Four-Pig Troupe Hams It Up at The Fair

By Mary Ann Albright
Corvallis Gazette-Times
August 5, 2006

Pig-themed puns including "hamming it up," "bringing home the bacon" and "ham - er, slam - dunk" kept the audience laughing Saturday afternoon at the Benton County Fair, as Nellie and the rest of Valentines Performing Pigs showcased tricks ranging from scoring a touchdown to dancing to spelling.

Fans went hog wild as 14-year-old Nellie, whose extensive television resume includes stints on "The Today Show" and "Late Show with David Letterman," put her allowance in a piggy bank and practiced earthquake drills.

In addition to Nellie, Steve and Priscilla Valentine of Gig Harbor, Wash., train and live with three other miniature pigs: 7-year-old Snort, 3-year-old Petunia Pancake (so named because she mysteriously smells like maple syrup) and 8-week-old Wilbur.

Wilbur was a huge hit with fairgoers. The little piglet has already learned to sit, and, after several practice rounds, was able to leap over a small hurdle.

"He was so cute," said Alex Brookes, 10. Brookes and his cousin, 11-year-old Zoe Prince-Brookes, stood in line to pet Petunia on Saturday.

They've been around pigs before, and said they've always liked the animals.

Nancy Rasmussen agreed that Wilbur was by far the favorite pig in the bunch.

"We liked the little pig," she said. Rasmussen and her family are in town from Minneapolis, Minn., visiting their cousins, the Colemans.

Annie Coleman, 15, got inspired by Valentines Performing Pigs, and her own oinkers might have their work cut out for them now. "I do 4-H pigs, and I didn't realize how smart they are. I thought it would be fun to train my own pigs to do tricks," she said.

The pigs perform again at noon, 2 and 4 p.m. today.

To learn more about Nellie, Snort and the other members of Valentines Performing Pigs, see

Mary Ann Albright can be reached at or 758-9518.

WHEN: Noon to 10 p.m. today, the final day of the fair.
WHERE: 110 S.W. 53rd St., Corvallis.
TICKETS: $8 for adults, $3 for youth (6-12), $5 for seniors.
CARNIVAL COUPON BOOKS (40 tickets): $30.

ANDY CRIPE/Gazette-Times Nellie, the star performer with Valentines Performing Pigs, prepares to pop a balloon with the assistance of Priscilla Valentine near the end of their first show Saturday afternoon at the fair.