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State fair features husband and hog calling

August 11, 1997

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) _ To call her husband, Tish Dixon simply shoves two fingers into her mouth, whistles sharply and wails, ``Scott-eeeee!″

Holly Pankau has another technique. She lugs a picnic basket, an inflatable baby pool and a red-and-white beach umbrella into a swine barn. After stripping down to a bikini top and tight black shorts, she bellows: ``Jo-hhh-nnn! Sweetie-ums! John Boy! Where aaaaare you?″

Dixon’s method was more effective, at least in the eyes of the judges at the 1997 Illinois State Fair. She took home the first-place ribbon in the annual Husband-Calling Contest on Sunday.

``Yes, my husband does respond _ that’s why we have such a good marriage,″ said Dixon, who works at the state Department of Public Aid.

Dixon said she decided to enter the husband-calling contest at the urging of her sister-in-law, Mary Moody, a past champion husband-caller.

``I told her to be very enthusiastic, very loud and hold her yell for a very long time,″ Moody said.

Husband-calling was combined with the fair’s annual hog-calling contest, a practical skill for the farmers who enter the competition.

``I really do call my pigs twice a day to feed them,″ said Chris Karr, a farmer and hog-raiser who took home the first-place ribbon for the second consecutive year.

``And they do respond,″ he said. ``They’re very smart.″

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