Everything you need to know about the 2014 Rock County 4-H Fair.

Bidders flock to Rock County 4-H Fur and Feather Sale

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Catherine W. Idzerda
July 26, 2014

JANESVILLE—Here's what I learned at Saturday's fur and feather Sale at the Rock County Fairgrounds:

First, it is possible to accidentally buy a goat.

Second, what's good for the goose apparently is not good for the gander, and that makes the gander bitter.

Finally, this event, which is often overshadowed by Friday's meat animal sale, is a good way to help youth in agriculture.

The fur and feather sale is the event where chickens, rabbits, turkeys, ducks and goats are auctioned.  The 4-H or FFA member is responsible for processing. In some cases, the animals are donated given back to the kids.

Buyers can also choose to have the animal immediately re-auctioned for the fur and feather scholarship fund.

Last year, the auction raised more than $50,000, said Darrel Weber, auctioneer and sale founder.

This year's totals won't be available until Monday, but the sale went “really well,” he said.

The highest price paid was $975 for a turkey.

Buyers include family members and local businesses. Dave Kotwitz of the Edgerton Piggly Wiggly and Jason Cowley, of the Milton Piggly Wiggly, together spent $2,500 on animals.

“It's about being a good community partner,” said Cowley. 

Cowley usually has the animals processed, and gives them to his employees.

Twain and Heather Lockhart were at the sale to buy chickens.

Twain is a poultry consultant with Nutrena Feed and works out of the Cargill plant in Milton. They usually get the birds processed and have a barbecue at the plant.

This year, the employees will be eating Lockhart's accidental goat. 

“Famous last words, 'I'll just bid on it to get things started,” Twain said.

He did, and he won.

Heather, who is wearing a shirt that says, “Nutrena: Enabling crazy chicken ladies since 1921,” just shook her head and laughed.

 I wanted to bid on animals, just to give readers a sense of what it was like.  My spouse, who is volunteering at the fair, saw me with the auction placard and removed it from my hands.

His excuse: My alleged financial extravagance and well-documented soft heart.

 “I know you,” he said. “You'll get carried away and we'll end up with pets.  

He also worried about me absentmindedly waving my placard in a way that looked like a bid.
As Fair Board President John Quinn put it, “You talk with your hands. You'd be just telling a story and you'd end up buying 14 things.”

The first animal my spouse bought was a rabbit raised by a neighbor of ours in the town of Fulton.  When she stopped by our chairs to thank us, we told her she could keep the rabbit.  I had seen the way the creature had looked at me from the auction table, its sweet little nose wriggling.

He also bought some chickens.

After I left for another assignment, Mr. Fiscal Responsibly continued to bid, and we ended up with more animals than I expected. Not that I objected: It's for good kids and a great program. But I was—how shall I put this?—slightly startled by amount he spent.

Apparently, what's good for the goose is not good for the gander, even when it comes bidding on poultry and rabbits.

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