Racing pigs become TV stars
OUT Wheatvale way shearer-turned-showman Kevin Kiley isn't joking when he talks about how even the “pigs have got talent”.
His Noah's Thoroughbred Pig Racing show hit the big time on the small screen this week when they appeared on the popular television show Australia's Got Talent.
And what's more, the six young porkers from west of Warwick got the judges' approval to go through to the second round.
Yesterday though – just hours after his pigs routine was broadcast across the nation on Channel Seven – it was back to business for Mr Kiley.
“It was an experience,” the consummate rural entertainer explained.
“In truth the pigs got a bit of stage fright, partially I think because the camera man was standing in front of their track.
“And partially because they are thoroughbreds and prone to being highly strung.”
But that's show business he explained.
Overall he his felt his jacket-wearing porkers had done their home town proud.
“We'd do it all again,” he joked in what was perhaps a subtle reference to round two.
So how did the business based just west of Warwick end up being recruited for a national television show anyway?
“Well we were out at Nindigully Pub running the pig races last November when we got a call from the producers,” Mr Kiley explained.
“So the local publican filmed our routine and sent it in and we were in.”
He said the actual screen test in front of the three judges happened in February.
In true entertainment fashion the local bloke wasn't able to divulge how the series progressed.
But going on the early comments from the judges Mr Kiley felt his pigs had held their own.
“I don't think Bryan McFadden was all that impressed, but Danni and Kyle thought we'd done okay,” he joked.
And from a personal perspective Mr Kiley, who is the routine's race caller, admits it wasn't the most terrifying experience.
“The first pig race I ever organised for Melbourne Cup Day in Brisbane a decade ago was probably more nerve-wracking,” he said.
In truth these days there is not a lot that unnerves the former shearer.
These days he drives 60,000km a year taking his racing pigs to events across Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria.
But accurately speaking it is not always the same porkers.
Like the movie Babe – where dozens of young pigs played the show's star over months of filming - racing pigs have a short working life.
In fact they retire at the ripe old age of four months.
But the upside Mr Kiley said was they learnt fast thanks to a little training incentive called milk.
“Pigs are fast learners and they like racing, so mine's a fun job,” he said.
“In fact I reckon I have one of the world's best jobs: I raise money for charity and make a living doing something I love.
“Television stardom or not I don't think you can ask for more than that.”