Throwback Thursday: The “Flying Pig Farmer” and Elmer Get the No. 1 Plate

Larry Lawrence | February 27, 2020

Throwback Thursday: The “Flying Pig Farmer” and Elmer Get the No. 1 Plate

Cycle News Photo Collection

In this week’s Throwback we travel back in time 39 years to the 1981 AMA Pro Awards Banquet at the Disneyland Hotel in Anaheim, California. The hit of the banquet was Dale Singleton and his piglet Elmer IV. Here Singleton and Elmer accept the AMA Formula One Road Racing Championship No. 1 plate from AMA racing director Bill Boyce.

Singleton was the David who twice slayed the factory racing team Goliaths by winning the prestigious Daytona 200 in 1979 and 1981 on privateer Yamahas. He also won the AMA Road Racing Championship in 1981. Singleton was one of the best-liked riders in the paddock. The friendly Georgian, was dubbed the “Flying Pig Farmer” by a fellow racer. The press picked up the moniker and Singleton played into the myth by carrying baby pigs into the Daytona winner’s circle during podium celebrations.

Singleton’s bright career was cut short when he was killed in a plane crash in 1985.

Even though Singleton was not really a pig farmer (it was his girlfriend’s family who raised pigs), he played up the moniker of the “Flying Pig Farmer.” Every year at Daytona, he’d bring a new baby Elmer to the race. He was even offered additional appearance money in European road races if he brought Elmer along. Elmer was not one pig, but in fact a series of different baby pigs. In an early 1980s magazine interview, Singleton laughed about having to tramp through muddy old farms in Europe trying to find a baby pig to buy when he competed overseas.

When accepting his No. 1 plate at the ’81 banquet Singleton joked, “I’d like to thank Elmer for bringing me here. The AMA sent the invitation to Elmer, and they said, ‘P.S. Bring the rider.’”

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