for the winner gets a pig nose or a duck call.
He said when the animals are not racing they keep their cool in a temperature-controlled trailer with plenty of food and water.
"They like this a lot more than being on the farm," Laux said. "There's no air conditioning for them there."
At 8 o'clock tonight, the Nashville-based band LANCO will shine under the spotlight of the main stage. The band was founded in 2015 and released its debut four-song extended play record titled "Extended Play" in April 2016. The band also released its first single from the album, "Long Live Tonight," and another one of their songs, "Greatest Love Story," which reached No. 1 on the Hot Country Songs and Country Airplay charts at the end of 2017.
On Saturday, two classic rock bands, Great White and Slaughter, will play.
Best known for its Grammy-nominated best hard rock performance hit, "Once Bitten, Twice Shy," Great White has sold over 10 million albums worldwide, has six Top 100 Billboard hits, nine Top 200 Billboard albums, two platinum albums and clocked the top of MTV four times.
Slaughter is an American rock band formed in Las Vegas, Nevada, by lead vocalist/rhythm guitarist Mark Slaughter and bassist Dana Strum.
The band reached stardom in 1990 with its first album, "Stick It to Ya," which spawned several hit singles including "Up All Night," "Spend My Life," "Mad About You" and "Fly to the Angels." The album reached double platinum status in the United States.
Last year's headlining Saturday concert performers were Grand Funk Railroad and Foghat.
On Sunday, there will be a four-wheel drive truck pull beginning at 9 a.m. The demolition derby will take place at 1 and 6 p.m.
The fair includes many other activities throughout the grounds each day and judging events every day in the livestock barns, arena, open class areas and youth building.
The entertainment doesn't end there with custom chain saw carving, Wild World of Animals and Nick's Kids Show on the grounds each day.
Cream puffs are available in the co-op building daily.
The carnival rides at the fair will again be provided by the local family-run A&P Midway.
The concert series, tractor pull and all other grandstand entertainment including parking are always free with paid gate admission to the fair.
Individuals may attend the fair for $5.40 per day with the purchase of a season ticket. Daily gate admission is $7 before noon or $10 after noon. Children age 9 and under enter free. Season tickets are only $27 in advance or $35 at the gate. Tickets may be purchased at most Dodge County Banks, Rechek's Food Pride, Beaver Dam Piggly Wiggly or at the Dodge County Fairgrounds office.
More information about the Dodge County Fair can be found at www.dodgecountyfairgrounds.com/dodge-county-fair.