Prize pigs: Local girl's swine take top prizes at State Fair
WEST ALLIS—Ali Luety's older brother showed swine for 10 years at the State Fair. Ali has shown for six. This is the first time one of the Luetys' pigs has made it to the governor's auction.
Ali made up for it in a big way. She placed two animals in Wednesday's annual governor's auction.
Her barrows, Calico and Luigi, took grand champion and reserve champion honors at the fair, a rare feat, she was told.
Calico was auctioned off for $16,000. Luigi, who had won second place in the judging, raked in even more, $18,000.
Luigi's price was a record for a reserve barrow. The previous record was $11,500.
Why so much for second place? Ali said the champions are sold first, and it takes a while for the bidders to warm up.
“The more they drink, the more they're willing to pay. That's kind of the way it goes,” she said.
Ali said the governor's auction was her goal, and she enjoyed the experience of being the focus of a large crowd and getting her picture taken with the governor.
“It's really cool to see all the youth exhibiting livestock, and there's so many people, so many bidders,” she said.
Ali took time to look up at banners naming previous winners of grand champion barrow. Going back to 2005, she noted, all were males.
“That was exicting, to finally break the streak,” she said.
Ali, 18, is the daughter of Ken and Marcia Luety of rural Clinton. She's a member of Bradford 4-H and Clinton FFA.
Ali won reserve grand champion barrow at the Rock County 4-H Fair with a different animal. That one brought in just over $2,000, she said.
The $34,000 for two pigs might sound like a lot, but consider that the State Fair takes 25 percent off the top. And then there are the costs that her parents bore -- buying the pigs from a breeder and for the feed that got them huge over the course of six months.
“Showing pigs is not going to be a source of income by any means,” Ali said.
Still, the sale makes a notable addition to Ali's college fund. She starts at UW-Madison this fall. The Clinton High School co-valedictorian is thinking about majoring in something related to agriculture.