Sunday, January 9, 2011

The Infamous Pig Incident

Flint Expatriate Michael D. Perry remembers a time when a pig added a little excitement to the 1962 Northern-Central Thanksgiving Day game at Atwood Stadium:

Here’s what I’ve been able to piece together, both from my memories of it, as well as from various email exchanges and conversations I’ve had people who were there. The idea was to release a greased pig onto the field during the Central band’s halftime performance. Of course there could be no expectation that the pig would go anywhere near the band, but the caper succeeded beyond the perpetrators’ wildest imagination.

During the week before the game, the main perps, seniors Ray Giguere, Larry Moyle and Frank Morse took up a collection among a number of Northern students for the caper. The morning of the game the perps went out into the country northeast of Flint to buy a young pig from a farmer for $27.

They brought the pig to Ray Giguere’s garage and began to prepare the pig for its performance with a festoon of red and black ribbons around the pig’s neck, which happened to be Central’s colors. While the perps were quietly at work in the garage, Ray’s dad became suspicious and came out to investigate and he startled the boys by bursting in the garage. After the boys explained what they were up to, Ray’s dad made some very helpful suggestions and actually fashioned a sort of harness to ensure that the ribbons and bows showed up to their best advantage.

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Just before game time Larry Moyle, a member of the band, persuaded Phil Fox to smuggle the pig into the stadium in his sousaphone case, where the pig peacefully spent the first half of the game.

Then at halftime Larry released the pig. The pig, anxious to escape its confines, at first ran down the sideline, but soon found its way onto the field. Hard as it is to believe from the perspective of 2009, the Central band was formed up in the shape of a cross, and was playing “Faith of Our Fathers.” The pig proceeded to run to and fro throughout the band formation, and the people in the stands, rather than listening reverently, were in an uproar and began chanting “Go pig go!”

Al Walters, Northern’s band director, reports that he didn’t quite comprehend what was going on at the time. “I was wondering why the Central cheerleaders would pick that moment to release a pig.” “After all,” he said somewhat defensively, “it did have Central’s colors draped around its neck, and I couldn’t figure out why they would want to disturb the solemnity of their band’s presentation.” In the aftermath the next week, however, Guy Houston, Northern’s Principal, called Mr. Walters on the carpet and only then did he begin to realize that members of his own band might have been involved.

At band practice that day, Mr. Walters simply announced that there were rumors that some of the band members might have participated in the prank, and if so, the decent thing to do would be to write a letter of apology. Later that week a letter was delivered to Bruce Robart, Central’s band director. Mr. Robart, by the way, was not known for his sense of humor. In fact, a Central band member reports that the letter made no difference, and that Mr. Robart was in a foul mood for quite awhile thereafter.

Alas, nobody seems to remember what happened to the pig. It was last seen on the field being pursued by field security personnel, who finally chased it out of one of the back doors of the stadium that faced the river. Ray somehow reclaimed the pig and later that day returned it to the farmer, but let him keep the $27 for his trouble. Perhaps that pig eventually graced some family’s dinner table. If so, little did that family know what a notorious animal they were about to feast on that day.


  1. hahaha! I love it! Now that was Good-clean-fun! - It must have been great back then.... So totally different now. great story! Thanks.

  2. I remember the incident vividly since I was a member of the Flint Central Marching Band at that time. And yes, Mr. Robart was not at all happy for a long time.
    - saxophone player

  3. That brought back good memories. Our Cub Scout pack was ushering in the reserved seating sections that day. It was my first Northern-Central game, and that halftime stunt was the best part of the game. I also remembered the student card programs in the stands. By the time I got to Northern in the late 1960s the card programs were already a relic of the past. And the world was probably too tense and uptight for clever stunts. The times they were a-changin' fast. Thanks again for the memories.


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