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Sugar Grove Slim Makes Local Appearances, Groundhog Predictions Mixed Around US

Sugar Grove Slim and his owner, Jim Sparger, stop by the High Country Press offices on Tuesday.

By Jesse Wood

In recognition of Groundhog Day, Sugar Grove Slim made his annual appearance at some daycare centers, churches and schools in the High Country on Tuesday morning.

After stopping by the offices of High Country Press, Jim Sparger, who owns the taxidermied groundhog, said he was on his way to downtown Boone and Blowing Rock to give daises to Slim’s female admirers.

The Blacksburg, Va., office of the National Weather Service tweeted out this photo.

While the local groundhog legend didn’t make any predictions about the oncoming spring, the predictions from notable groundhogs around the country were mixed.

Sparger said he educates the children on groundhogs on why they have teeth, on being related to rats and squirrels, and that even though they look cute and some people have had groundhogs as pets, it’s not wise to try to pet them.

So why does Sparger, who has resided in Sugar Grove for 30 years, go around showing off Sugar Grove Slim and educating the public about groundhogs. First of all, he said he loves all animals – not just groundhogs.

“It’s very simple. I think animals are smarter than we are, and the groundhog is the only animal I know that we have a day for that we don’t eat,” Sparger said. “It’s just one of those things I like doing.”