Feral hog heaven

By Philippe Djegal - email
Posted by Morgan Chesky - bio | email

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - Hog chases, a Fall feral hog follies pageant, and the crowning of Miss Hog Queen 2009. It was all just a snapshot of the events that made this year's Feral Hog Festival in Ben Wheeler unique. The festival is found only in East Texas.

Stacey Gilchrist, Miss Hog Queen 2009, received her crown last night. It was a moment she says she'll never forget.

"It was just fun getting to act like somebody else," said Gilchrist.  "I sang to Kermit the frog. So, it was fun."

"This is small town USA," said Alisa Young, runner-up for Miss Hog Queen 2009. "So we do everything to the extreme."

"[I'm] just out here to have a good time," said one festival visitor.

"Everything's bigger in Texas, and this is really big for us - for Ben Wheeler," said Young.

"They're smoking pigs over here," said Gilchrist.  "There's 1.5 million [feral hogs] in Texas, and we just kind of claimed the feral hog as our mascot."

"Do they make a good meal?" I asked.

"They do," said Gilchrist. "They're leaner, and they taste better than regular hogs."

"How is it?" I asked one feral hog eater.

"Pretty good," he answered. "Pretty good."

When asked why people like feral hog more than a domestic pig, Carl Standard says, "Because it squeals."

"I'm gonna go eat some pig in just a little bit after we get finished with this," said Alisa Young. "We can eat it together, haha."

This was the 2nd Annual Ben Wheeler Hog Festival. Last year's event drew more than 5,000 people from across East Texas. Event organizers say this year's festival was also a big success.

©2009 KLTV. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.