Katie-Lynn Bruening stars at Geauga Fair auction

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BURTON, Ohio – If there was a star at the Geauga County Junior Fair market livestock auction it was Katie-Lynn Bruening of Montville, Ohio, whose hog project this year won first in its weight class and brought the highest market hog price

Even though Katie-Lynn came into the ring fifth, after the grand and reserve champion and two other first place hogs had already sold, the crowd of bidders had been waiting for her and several had decided to buy her hog.

Katie-Lynn, who is legally blind but is a 4-H champion despite any limitations her disability might cause, is in her second year of 4-H.

Last year she sold her first market hog project for $12 a pound, a little less than the champion, but well above the sale average of $2.46 a pound. This year her hog brought a whopping $17, $3 higher than the price paid for the grand champion.

Total enthusiasm. “Its just her personality,” said Katie-Lynn’s mother, Martha Bruening. “She’s so enthusiastic about what she’d doing, and she has such a wonderful smile.”

But Katie-Lynn also worked hard to raise a lean hog that would win its weight class, and to line up the buyers who bid on her hog so enthusiastically.

She uses a braille keyboard, and she typed up herself all the letters she sent out to local merchants, asking for their support. Then she visited each one of them herself, to explain how she had raised her hog.

Her family took a hog project last year, her mother explained, because it was a three month project, and they had room in the small shed where they house their pony for only one animal.

Kind of fun. But Katie-Lynn decided it was “kind of fun” working with a hog, and she worked even harder this year.

“She really has very little concept of the money paid,” her mother said. “She does it all for the fun.”

Katie-Lynn’s brother Matt, on the other hand, showing his first hog this year, Martha Bruening said, was really into the price and the competition. He got $3.75 for his hog.

Katie-Lynn said she raised her hog on a complete diet, and to make sure it stayed lean and trim she took it for a walk around the yard every day.

She was especially proud of her seventh place ribbon in showmanship this year. She expects to do even better next year.

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