In its fourth year at the Iowa State Fair, the Bacon Buddies show, a collaboration from the Iowa Pork Producers and the Iowa Special Olympics, saw another hugely successful event. But this event isn’t just limited to the Iowa State Fair- more and more county fairs are picking up the show around the state every year. In fact, over 30 counties held similar events this year.

Under the mentorship of Iowa 4-H and FFA members, 16 Special Olympians were able to show a pig during the Bacon Buddies Show on August 12th. This year’s judges for the state fair show were Mike and Cristen Clark, who I had the chance to talk with right after they exited the show ring. Cristen was impressed by the whole event and, in particular, by a quote from one of the Special Olympians: “Don’t take the little things for granted.”

Of course, some athletes were more talkative than others. But, as Mike pointed out, the mentors- who also provided the pigs for the athletes to show- did an amazing job of working as a team and speaking for the interviews as well.

While the Bacon Buddies Show is, at its core, a swine show, Cristen said it’s even more important that these athletes and their mentors end the day with lifelong memories and friendships.

And for the mentors specifically, Mike said this show helps build career skills that they will use for the rest of their lives.

Mike added that this isn’t just a first-time experience for the athletes- many of the mentors were also part of this show for the first time as well.

Cristen said she and Mike have been involved with the show since the beginning, and it all started with an idea from the Wisconsin State Fair.

Mike added that this show gets everyone in the feels, and that includes the young kids who are watching this show and seeing the great example that is being put forth.

For more information on the Bacon Buddies Show and everything in the Iowa swine industry, visit

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