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PigMania contestants test their chops
Which pig will bring home the bacon?
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Friday, August 16, 2013 11:00 AM
Alex Mehl, right, and Mark Hubbard of the Farm Bureau Jefferson County Young Farmers, unload pigs from a trailer for the Madison Ribberfest PigMania display on Vaughn Drive on Thursday. Mehl was the recipient of the PigMania scholarship twice during his studies at Purdue University. (Staff photo by Ken Ritchieemail@example.com)
The PigMania pigs are on display for this weekend’s Ribberfest. (Staff photo by Ken Ritchiefirstname.lastname@example.org)
You can put lipstick on these Ribberfest pigs - and just about every other accessory that comes to mind. They are concrete, after all, and not difficult to corral.
But moving the stout, 250-pound porkers is a completely different story.
"Some of them can be pretty heavy, and some can be fairly elaborate," said Alex Mehl, who was part of a small team transporting more than 50 pigs to the riverfront Thursday morning.
The pigs, designed by area businesses and residents for the Ribberfest PigMania, will be judged by Ribberfest patrons during the weekend festival.
The trademark hogs are lined up on Vaughn Drive during the two-day event. Patrons can judge the pigs by contributing money or Ribberfest tickets in each hog's bucket.
The money raised goes toward a scholarship. Kevin Watkins, who helped create the scholarship and still assists with the program, said the intention of the scholarship is to provide financial support for college students after their freshman year. Participants must include an application and write an essay.
Mehl, a two-time recipient of the scholarship, was on hand Thursday with his group Indiana Farm Bureau Young Farmers of Jefferson County to help setup for PigMania.
"I was happy to give back," he said.
Mehl, who graduated Madison Consolidated High School in 2005, studied agriculture and biological engineering at Purdue University.
After receiving the scholarship his freshman and senior year, he made the decision to move back to Madison and accepted a job with Indiana-Kentucky Electric Clifty Creek plant as an engineer in the environmental department.
He also helps run the family farm, which is located north of Madison, as well as his own farm.
"All in all, it's worked out quite well," he said.
Mehl and his wife, Mary, helped start the young farmers organization last year and now have about 12 members in the group.
Mehl said he was one of the students in high school and college who benefited greatly from scholarships. Now he wants to pay it forward.
"I think scholarships are very beneficial to students and allow them to do things like I have to realize your future goals," he said.
VIDEO: PigMania with Alex Mehl
VIDEO: Ribberfest Set Up
PHOTOS: PigMania contestants test their chops
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