Vala’s Pumpkin Patch celebrates 10,000th pig race – The Omaha News
Omaha News

Vala’s Pumpkin Patch celebrates 10,000th pig race – The Omaha News

By: Wyatt Moravec

GRETNA, Neb. – Vala’s pumpkin patch celebrated its 10,000th pig race, a tradition that has endured for over 27 years. Mark Celesky, the visionary behind this unique spectacle, achieved one of his long-cherished goals as he passed this milestone. 

Celesky’s passion for educating people about animals and their value prompted him to host pig races at Vala’s pumpkin patch more than a quarter of a century ago. The recent milestone is a testament to his dedication and unwavering commitment. 

“I’ve been doing the show for 27 years, been on the farm for 28, but doing the show for 27, and it was one of my original goals. I’ve always told my kids, ‘I’m not gonna have anyone else do the show until I reach ten thousand shows,’” Celesky said. 

Mark Celesky speaks with attendees after his 10,000th pig race at Vala’s Pumpkin Patch located in Gretna, NE. (Photo/Wyatt Moravec)

Mark’s son, John Celesky, reflected on the achievement, saying, “I remember sitting in the audience at like four years old, and I was like, ‘I wanna do that someday,’ and now to be here twenty years later watching my dad hit ten thousand shows is just the biggest blessing I could have asked for.” 

Despite having hosted ten thousand races, Mark’s passion for his job remains undiminished, as he continues to ‘bring home the bacon’ with his family.  

“We’ve been doing it a long time, and it’s really been rewarding. We’ve made a lot of magical moments,” Mark shared with pride. 

Vala’s Pumpkin Patch staff gather for a picture celebrating “Pig Race Guy,” Mark Celesky’s 10,00th race located at Gretna, NE. (Photo/Wyatt Moravec)

Vala’s Pumpkin Patch attracts approximately 15,000 customers per day to its 450 acre property during its open season, September through October. 

Mark said pigs are the third most intelligent animal after gorillas and dolphins, and it took three days to train them to race. 

Mark concluded the pig racing season Oct. 31st and will begin planning in June for next year’s show for Vala’s 40th anniversary. 

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