Meat animal sale brings in $401,000
JANESVILLE 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
Reserve Grand Champion lamb
Exhibitor: Malcolm Johnson
Club: Evansville 4-H
Animal’s weight: 139 pounds
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