creative with their porcine designs
raises scholarship money
for area agriculture students
Lela Jane Bradshaw
(August 2012) When people talk about Steve
Fischers prize hogs, usually they are referring to the Harley
Davidson motorcycles in his Midtown Motors shop in Madison, Ind. But
during the Madison Ribberfest, it is a whole different type of hog
that has been stirring up admiration and envy.
by Lela Bradshaw
Fischer won the Pigmania competition at last years Ribberfest
with his Miss Harley-Davidson, He plans to return
this year with an entirely new design, which he has kept under
wraps until the festival weekend. Fischer owns and operates Midtown
Motors in Madison, where he sells motorcycles.
For the past two years Fischer has turned his craftsmanship
to decorating concrete pigs for the popular Pigmania event.
Last year, Fisher topped his previous second-place finish in the contest
and took home the hotly contested Viewers Choice award with his
humorous Miss Harley Davidson. Fischer estimates that he
spent 30 hours working on his attention grabbing pig. The 250-pound
concrete statue was decked out in leather and chrome and sported orange
details familiar to fans of the famous motorcycle brand.
The finishing touch, however, was the mannequin that accompanied the
pig, a pretty blond model in motorcycle leathers walking the pig on
a leash. Fischer credits the model with helping draw crowds of men wanting
to get their photo taken posing with the mannequin.
Despite his proven track record of success, Fischer is actually unsure
as to what it is that makes his entries so popular with the crowds.
Im clueless, he confesses about what it takes to make
a winning pig. Everybody has a different design... everybody has
their own little twist on it.
Its a big event, everybody wants to participate, Fischer
Pigmania started off 11 years ago with 10 pigs and over the years has
since grown to a major Ribberfest tradition. This year, Pigmania chairman
Kevin Watkins estimates that 42 or 43 of the decorated concrete pigs
will go up for judging. The pigs started hitting the streets by the
start of July, and then on Aug. 16 the pigs will be collected for their
showcase display. He credits event sponsor Andersons Sales and
Service with helping make the heavy job of corralling the entrants possible
by assisting with transportation.
We head em all up and herd them down, says Watkins.
by Lela Bradshaw
MainSource Bank pig (above)
and the Electric Ladys pig
(below) greet visitors as they
walk down Main Street.
The pigs will be on view throughout Ribberfest just inside
the West Gate at the base of Poplar Street. Judging takes place in two
categories and prizes are presented at 6 p.m. Saturday of the festival.
One is judged like a fair contest, explains Watkins, with
first second and third placings awarded. Each entrant is judged on a
combination of how well the entry reflects the theme of Ribberfest,
artistic quality, overall aesthetic appeal and originality.
However, Watkins believes that the real competition is for the highly
coveted Viewers Choice award. Each pig on display has a
tin can where crowds can vote with their dollars for their favorite
pig. The money raised from voting, sponsorships, and the silent auction
of donated pigs, all goes toward scholarships for Jefferson County high
Its a fabulous event; people get really competitive,
Watkins says, laughing.
While everyone enjoys the fun and whimsy of brightly colored pigs springing
up around town, the event actually draws on the history of Madison as
a hub of livestock trade in years past. As pigs were being brought to
market, every so often one would get loose in the street. Occasionally,
pigs were out in public, Watkins says of early Madison. Though
the Pigmania pigs are certainly a more welcome sight.
by Lela Bradshaw
Phagans concrete pig creation
is a true work of art.
Local artist Eric Phagan, 32, also looked to Madisons
past when decorating his Pig in Antique Light, which is
covered in ink sketches of historic buildings and river scenes. Phagan
believes that the Pigmania tradition is a good way to become part
of the community.
While this is his first year participating in the event, Phagan is well
known for his innovative sculptures and, as an artist, he appreciated
the challenge of working on an unusual form. He sees his pig as a fun
way to advertise Gallery 115, which he co-owns saying that it brings
an awareness of the business.
Phagan notes that many of the pigs admirers appreciate the different
approach he took to decorating his entry. People like it,
The pigs display in the gallery window is also something a little
unusual. While many of the Pigmania pigs stand along the sidewalk or
in doorways, Phagans piece is presented up off the ground in the
window of the gallery. This elevation allows viewers a different perspective
on the pig and makes it more visible to the public, he notes.
The artist also believes that having the pig indoors cuts down on the
potential for damage or vandalism.
Phagan points out that business owners would not necessarily have to
rely on their own artist talents if they were interested in having a
pig to show off in the weeks leading up to Ribberfest. He suggests commissioning
one of the several fine artists in Madison to those wanting
to sponsor a pig without the work of decorating it themselves. He believes
many other artists would be delighted to have the chance to take part
in the event.
Its just good for the community, Phagan says. And
like many other Pigmania fans, he is already looking forward to next
Back to 2012 Ribberfest