True Pig Love

Already a feature attraction at the PNE, Richard's Racers are making their first appearance at the Quesnel Fall Fair

Bill Beaulieu (Buffalo Bill) loves his pigs

Bill Beaulieu (Buffalo Bill) loves his pigs

Have you ever wondered just how fast a pig runs? Well, according to Buffalo Bill his Richard’s Racers run almost 100 miles an hour.

And that you will have to see to believe.

Bill Beaulieu, born and raised in Quesnel, owns and operates Richard’s Racers and Wacky, Quacky Duck Racers, an entertainment show that has dazzled audiences at the PNE and other fall fair’s and festivals around the province for the past eight years and for the first time he’s bringing the racers home to perform at Quesnel’s Fall Fair, Sept. 10 – 11.

How does one find themselves in the pig racing business, you ask? Well, Bill said he was just in the right place at the right time.

“I was at the PNE and saw the pig racers and thought it was great,” he said.

“For some reason I was back at the PNE the next year and saw them again.”

Well one thing led to another and if you know Bill you wouldn’t be surprised to learn he found himself in conversation with the owner of Richard’s Racers.

“It was also the first year I started my ATV rental business,” he said.

Well one thing led to another, the price was right and after some negotiations, Bill was the proud owner of Richard’s Racers in January 2008.

“I was also working full time at West Fraser so I knew this would take some figuring out to make it work,” he said.

With dates confirmed for the PNE, Bill worked out when he needed to get his piglets. They are bought at four weeks of age and the training takes about four weeks.

“Pigs are so smart, they learn really quickly,” he said.

“I’ve always loved pigs, I grew up raising pigs and then as an adult we raised pigs for the family table. I know how smart they are.”

That first race on the first day of his first contract with the PNE Bill says he’ll never forget it, it was the most stressful day of his life.

“But the pigs did what they were supposed to do and everything was fine,” he said.

“And even when things don’t go as planned, the people and the pigs love that too.”

With so many years under his belt, Bill has refined his show, vastly improved his set up and added ducks to his performance team.

Each year he purchases two sets of pigs, 16 each time, first around April 1 and the second set about July 1. His pigs are Durock/Landrace/Yorkshire cross and his ducks are Peking whites. At the end of the first part of his season, Bill sells his pigs on the hoof and then again at the end of his season.

“I know better than to be there for the butchering, they are too close to my heart,” he said.

But he also knows, he’d have a farm full of aging pigs if he didn’t move them along.

His ducks are good for about three years and once they retire from the show, he gives them to an animal rescue.

“I like to make sure all my animals are happy and healthy the entire time they are performing,” he said.

“I’d never put them at risk.”

Bill has perfected his show skills and always includes audience members in his performance. He provides three shows a day with three elements to each show, the Wacky Quackies, the Misfits and Richard’s Racers which he reminded me run nearly 100 miles an hour.

The ducks climb a bit of a hill and slide down into a pond then back to the start. The Misfits usually include a runt, an oversized pig and other assorted misfits and their race is hilarious, egged on by Bill’s banter. When it’s time for Richard’s Racers, it’s all about the win for those porcine speedsters.

However, perhaps the most endearing show is the dog show. Each year Bill looks for the two most curious pigs and separates them for his hog dogs. They receive extra special training where they perform much as a dog would.

“These pigs are special,” Bill said softly.

He cautioned that during the show no one is allowed to say the “p” word in front of his hog dogs.

Bill admits he couldn’t do these shows on his own and credits his two awesome sidekicks Deegan and Ryley O’Hara who travel to every show and know the drill as well as he does and even help Bill out at home on the farm.

For the first time, Richard’s Racers

are performing at the Quesnel Fall Fair.

“I’m excited for the hometown show,” he said.

With the two-day show, local crowds will have six shows to choose from and the shows are free.

Local businesses are invited to sponsor a pig and the fastest pig in the Cariboo will be determined after the last race at the fair.

The sponsoring business of the fastest pig will receive a trophy donated by Triple L Trophies.

Quesnel is just one stop on Bill’s busy summer schedule. If you miss Richard’s Racers in Quesnel, you can catch them at the PNE, Maple Ridge/ Pit Meadows Country Fair, Abbotsford AgriFair, Prince George Exibition and the Chilliwack Fair.

“I’m toying with the idea of maybe considering doing the Calgary Stampede once I retire,” Bill said.

“I look forward to full time pig entertainment. Working with my pigs, there’s nothing like it.”

Oh, and just because he’s not busy enough, Bill also admitted he’s about to start breeding his own pigs.