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Fast pigs, good times: Bear Creek pig races a hit with tourists for 30+ years

Races have funded $155K of scholarships
Posted at 7:43 PM, Jun 20, 2024

BEARCREEK — The Bear Creek Saloon and Steakhouse is running its annual pig races every Thursday through Sunday from Memorial Day through Labor Day starting at 7 p.m.

“Some of 'em are just, y’know, fast pigs, that they know their job is to run around and get to the feed first. And other pigs, they just know that they’re here for a good time," said Andy Schwab, the pig race announcer.

Half of the cost associated with betting on the pigs is donated to the Bearcreek Downs Scholarship fund.

“Kids are the future, so anything about kids, especially kids that are involved in animals, makes better kids," said Tim Davies, who was in town visiting for the summer from Cave Creek, Arizona.

Over nearly 30 years, $155,000 has gone to Carbon County high school seniors who are involved with 4H and FFA before they head to Montana colleges.

“The pig races were started by the previous owners of the Bear Creek Saloon in 1990," said Tim Ryan, the current owner of Bear Creek Saloon.

The event was first organized following the economic impacts of the historic Yellowstone fires of 1988 when tourists remained in search of something to do but could not attend the park.

“They had to work out some legal issues with the state, pass a special law," said Ryan, "lovingly known as the Pig Racing Bill.”

Organizers said they "strongly recommend" making a reservation to attend this event.