Janesville50°

Meat animal sale brings in $401,000

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staff, Gazette
July 28, 2012

— The cash total came up a bit short of last year’s record breaker.

But this year’s sale of champions blew last year’s prices out of the water. And at least one Rock County 4-H Fair Meat Animal Sale Committee member was chuckling Friday night long after the sale had ended.

“We had a fabulous, fabulous champion sale,” said Mark Gunn of rural Janesville on Friday night. Gunn was still laughing about how he goaded his friend and colleague, auctioneer Bob Johnson, to sell the champion steer for a good price—to himself.

The sale grossed $401,000, down a smidge from last year’s $408,000. Lest you think support is dwindling for the sale, the next-highest annual total was $353,000, according to Gazette records.

Johnson started out each round of bidding for the grand and reserve champion animals with a thundering, “Let’s go!”

If Johnson’s auctioneering were written out, it would read something like “Two and a half, two fifty, two and a half now, gibuh-dah, gibuh-dah, gibuh-dah, gibuh-dah two and a half now, two fifty, two and a half.”

Johnson’s booming baritone would then be interrupted by a sharp cry of “yes!” from ringman Adam George, who tracked competing bids with alternating hands, extending his arm at the elbow to each bidder.

Then Johnson would pick up with the new price, “Three, now three, who’ll gimme three and a half, three and a half, four, four, three and a half four, three, three who’ll gimme three and a half, gibuh-dah, gibuh-dah, gibuh-dah three and a half, three and a half.”

The bidding for the grand champion steer, exhibited by Cade Austin of Harmony 4-H, started at $2.50 and never really got going. It nearly settled at a $3 per pound bid from the Friends of the Fair. After the search for a competing bidder came up empty, Gunn started needling Johnson to make a bid.

“Oh, what the hell,” Johnson muttered, and made the winning bid of $3.50.

After the sale, Gunn summoned applause from the crowd for Johnson, who has been working at the meat animal sale for 32 years.

The sale lasted much of the day, as roughly 550 animals were sold to area businesses supporting local youth during the Rock County 4-H Fair’s annual meat-animal sale.

“We have a big presence for agricultural lending across the Midwest, and we like to come here to show our support for local livestock growers and their kids,” said Doug Johnson, vice president of BMO Harris Bank. “The kids send thank you letters after, and they send letters before the sale telling us about their projects and how hard they’ve worked on their projects. They’re always very considerate.”

Johnson sold Austin’s grand champion steer to himself, or his own company, Badger State Auction.

Noah Morris of Clinton FFA smiled when asked about the $13.50 per pound he received for his grand champion barrow. Badger State Auction and East Point Sportz Pub bought the pig.

“I’m happy with that,” Morris said.

BY THE NUMBERS

Grand champion barrow

Exhibitor: Noah Morris

Club: Clinton FFA

Animal’s weight: 269 pounds

Sold for: $13/pound

Buyer: Badger State Auction and East Point Sportz Pub

Reserve Grand Champion Barrow

Exhibitor: Nathan McConnell

Club: Clinton FFA

Animal’s weight: 254 pounds

Sold for: $17.50/pound

Buyer: Jake’s Electric

Grand Champion Lamb

Exhibitor: Jessica Duoss

Club: Milton FFA

Animal’s weight: 132 pounds

Sold for: $20/pound

Buyer: Woodman’s

Reserve Grand Champion lamb

Exhibitor: Malcolm Johnson

Club: Evansville 4-H

Animal’s weight: 139 pounds

Sold: $21/pound

Buyer: Friends of Evansville FFA

Grand Champion Steer

Exhibitor: Cade Austin

Club: Harmony 4-H

Animal’s weight: 1,288 pounds

Sold for: $3.50/pound

Buyer: Badger State Auction

Reserve Grand Champion Steer

Exhibitor: Rylee Ochs

Club: Harmony 4-H

Animal’s weight: 1,286 pounds

Sold for: $4.25/pound

Buyer: Sancken Trucking



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