Jefferson County Fair: Grand champion hog sets record; sales up $35,000

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SMITHFIELD, Ohio – If Jefferson County 4-H and FFA members were stranded on an island last week, what are the two things they’d have been sure to bring with them?
Their livestock projects and plenty of buyers, which is exactly what the young people brought to Friendship Park bidders’ pavilion Aug. 22 for the fair’s livestock sale.
Three nights of bad storms during the fair turned the grounds into a makeshift eastern Ohio island.
Buyers slipped and slid through muddy parking lots and the mess that surrounded the livestock sale barn for the event.
If extraordinary sale prices are any indication, the departing buyers’ empty pockets may have kept them afloat and unstuck as they left the muddy grounds.
Overall sale receipts totaled $168,384.95, up nearly $35,000 from last year.
A new record. Midway through the afternoon, when Harley Ehrman brought his grand champion market hog to the sale chute, there was no shortage of bidders in the arena.
Bidding started at $2 per pound and an all-out bidding war ensued, finally eliminating all bidders except Riesbeck’s Market and Scassa Asphalt. The two bidders to the left of the sale ring raised their cards in tempo until Riesbeck buyers called it quits.
Scassa’s bid of $13 per pound for Ehrman’s 279-pounder set a new record for the county fair.
Ehrman was also named outstanding market hog exhibitor for his combined showmanship, skillathon and market class placing.
Riesbeck buyers were determined to buy a champion hog and raised their card high until Melissa Basich’s 268-pound reserve champion was theirs for $5 a pound.
Both bids were higher than last year’s $3.75 and $1.50 per pound bid for grand and reserve champions, respectively.
Hog showmanship winners were Caitlin Williamson, senior and supreme; Cody Gavorcik; intermediate; and Ehrman, junior.
One-hundred forty-six hogs brought $65,783, averaging $1.80 with champions.
No young person received a bid lower than $1.10 during the sale, and price spikes let some youngsters take home bids higher than $2 a pound.
Feeder calves. Auctioneer Darrell Gartrell told everyone in the sale arena that he’d never sold feeder calves higher on the open market than he had Saturday at the Barnesville auction, and it was an omen for prices to come.
Gartrell said feeders had hit $1.50 per pound, and asked buyers to be sure that happened during the youth sale.
James Wood opted not to sell his grand champion beef feeder, as did reserve champion exhibitor Jeff Wood. Instead the boys took home awards from the Tri-County Feeder Calf Association, made up of producers from Harrison, Jefferson and Carroll counties.
Four beef feeders sold for $2,939, averaging $1.56 per pound with champions.
Amber Gundrum sold her 692-pound champion dairy feeder for $2.35 a pound to Carrollton Livestock Auction, and Matthew Sutton sold his 421-pound reserve champion for $2.10 a pound to Carrollton Farmers Exchange.
Nine dairy feeders totaled $7,331, averaging $1.55 per pound with champions.
Steers. Prices were also higher during the steer sale, with no young person taking a bid lower than $1 per pound for their project.
Eric Robinson, who showed the grand champion market steer, took a $2.90 per pound bid from Scassa Asphalt for his 1,326-pounder.
Biggio Ford was generous and paid $3 a pound for Keirsten Harris’ 1,270-pound reserve champion steer. Harris also showed the reserve champion in 2003, but this year’s bid topped last year’s by 75 cents.
Forty-two steers sold for $73,384, averaging $1.42 per pound with champions.
Beef showmanship honors went to Paden Wood, senior; Paul Jancura, intermediate; Faith Jancura, junior; and Jeff Wood, supreme. Rate of gain winner was Michael Kirk.
Lambs. Kyleigh DeFrank was back at her winning ways, this year showing the grand champion lamb. Thrifty Car Rental and Detailing in Steubenville paid $5.85 per pound for DeFrank’s 145-pounder. That bid was down more than a dollar from last year’s high bid.
Bianca Piergallini repeated last year’s lamb placing, again winning the reserve champion spot. Her 115-pounder brought $4 a pound from Carrollton Livestock Auction, up $1 from last year’s bid from the same buyer.
Lamb showmanship honors went to Kassie Piergallini, senior; Drew Van Fossen, intermediate; Kayla Vargo, junior; and Kyleigh DeFrank, supreme. Vargo was also outstanding lamb exhibitor.
DeFrank went on to win the overall super supreme showmanship contest.
Thirty-five market lambs brought in $9,257, averaging $2.32 per pound with champions.
Market goats. Riesbeck’s Market was back in the hunt during the market goat auction, and went home with the grand champion.
Paden Wood sold his 68-pound champion for $350.
The back-up bidder, Sky Bank, wasn’t taking no for an answer, and instead grabbed the reserve champion goat. Chad Ramsey’s 77-pound reserve champion brought $275.
Kassandra Kale was outstanding goat exhibitor. Goat showmanship winners were Erin Nelson, senior and supreme; Kale, intermediate; and Scott Ruckman, junior.
Thirteen goats sold for $2,020, averaging $155.38 with champions.
Small animals. Bids were also up in the small animal auction. Preston DeHamer’s grand champion pen of three market chickens brought $350 from Scassa Asphalt.
Kylee DeHamer dropped one placing from last year and sold her reserve champion pen for $325 to Wendy’s Restaurant in Wintersville.
Two young ladies switched placings from last year in the meat duck competition. Shatawna Glover came out on top this year and sold her pen of two for $375 to Tractor Supply Company from Follansbee, W.Va.
Tia Moore dropped one spot from last year and instead sold the reserve champion pen this year to Scassa Asphalt for $225. Those bids exceeded last year’s top prices of $300 and $175, respectively.
Katie Hartzell sold her champion market goose for $375 to Napa Auto Parts at Wintersville.
The Scassa family was in the sale ring again for photos with the grand champion turkey. Scassa Asphalt paid $425 for Brittany Vargo’s champion. Riesbeck’s Market paid $275 for Adrienne Nestor’s reserve champion bird. Both turkey bids were down sharply from last year’s $525 and $425 bids.
Brittany Carman’s champion pen of three rabbit fryers brought $375 from AEP Cardinal Operating Company, and Megan Carman’s reserve champion pen brought $325 from Scassa Asphalt.
Seven pens of chickens totaled $1,485, averaging $212.14 with champions.
Eight pens of meat ducks totaled $1,390, averaging $173.75 with champions.
Twelve turkeys totaled $2,720, averaging $226.75 with champions.
Seven pens of rabbits totaled $1,700, averaging $242.86 with champions.
Poultry showmanship winners were Marissa McCourt, senior; Jacob Townsend, intermediate; Preston DeHamer, junior; and Katie Hartzell, supreme.
Rabbit showmanship winners were Vicki McConnell, senior and supreme; Brittany Carman, intermediate; and Courtney Jarman, junior.
Giving back. Several buyers indicated their animals were to be resold at local livestock sales, with proceeds to benefit the county’s 4-H program and youth as well as other community charities.
A signed print from local artist Dave Barnhouse called “American Heartland” brought $725 at auction, to benefit junior fair activities.
Fair queen was Joelle Bensie and king was Jonathan Tomolonis.
Auctioneers were Ken Baer, Gary Cain, Jayme Gandee, Darrell Gartrell and Rich Sponhaltz.
(Reporter Andrea Myers welcomes reader feedback by phone at 1-800-837-3419, ext. 22, or by e-mail at amyers@farmanddairy.com.)

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