Pigskin on the minds of Lawrence hog exhibitors

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NEW CASTLE, Pa. – While Justin Martin of Volant was selling the grand champion pig at last week’s Lawrence County Fair, his mind was also on the pigskin.

Martin, a junior at Wilmington High School, was missing a football scrimmage to sell his champion hog Aug. 16.

Martin’s grand-uncle, Richard Martin, made sure the absence was worth weathering the coach’s wrath. He teamed up with Paul Chovan of Omega Logging to buy Justin’s 247-pound champion hog for an unofficial champion record $10 a pound.

The bid tops the $9 a pound Martin received for his 1999 grand champion hog.

The buyers donated the hog to the buyers’ appreciation barbecue Sept. 21.

Higher on the hog. Martin wasn’t the only one thinking of the gridiron during Saturday’s market livestock sale.

Jamie Nimmo’s 228-pound Yorkshire cross received a sale record bid of $11 a pound from Tampa Bay Buccaneers rookie – and her big brother – Lance Nimmo.

The left tackle couldn’t attend the sale due to his NFL pre-season schedule, but an absentee bid did the trick.

Lance Nimmo, a graduate of Laurel High School, came up through the 4-H program, too, showing hogs at the fair. A standout at West Virginia University, Nimmo went to Tampa Bay in the fourth round of the draft.

Jamie, a junior at Youngstown State University, Lance, and their older brother, Bobby, are the children of Bob and Joni Nimmo. The Nimmos operate a cattle and grain farm just outside of New Castle.

Other swine champs. Zach Beatty of New Castle raised the reserve champion market hog, a 259-pound Berkshire that sold for $4.50 a pound to Pizzas by Marchelloni.

Pizzas by Marchelloni also bought Cody Simmons’ grand champion carcass hog, paying $3.25 a pound, up considerably from last year’s bid of $2.

Howard and Son Meat Packers and D.J.’s Smokehouse paid $2.75 a pound for Erin McDanel’s reserve champion carcass hog.

The 115 hogs averaged $1.67 a pound with champions, or $393.90 per head.

Champion steers. Hoss’s Steak & Seafood House continued its recent tradition of buying the grand champion market steer at the Lawrence County Fair.

The eatery paid $2.90 a pound for Jocelyn Kelly’s 1,290-pound grand champion Angus steer. The bid was up 50 cents from last year’s top bid.

Chad McConnell’s 1,156-pound reserve champion steer sold for $1.50 a pound to Pizzas by Marchelloni.

Heather Palkovich sold her grand champion carcass steer for $1.50 a pound to Dean Cattle Company and Joyce Houck, massage therapist.

The reserve champion carcass steer, raised by Todd Mortimore, sold for $1.60 a pound to Dean Livestock and Lawrence County Family Medicine.

The 54 live steers averaged 95 cents a pound including the champions.

Lots of lambs. Seventy-five lambs went through the sale ring during the Lawrence County Fair auction.

Abbey Benninghoff’s 124-pound Suffolk wether was the best of the market show. It brought a bid of $7 a pound from Pizzas by Marchelloni, short of the $9 bid for last year’s champion and well below the record of $18 a pound set in 2001.

Premier Feeds, Witmer’s Feed and Grain and Beatty Milk Hauling teamed up to buy Sarah Byers’ 124-pound reserve champion lamb for $9.25 a pound.

Josh Kwolek’s grand champion carcass lamb sold for a record $8 a pound to Russell S. Noga, coroner-elect.

TSC of Hermitage paid $6 a pound for Travis Book’s reserve champion carcass lamb.

The lambs averaged $3.06 a pound with champions, or $384.66 per head.

Rabbits, goats. James Cornelius’ pen of New Zealand rabbits topped the 10 other pens of market rabbits to win the grand champion banner.

Dale and Mark Cunningham, auctioneers, paid $22 a pound for the 14.5-pound pen.

Dale Cunningham kept the bidding going, buying Monica Shirley’s 12.19-pound reserve champion pen for $22 a pound on behalf of Enon Valley Auction.

The rabbits averaged $13.47 a pound with champions, or $169.24 per pen.

Megan McDanel raised the grand champion market goat, an honor she also achieved in 2001. Raven’s Glenn Farms purchased the grand champion goat for the fourth consecutive year, paying $4.50 a pound for this year’s 114-pound champion.

Castle Realty paid $3.95 a pound for Erin McDanel’s reserve champion goat, which weighed 105 pounds.

The 11 goats averaged $2.55 a pound with champions.

New day for sale. Saturday was a new day for the market livestock auction, which has been traditionally held on Thursday evening.

When increasing numbers of livestock – last year’s sale had 243 lots and this year’s sale drew 260 animals – stretched Thursday night’s sale into the early morning of Friday, sale coordinators knew they had to do something.

The discussion ranged from limiting the number of sheep sold per exhibitor (currently exhibitors of all other species can sell only one animal) to splitting the sale or moving the sale to Saturday.

The decision to move the sale to Saturday was made earlier this year, said Lawrence County Junior Livestock Association President Ed Nicol.

Some buyers were notified by phone and all recent buyers received a mailing about the date change.

The reaction was mixed, Nicol said, but added “this community will come through.”

The sale got under way with the hogs at 10 a.m. The steers closed the sale, with the champions crossing the block around 4 p.m.

The sale grossed $144,116.34, down slightly from last year’s $150,000.

Auctioneers Lloyd Braham, Don Braham, Mark Cunningham, Joe Herr, Beth Hillmar, Lee Alan Hostetter and Duke Whiting donated their services to conduct the sale.

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