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May 29, 1968 - Image 7

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1968-05-29

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Wednesday, May 29, 1968


Page Seven

Wednesday, May 29, 1968 THE MICHIGAN DAILY Page Seven

Pigs prep

for grind in the grime

New story
By The Associated Press
Will Grimsley, AP's well known
sports writer, has written a serie's
of six articles on college athletics
and its problems, which range all
the way from recruiting to the
mounting costs of big athletic
Grimsley travelled to the Uni-
versities of Alabama, Notre1Dame
and Yale to get on-the-spot in-
formation from three schools each
with a completely different ap-
proach to college athletics. He
saw the nations top collegiate
prospects, now finishing high
school, in Atlanta and got the
story of high pressure recruiting
from his father. Interviews with
coaches and educators rouided
out the picture,
The stories will run in The
Daily beginning on Tuesday,
June 4.

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Pigs and Tnerko taking practice licks on fabled track

SEMINOLE, Ark.-Mad Moun-i
tain Tnerko is haunted by a
dream few men have ever dared'
Tnerko wants to beat the pigs.
For the eighth year in a row,
Tnerko plans to enter tomorrow's
annual Memorial Day Pig-Down,l
held in this small Ozark hill-town.1
The event always attracts the best
pigs from throughout the South,
pigs born and bred only to race
valiantly on the last Thursday in
May. Pigs representing the best
Dixie has to offer, generations of
fine blood. Yet Tnerko still be-
lieves in himself, in his ability as+
a man, in his chance to win.'
The Pig-Down has never at-1
tracted much national attention,1
yet in the South it is one of the
year's most important sports.
events. Perhaps the spirit of the
Downer, as it is known to afici-
anados, and the loyalty of its en-
thusiasts is best captured in the
words of Jack"Blue Belly" Burns
as he says, "I ain't missed a
Downer yet and I ain't gonna
never miss a Downer. It makes
life worth livin'."c
Two-point-three miles of sheer
hell. That's what the annual
Memorial Day Pig-Down is about.
Two-point-three miles of squeal-
ing, straining, sweating pig flesh
in a desperate dash for victory
with no holds barred all alongl

the way. 2.3 treacherous miles of1
slippery mud on which races the +
fastest pigs in the South. And1
Mad Mountain Tnerko.
Tnerko runs for the same rea-
son other men must climb moun-
tains. "Sure it's lonely out there,"
he says, "sure it's lonely. You
think it's fun out there, wallow-
ing in the mud with 10,000 pounds
of porkers? You think so? Well,
then you're crazy."
Eight years ago Tnerko shocked
the annual Memorial Day Pig-
Down crowd by showing up at the
starting line. There was much
controversy ofer whether or not
he had the right to participate,
but after much discussion it was
decided that since the rules didn't
explicity prohibit a man from
participating, Tnerko would be
allowed to run. He finished a dis-
mal 43rd out of a field of 47.
"I entered, I entered for the
first time, because I was having
a fight with Rhonda Mae Ed-
wards, who said to me, 'Mad
Mountain, you ain't no better
than a pig,' So I got to thinking,
'Mad Mountain, you better than
a pig?' And, after a while think-
ing, I wasn't sure. So since the
annual Memorial Day Pig-Down'
was coming up, and I could test
myself against the pigs, I decided
I would enter.
"After I did so bad that first

time I was more confused than
ever about whether or not I was
better than a pig. I mean, I was
staying up nights worrying about
it and trying to decide. I just had
to run the next year, just had to,
to find out."
There are some who might see
Mad Mountain Tnerko as a pa-
thetic creature. He trains hard
for the annual Memorial Day Pig-
Down, living the last M/onth be-
fore the race on a diet of coffee
grounds, melon rinds, chard, corn
cobs and an occasional fish head
for calcium.
"After I did so bad the first
time, I thought maybe if I knew
how the pigs felt I could do
better. So the second year I went
into my training diet. I think it
helped some, but it was a little
tough for my friends to swallow.
Since then Tnerko, a greens
grocer in the off season, has
dedicated himself to some day
winning the race. This year the
big money in the hills around
Seminole has not been making
book on the bet, but a casual
public opinion poll conducted at
Mark and Sarah's Sunoco station
has put Mad Mountain finishing
Mad Mountain doesn't care
about what others think. Two
years ago he nearly won the race
before he got doubled up with
stomach cramps in the last lap,

and although he did badly last gotta run against them pigs to-
year he thinks now is his time. morrow.
"I know what people think, they "I just gotta do it."
think I'm a fool. Well, maybe, I Mad Mountain Tnerko. The
am and maybe I'm not. But I just stuff men are made of.


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