New Event Idea for Rodeos: Piggyback on PigsWritten by Lillian Tram on February 9th, 2016
Have you ever wondered why people say piggyback when they do not ride a pig? Nor do you ever see anything being packed on the back of a pig. When you envision a large pig, the scene will usually include a muddy pig pen. You might also entertain images of a seemingly lazy pig enjoying a day in the mud, or snorting at the ground because there’s a tasty treat below the surface. If you’ve been around pig pens in the past, you might also remember the pungent aroma which is often overwhelmingly disgusting.
Piggyback: an Extortion of the English Language
The word piggyback doesn’t make sense, right? Who would want to carry anything on the back of a nasty and stinky pig? So where did this particular English terminology originate from? Piggyback was actually born by a slip of the tongue, creating the word we commonly use today. It was common practice to use one’s own back, or the back of an animal such as a horse, donkey or mule, to carry a person, package or other heavy load.
So where does a pig fit into all of this?
Think of all the words used today that are twisted and changed to carry new meanings. People today are especially bad about it. Here are some examples. Just for fun, see if you can guess the term.
- Promiscuous female versus garden tool?
- Physically ill versus super awesome?
- Broken vase versus street drugs?
- Carbonated soda versus illegal substance?
- Mechanic’s tool versus unclean woman?
- Baby bed versus cool hangout?
- Supernatural creature versus unlikable online user?
- Small body of running water versus file delivery?
- Popular bottom feeding fish versus unattractive internet dater?
The list goes on and on (oh, and you can find answers to the above questions at the end of this blog post) It is therefore no surprise that the term piggyback has an evolved meaning as well.
History of Piggybacking
In earlier times, people would use the term ‘pick a pack’ when man or beast needed to carry a heavy load. Over the years, the term was slowly changed to ‘pick a back’ which kind of makes sense, right?
Still more time passed and the term piggyback was shortened to today’s popular word, piggyback, as it rolled off the tongue easier. People found the term to be less of a mouthful, or easier to say, and the term stuck. Now, everyone associates the word piggyback with someone carrying something on their back.
Would You Consider Pig Riding?
Could you imagine someone actually riding a pig? You may be thinking that riding pigs sounds like a fun sport for young children. It would no doubt be very entertaining to watch the little ones being bounced up and down very quickly on the back of a speeding piggy! Surely, the size of the human would have to be paired with an appropriately sized pig so that the pig would not be in any pain or discomfort. The pigs would also need to be very tame for safety reasons. Since pigs do not buck like horses, and they do not try to throw off their riders like bulls, it seems like a fun idea to host a pig riding race.
Pig Races? Yes, Pigs are Quick!
Now, keep in mind that pig racing could be a very smelly sport, and perhaps not for everyone, but it would certainly draw large crowds. This is the kind of event you might find at a rodeo or a county fair, where unique entertainment is in high demand. During most rodeos in the Midwest, officiates often play rock music during bull rides and other events. The sound is typically upbeat with a lot of bass, such as ACDC’s ‘Bad to the Bone’ and Queen’s ‘We Will Rock You’.
Could you imagine one of these songs playing while you were on a piggyback ride? How about Lynyrd Skynyrd’s ‘That Smell’? Now that would be a kicker to get those pigs moving! This thought may leave you to wonder why pig riding has never become an event for rodeo fans to enjoy. If the sport hasn’t been developed, could it be because of the smell and the mess?
Who’s in Charge of Pig Related Requests?
If the smelly mess is the only reason pig riding is not popular today, why not use only the pigs which were raised in a clean environment? Clearly, pigs are trainable or there wouldn’t be so many kept as indoor and outdoor pets. Therefore, it seems plausible to have pig trainers domesticate these pigs so they would be tame and docile enough for somewhat organized racing.
Of course, not so organized pig racing sounds like even more fun! Not only would this be highly entertaining for rodeo fans across the U.S., this could also open a plethora of new opportunities for breeders and animal trainers too. Would you attend something as unique and unusual as pig races, or flock to a rodeo advertising such a unique venue?
By the way, here are the answers to the above mentioned questions, in order.
If you can think of other common words that have evolved with entirely new meanings, leave a comment to share them on the blog!