Hogettes moving to the sidelines

Posted: January 12, 2013

The Winchester Star

Hogettes Nick Nerangis (from left) Rusty Nicholson and Mike Gardner will hang up their dresses and hog noses now that the group is officially disbanding. (Photo by Scott Mason/The Winchester Star)

WINCHESTER — It was a sad occasion for children’s charities and a group of grown men who, for hundreds of Washington Redskins games over the past 30 years, have donned dresses and pig snouts to support their team.

The Hogettes — a group of dedicated Redskins superfans who raise money for children’s charities — announced Friday on the group’s website hogettes.org that they are disbanding.

Winchester resident Nick Nerangis, 71, has been a “full-time Hogette” since the early 1990s.

His initial introduction to the group came when his wife won him a day as a Hogette at the annual Rally Around the Redskins event.

During the next preseason, Nerangis received a call to fill in for a Hogette at a game. Following the next Rally Around the Redskins, in which he filled in for an absent auctioneer, the Hogettes voted to offer him a full-time spot on the squad.

“I’ve been to almost every home game since the Hogettes inducted me,” Nerangis said Friday. “I am a Hogette because the Hogettes do good [charity work].”

He estimated that in the 30 years the Hogettes have been around, the group has helped to raise about $125 million for charities and organizations that help children.

Nerangis said he has visited NFL stadiums and children’s hospitals around the country during his years as “Nickette Hogette.”

“I’ve been to Seattle, San Francisco, Dallas, Miami [and] I even went to Cleveland once.

That’s not going to happen again,” Nerangis joked, explaining that during the game in Cleveland a Browns fan was arrested for assaulting him.

Nerangis said he was surprised when Hogettes founder Michael Torbert called this week and told him he was disbanding the group.

He is interested in the public’s reaction to the group’s retirement since he has heard some fans tell the Hogettes to hang it up while others tell them that they’re legends.

“If it’s gone it’s gone. I will certainly miss it because it’s 13 guys who’ve spent 30 years doing good,” Nerangis said. “It’s sad to see it go, but in a way it’s understandable.”

He believes members of the Hogettes will likely continue charity work in their communities on an individual basis.

Nerangis added that he will always root for the Redskins:

“I’m a Hogette and I’m a Washington Redskins fan.”

— Contact Matt Armstrong atmarmstrong@winchesterstar.com