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Meat animal sale at the fair supports 4-Hers

By Sarah Zimmermann
July 31, 2015

JANESVILLE—Friday's meat animal sale at the Rock County 4-H Fair gave 4-Hers the opportunity to showcase and be rewarded for months of hard work.

The sale is an annual event at the fair. Local businesses and individuals bid on animals raised by children for the fair, and many of the kids save the money in a college fund.

More than 100 4-H kids held up signs to the crowd of bidders. Each sign had a personal touch, some adding a pop of color or photos of their animals, while others included captions such as “please buy my pig.”

Hailey Gestrich's 1,370-pound grand champion steer sold for $6.50 a pound to Head Hunter Bowstring and DeGarmo Plumbing, a total of $8,905.

Gestrich is attending Northwestern College in Orange City, Iowa, this fall and is putting the money toward college. She plans on majoring in biology health profession.

This is likely her last year showing animals at the fair, she said.

“So, it was a good way to end,” Gestrich said.

Bidders spent a total of $454,100 to buy 441 animals at this year's sale. The top buyers were Chamber and Owens, Seneca Foods, Woodman's Markets and E & D Waterworks.

“Without the support of our generous area businesses, we would not continue to have the highly successful sale we do every year,” Austin Arndt, co-chair of the meat animal sale committee, wrote in an email to The Gazette.

Ben Kronberg sold his 274-pound grand champion barrow for $9 a pound to Woodman's, a total of $2,466.

Some of the kids used different tactics to excite the crowd. Mason Ehret of Bradford 4-H received a round of applause following his dance on center stage in which he twirled two signs displaying his barrows.

All of the kids had “Thank you,” written on the backs of their signs, which they displayed after their animal sales were complete. Many 4-Hers went into the audience to personally thank their buyers for purchasing their animals.

The steers sold for an average of $2.12 a pound, the barrows an average of $3.22 a pound, Arndt said. The lambs sold for an average of $10.04 a pound, he said.

Grace Peterson's 132-pound grand champion wether was sold for $21 a pound for a total of $2,772.

“I feel I did a good job,” Peterson said. “But I'm sad the fair went by so quickly.”

Peterson said she would likely use the money toward school.

Rylee Ochs displayed Sydnie Ochs's grand champion wether to the crowd. Sydnie was unable to be at the sale because she was showing horses at a different city, auctioneer Ryan George said.

“It just shows how busy these kids are,” George said.