The Dirt Pigs History
1982 - 2012 – ‘Dirt Pigs’ baseball team celebrates 30 years playing baseball from Walkerton, Ontario - Canada. Many new faces have come and gone in the twenty-nine years but the team is still playing orthodox baseball in Walkerton, volunteering for events and they enjoy entering a few slo-pitch ball tournaments.
In 1982, a group of local Ontario ball players from Cargill, Chepstow and Walkerton area organized a baseball team in the Walkerton Orthodox Softball League. The name of the ball team was a genuine comment from ‘Beretta’ - Dave Zettler, after capturing a playful mud wrestling activity one early morning with a bunch of farm boys and said, “You are a bunch of dirt pigs”. The next game the comment became the baseball team name.
In 1985, nineteen Dirt Pigs baseball players entered a slo-pitch baseball tournament in ‘Cornfest’ in Mitchell, Ontario. The next year the team entered the Cornfest Slo-pitch Baseball Tournament but the tournament was full so they were declined to play. A few players let out a few pig squeals at the next ball game and someone squeaked out “Why not organize a Dirt Pigs Slo-pitch Tournament?” From this inspirational ‘Cornfest’ let-down the ‘Dirt Pigs’ decided to host their own slo-pitch baseball tournament and planning was in the works that winter.
In 1987, the Dirt Pigs Invitational Slo-pitch Tournament hosted sixteen teams. The first year, the Dirt Pigs donated a $1000 to local Chepstow and area charities and foundations.
The tournament was hosted in Chepstow for many years and the Dirt Pigs ball team was just hoping to break even when it came time to pay the bills. It was a blessing to discover each year they made profit, which was donated to different organizations in the local area.
In 1995, the Dirt Pigs Invitational Slo-pitch Tournament was moved to Walkerton, Ontario – an idea thought up by the late “Plug” Bester who was highly honored at this tournament for his keen pig thinking and his fourteen years as a dedicated Dirt Pigs ball player, the tournament name changed to the Robert “Plug” Bester Memorial Dirt Pigs Invitational Slo-Pitch Tournament. That year 64 teams entered the ball tournament in Walkerton.
Over the years the baseball tournament got larger and approximately 96 baseball teams enter each year, which includes different classes for the men’s and ladies divisions. Each division has their own pig association; the men’s class includes Boars, Hogs, Wieners and Runts. The ladies class includes Sows and Piglets. Ten diamonds are rented each year now to accommodate all the games in Cargill, Chepstow, Mildmay and Walkerton.
In 2004, some pig had a dream; the vision was to have a bigger music celebration like Woodstock. The weekend changed its name to “PIGSTOCK” and added one major change, move the indoor dance to a Pigstock Celebration Dance outside in the parking lot, like a street dance. PIGSTOCK still includes the Robert “Plug” Bester Memorial Dirt Pigs Invitational Slo-pitch Tournament, breakfasts, raffle draw, food booth, bar refreshments, and a free children’s program.
PIGSTOCK and the baseball tournament have been very successful for the past thirty-five years, 1987-2012 and each year many charities and foundations receive donations from the Dirt Pigs in the Walkerton area. Some donations are given to the Walkerton Fire Department, Bruce County Children’s Aid Society, two scholarships each at the Walkerton District Secondary School and Sacred Heart High School, Rob Bester Memorial Fund which is to help a person in need in the community and many other donations.
The Dirt Pigs Alumni Club, with a board-of-directors and many sub-committees, now operate PIGSTOCK. There are approximately 250 volunteers involved with the operation of PIGSTOCK in lining the diamonds, score keeping, umpiring, operating the bar, security and cleanup. There are over 200 prizes donated from local merchants for the raffle during the weekend and the children’s entertainment highlights are greeting Mr. & Ms Pig who hand out pig treats at the children’s show. There are other organizations that run events during PIGSTOCK such as the Saugeen Snowmobile Club food booth; Walkerton Fire Department breakfasts; the Stackers baseball team selling raffle tickets, bar tickets and organizing the children’s program; the Peaches baseball team score-keeping the ball games; and other ball teams that serve in the bar refreshment area. Pigstock is a traditional event for the community and will continue for many more years.