STEPHENSVILLE, WI (WBAY/CNN) – Hundreds of people waiting in line to see the St. Patrick’s Parish Annual Pig Rassle.
"It's kind of funny to watch people run around and try to catch a running pig," spectator Elizabeth Pulinsk said.
The stands were packed as they watched their friends and family try to catch and lift pigs in to barrels. In its 44th year, the event caught the eye of a new group of people.
As crowds filled the stands watching the pigs wrestle, animal rights activists from across the country protested outside.
"It really was just something I didn't know existed. I can't imagine this is fun or entertainment for people," protester Kim Socha said.
More than 60,000 people worldwide signed an online petition asking the church who holds the event to cancel it.
But those who watching support the event.
"If I thought we were harming them in any way, shape or form, I would absolutely not be participating in this," spectator Amanda Schroth said.
"I hope this is a tradition that ends someday just like other awful traditions in human history," Socha said.
Copyright 2014 WBAY via CNN. All rights reserved.