Friday, June 23, 2000

Pig Gig sponsor turns sow-er on Covington spot




By Cindy Schroeder
The Cincinnati Enquirer

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Eugene no longer stands at 8th St. and Madison Ave. in Covington
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        COVINGTON — A Covington porker has become ham on the lam.

        Eugene, the Industrial Revolutionary Pig, disappeared three days ago, after learning he was assigned to a corner at 8th St. and Madison Ave. in Covington — not in Cincinnati — for the Big Pig Gig.

        “That bad boy is gone,” said Terry Monnie, Eugene's self-described guardian.

        Mr. Monnie, whose law firm of Monnie & O'Connor Co. plunked down $2,800 to sponsor the perturbed porker, said that as one of the original sponsors, he was told the fiberglass pigs would be placed in various locations in Cincinnati.

        He took that to mean Eugene would be placed on or near Fountain Square — one of the primo pigpens for the Big Pig Gig.

        “I have nothing against Kentucky,” said Mr. Monnie, whose firm has five offices in Ohio and one in Kentucky. “But ArtWorks (the program responsible for pig placement) never mentioned Kentucky originally. They said the pigs would be moved to various locations in the Cincinnati area, not the Greater Cincinnati area.”

        Mr. Monnie said he's also worried about Eugene's safety on a corner “where the hookers used to stand out and flag down people.”

        Where does Mr. Monnie get such a jaded opinion of Covington and Kentucky, asks Mayor Jim Eggemeier.

        True, Madison Avenue did have a prostitution problem “a number of years ago” but, he added, “I don't believe that Mr. Monnie can state at any time in recent memory that there was any illegal activity going on at that site.”

        Mr. Monnie said he was told he could have picked the pig's location, if he had paid the event organizers, ArtWorks, more money.

        His firm bought the $2,800 sponsorship kit, but only the $10,000 sponsors get to place their pigs in the Big Pig Gig, said Betsy Neyer, marketing director for the gig.

        So far, 170 of the 400 colorful, 50-pound pigs have been placed in Cincinnati, Covington and Newport.

        Since June 10, when maps of pig sites were first distributed, organizers have received “probably half a dozen calls” from sponsors of pigs — mostly in Kentucky — who were concerned about their safety and visibility, Ms. Neyer said.

        To minimize vandalism and accommodate the tourists who are making the pigs a popular destination, the pigs will be grouped together and moved closer to the river in all three cities, Ms. Neyer said.

        In Eugene's last “pmail,” which Mr. Monnie forwarded to the Enquirer, the cyber-savvy swine wrote: “I will try to raise the ransom money sufficient to allow me to have a suitable home. Meanwhile, I will try to find a home where I am appreciated.”

        Mr. Monnie says he's put up posters offering 100 ears of corn for Eugene.

Pig Parade: Roger Bacon, Franciscan Friar
Past pig profiles and event details at www.Cincinnati.com/bigpiggig



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