Buyers stay up late to help Geauga Co. 4-H’ers

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BURTON, Ohio – With fair season winding down, buyers at the Geauga County livestock sale didn’t mind staying late into the cool night Aug. 30, waiting for the steer sale.

Although the sale kicked off at 5 p.m. with market rabbits, it wasn’t until well after 11 p.m. when the steer sale got under way.

Bidding started at $5 a pound for the grand champion steer, not surprising since Geauga County champion steer bids are notoriously high.

After coaxing in 10-cent increments, auctioneer Scott Mihalic’s gavel finally fell at $8.70 a pound for Julie Clemson’s 1,235-pound champion. Mangia Mangia bought the steer, which had won at shows throughout the state.

Next in the ring was Rachel Schmelzer’s 1,270-pound reserve champion steer. Despite the animal being covered in glitter, the price dropped $3.40 a pound from last year. However, the $6.10-a-pound bid from Universal Disposal still outshined most reserve steer bids in the area.

Forty-five steers sold for an average of $1.54 a pound without champions.

Stealing the show. Although the steer sale was the night’s highlight, according to auctioneers, the small animal sale is what really stole the show. Bidders started the sale red-hot with record champion rabbit and turkey bids.

Pritt Food Concession wowed the crowd with a record $51-a-pound bid and then shocked them again when Art Pritt yelled, “Re-sell!” David Peterson was the happy exhibitor of the 13.5-pound champion rabbit pen.

Even with persisting microphone shortages, the rhythm didn’t break. The crowd was soon on its feet again with a dramatic champion turkey bidding war between Robert Wantz and Geauga County Farm Bureau.

When the cheering died down, Wantz came out the buyer of John Adams’ 47-pound champion gobbler. Wantz’ $34-a-pound bid broke the record by $4 a pound.      

Reserve rabbit and turkey showmen weren’t shorted after the grand-champion hype.      

Even though there was just one bid for James Teichman’s 13.5-pound reserve champion rabbit pen, it was $20 a pound from Kinetico Inc.

Cahlik Electric had the last hand raised for Laura Miller’s 45-pound reserve champion turkey, with a $22-a-pound price that doubled last year’s winning bid.

Four rabbit pens of three rabbits each averaged $4.50 a pound without champions, and 40 turkey entries averaged $7.95 a pound without champions.

Chickens. Champion and the name Sharpnack have become synonymous in the chicken circles at Geauga County Fair. For the fifth year running, a Sharpnack 4-H’er picked up a grand or reserve champion title. This year Sharpnacks took both.

Twelve-year-old Louis Sharpnack held onto his blue-ribbon spot for the second year in a row with his 23.3-pound pen of birds. But he had to settle for a bid $20 less than he received last year for his champions. Robert A. Evans had the winning bid of $32 a pound, before reselling it.

Louis’ brother and first-year showman Samuel Sharpnack jump-started his showing career with a 21.5-pound reserve champion chicken pen, following his sister Rachel’s footsteps. Rachel took the reserve spot last year.

Phillip Miller Construction added $28 a pound to the 9-year-old’s pocket, about $10 a pound less than his sister received last year.      

Twenty-four pens of chickens averaged $7.70 a pound without champions.

Ducks down. Champion duck prices took a hit with a grand champion bid that fell $40 short of last year’s winning price.

Although Geauga County Farm Bureau lost the champion turkey battle, it picked up the grand champion duck for $75 a pound before re-selling it. Danielle Payne exhibited the 7.1-pound blue-ribbon duck.

Jessica Garland’s 6.4-pound duck took reserve champion honors as well as $62.50 a pound from Linton and Pat Sharpnack. The top reserve bid dropped $7.50 a pound from last year.

Ducks averaged $17.21 a pound without champions, almost doubling last year’s average duck price.

Hog sale. Etna Products Inc. held onto its title as buyer of the grand champion hog with a $8-a-pound purchase for returning-champion Sarah Waldman’s 274-pound hog.

Joe Koch’s 265-pound reserve champ brought home $5.50 a pound from Mentor Packaging.

Ninety-six hogs averaged $2.47 a pound without champions.

Sharpnack attack. Hours after the Sharpnack siblings dominated the chicken sale, they were back again. This time sister Rachel Sharpnack had the champion – a champion goat.

Auctioneer Pete Howes started the goat bidding high and bidders immediately caught on. The top bid of $11 a pound almost doubled what Rachel’s brother received last year for his champion.

Buyer Geauga County Farm Bureau bought the 72-pound animal, which ended up being re-sold twice to raise scholarship fund money.

The reserve goat purchase price also doubled 2002’s high bid. Kinetico Inc. forked over $6 a pound for the 63-pound goat.

Market goats averaged $2.08 a pound without champions.

Boer goats. When it came time for first-year Samuel Sharpnack’s second round at the championship ring, his smile was more confident, helping him earn $6 a pound for his 93-pound champion Boer meat goat. Dedicated supporter Kinetico Inc. tripled last year’s winning bid.

Next in the ring was Louis Sharpnack with his 85-pound reserve champion Boer goat. When the gavel smacked the auctioneer’s table, For the Birds, Wildlife and More had the winning bid of $5.50 a pound.

Boer goats averaged $4 a pound and three were sold.

Sporadic prices. Market lamb prices were all over the board for the championship sale. The champion price dropped by half while reserve more than doubled.

Kim Taylor’s 125-pound grand champion lamb fetched $4.50 a pound from Door Works and Nemec Farms before it re-sold, and Cody Powell’s 119-pound reserve champ sold for $7 a pound to Preston Chevrolet.

Although Taylor’s champion price dropped, she wasn’t disappointed for long. Her reserve champion pen of two lambs brought $2.40 a pound from Kinetico Inc., more than a dollar higher than in 2002.

Insurance Diversified kept bidding until it won Jack Carson’s grand champion pen of two lambs for $3 a pound. That bid jumped from $1.70 a pound last year.

Sheep averaged $2.18 a pound without champions, and 45 entries were auctioned.

Total jumps. Three dairy baskets sold for $3,500.

Auctioneers Howes, Mihalic, Mike Davis and ringman Doug Carlson helped raise $208,716, about $8,000 more than 2002.

(Reporter Kristy Hebert welcomes reader feedback by phone at 1-800-837-3419, ext. 23, or by e-mail at khebert@farmanddairy.com.)

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