LISBON, Ohio – Gerald Thoma has been plotting for a year to buy granddaughter Samantha Cope’s lamb at this year’s Columbiana County Fair.
It’s your last year in 4-H, he told her. Take a lamb one last time.
She’s glad she did.
At last week’s fair, Aug. 2-7, Cope earned a record $25 a pound bid for her 127-pound reserve champion lamb from grandparents Gerald and Vicki Thoma.
Cope also won the sheep showman of showmen trophy and reserve best sheep project honor, which combines showmanship, skillathon and live animal scores.
There’s more. And that was just the lamb show. Kick in Thursday’s steer show and Cope wrapped up her 4-H career in a big way.
Cope’s 1,390-pound market steer was named grand champion, and she won the senior steer skillathon and steer showman of showmen award.
H.P. Nemenz Food Stores paid $3 a pound for the top steer.
“It’s a good ending,” said Cope, who will start college at Youngstown State University in a few weeks.
Another ending. Jocelin Baker also ended her 4-H career in the champions’ circle, raising the grand champion lamb and winning the senior skillathon and overall grand champion lamb project honors.
Eric Hull of Hull’s Super Duper paid $7.25 a pound for Baker’s 124-pound champion.
Interestingly, this year marked the 35th year Hull has supported the junior fair sale, making his first purchase in 1970 – a project animal raised by another Baker – same family, different generation.
Carcass lambs. In the carcass lamb show, Nathan Birkhimer won the grand champion banner and Zachary Birkhimer, the reserve honor. Ameritas Investments paid $2.50 a pound for the grand champion; Paris-Washington Insurance paid $3.10 a pound for the reserve.
Other sheep winners included: Zachary Birkhimer, rate of gain; Nathan Birkhimer, junior skillathon and junior showmanship; Jacob Rose and Ashton Unger, intermediate skillathon (tie); Carl Barrick, novice showmanship; and Sarah Stewart, intermediate showmanship..
The 30 lambs averaged $3.20 a pound, including champions.
Steers. As Samantha Cope was winding down her show career, Harrison Hoppel is just gearing up. The young 4-H’er showed the 1,420-pound reserve champion steer, which grabbed a bid of $2.85 a pound from Paris/Washington insurance.
Samantha Steiner won the reserve champion project steer trophy and Nick Skrinjar Memorial Award. D&V Trucking paid $1.95 a pound for her 1,235-pound steer.
Patrick Cox’s 1,375-pound steer was the rate of gain winner.
Other steer showmanship and skillathon winners were: Alex Cope, intermediate showmanship; Sarah Ferguson, junior showmanship; Hillary Hoppel, intermediate skillathon; and Haley Drake, junior skillathon.
The 86 steers sold for an average of $1.30 a pound, including champions.
Hogs. H.P. Nemenz Food Stores continued its strong support with the first animal through the sale ring during fair week.
The grocer paid $3.75 a pound for Kyle Blaine’s grand champion market hog weighing 279 pounds.
Then longtime supporter Henry Nemenz turned right around and bought Paige McElroy’s 255-pound reserve champion hog sold for $3.50 a pound.
Stark Aeration & Supply paid $2.50 a pound for Katie Welsh’s grand champion carcass hog, and West Point Paving paid $3 a pound for Codey Baker’s reserve champion carcass hog.
Brooke Riffee won the junior showmanship and overall grand champion hog project award. Jennifer Saling, intermediate showman, won reserve champion project honors.
Jenny Merrick was the swine showman of showmen, and Bethany Burger was the novice showmanship winner.
The 128 hogs averaged $2.02 a pound, including champions.
Market goats. Chelsee Anderson raised the 96-pound grand champion market goat, which sold for $1.85 a pound to Charles Pickens.
Kerrie Welsh’s 88-pound reserve champion goat sold for $1.90 a pound to Smith Farm Supply.
The 10 goats averaged $1.62 a pound, including champions.
Cheese cow. Chad Mercer’s milk cow produced the top cheese yield, and his grand champion basket brought a bid of $550 from Ramsey Hoof Trimming, Stryffeler Farm Custom Baling, Willow View Custom Harvest and Machine, and Pine Hill Jersey Farm.
Hagan Whiteleather’s reserve champion basket sold for $1,050 to John Griffith Milk Transport, Strouble Water Hauling and Progressive Crop Service.
The 25 cheese baskets averaged $540 and totaled $13,500 for the participating junior fair dairy exhibitors.
Dairy beef feeder. Lydia Bardo’s 630 dairy beef feeder calf topped a field of 71 to win the grand champion banner. Damascus Livestock Auction paid $2.10 a pound for the champion.
Cope Farm Equipment paid $1.50 a pound for Kevin Kitzmiller’s 575-pound reserve champion dairy beef feeder.
Karen Steiger was the top showman of that show, with Bardo winning senior showmanship and Dustin Graham, junior showmanship.
The calves averaged $1.38 a pound, including champions.
Rabbits. Nine pens of market rabbits sold for $1,125 averaging $125 with champions and $113.57 without.
Hilltop Lawn and Garden bought Heather Baker’s grand champion market rabbit pen for $225. The 2003 grand champion pen sold for $105 less at $120.
Nathan Jones’ reserve champion market rabbit pen was bought by East Ohio Shooters Supply for $45 less than last year’s reserve champion at $105.
Brook Welch won the grand champion rabbit fryer pen and the reserve fryer pen went to Josh Jones.
Record poultry. Zehentbauer brothers dominated the chicken show this year, winning grand and reserve market pens.
Abram Zehentbauer set a fair record, selling his grand champion chicken pen for $1,050 to Cope Farm Equipment, breaking the previous record of $960 set by his brother, Caleb, in 2001.
Judge Carol Robb paid $900, another record bid, for the reserve champion chicken pen owned by Josh Zehentbauer.
Poultry prices were up from last year’s sales, with the grand champion pen selling for $780 more than last years and the reserve pen selling for $675 more.
The 20 pens of chickens averaged $240.75 with champions and $164.16 without, totaling $4,905.
In poultry, Chris Simmons, senior showmen, won chicken showman of showmen honors, competing against junior winner Emily Berger and intermediate winner Taylor Burbick.
Simmons also won the senior skillathon and Courtney Duvall took home the junior skillathon award.
Sale total. This year’s sale of 387 large and small animal lots, plus cheese entries, totaled $291,396.20, up nearly $30,000 from last year’s sale.
Attendance. Fair officials kept a more accurate tally of attendance at this year’s fair, and estimate that total attendance hit 36,666 visitors and exhibitors.
The hot weather didn’t deter demolition derby fans, as Sunday’s combine demolition derby drew a strong afternoon crowd as a lead-in to the evening’s sold-out grandstand car demolition derby. Officials say just over 7,500 people came to the fair on its final day.
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