In Business: Pig Races At The Bears Den
The Bears Den has been around for 27 years. Gary Dauer bought the business from a family relative in 1992. At that time, The Bears Den was just a tiny bar with a different name. But Dauer had other plans.
“We opened a kitchen, got all the equipment and my wife did the cooking and my kids actually waitressed, and I bartended. And we grew that way. We just decided we wanted a little restaurant, instead of just the bar,” Dauer said.
The Bears Den has grown since, and now it’s become a multi-generational family business with Dauer’s grandchildren helping out. The Bears Den prides itself on serving simple all-American food with a weekend show involving pigs.
“That would get them in the door and then they would slowly start getting interested to see what this pig racing business was all about. And so that why we tied it in to the restaurant part and the one thing we don’t serve is pork chops,” Dauer said.
The pig races was an added attraction to The Bears Den in 2002 after Gary went to Montana.
“We brought the idea back and we set up a little race track, very tiny, and we started racing pigs,” Dauer said.
“I kept encouraging him that he has to have something, the pigs can’t race all the time because they’re too little, and so to take a break in-between to give them a little break and then to get audience participation,” said Glenda Dauer, Gary’s wife and co-owner of The Bears Den.
Part of the success and growth is crowd participation. Gary Dauer involves the audience in several different games and activities throughout the show.
“With the music and the combination of the kids and family, it’s all made that all work to where we started at 25 people and now we’re up to, many Saturday nights, up to 500,” said Dauer.
If you want to check it out for yourself, The Bears Den pig races take place every Saturday at 7 p.m. through Labor Day.