When I was a kid, one of my favorite games to play at school was "Steal the Bacon."

Steal the Bacon (at least the way we played it) was essentially Capture the Flag. Players were divided into two teams that would compete across a field or court divided by a middle line. A "bacon" (or ball) was placed in a safe zone at each end of the court/field. When the game began, players from each team would attempt to reach the safe zone on the other side of the opposing team's half of the field/court, retrieve the bacon, then return to their side with the bacon. If any player was tagged by an opponent while in "enemy territory," they were considered out until the next round. It was one of my favorite games to play, though I always wondered where the name "Steal the Bacon" came from...

Whatever the reason for the game's name, it is quite literally illegal in the state of Minnesota to steal the bacon! According to 2020 Minnesota Statute 343.36 regarding greased pig contests and turkey scrambles, "No person shall operate, run or participate in a contest, game, or other like activity, in which a pig, greased, oiled or otherwise, is released and wherein the object is the capture of the pig..." The law isn't just for pigs alone, either -- according to the same law it's also illegal to release or throw into the air a chicken or turkey for the purpose of capturing it. Any violation of the law is a misdemeanor. The law goes back to two different laws enacted in 1971 and 1981 regarding cruelty to animals.

Alright, so maybe it's not illegal to play "Steal the Bacon" at school, but technically it is illegal to grease up a pig and try to capture it!

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