Real winners: Buyers honor boy’s memory

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CANFIELD, Ohio – The real winner of the 2005 Canfield Fair’s market livestock sales was the Roy Smith family of Salem.
Several 4-H’ers in the county hog club wore yellow ribbons – even during showmanship, when a young person’s appearance accounts for a huge portion of their total score and extra frills are a no-no – to honor their friend and competitor JR Smith.
Smith, who showed his first project hog and won the beginner’s showmanship competition at the fair last year, was killed Aug. 7 after apparently being electrocuted by a fan in his family’s hog barn. He was just 11 years old.
But determined that their son and brother wouldn’t be forgotten, the Smiths loaded up their livestock trailer last week with Amanda and JR’s hogs and came down to the fair.
Remember. In a tearful tribute, livestock committeeman Alan Hemphill told a coliseum full of bidders and bystanders Sept. 1 the reason for the JR Smith Memorial Fund.
Hemphill talked about JR, recounting how the boy would sit in the family’s hog barn for hours and watch sows deliver litters to get a jump on choosing his project hog over his older sister.
JR’s backup hog, a gilt, was sold during the livestock sale Sept. 1 to benefit the JR Smith Memorial Fund.
It’s planned that the gilt will return to the family’s farm north of Salem to be bred by a boar young JR had picked out.
There are hopes his sister Amanda and brother, Jacob, can show piglets from those genetics for several years at the fair.
Bidding. After a moment of silence to honor the boy’s memory – a move that was also reportedly done during the market class in which JR would have shown his hog – an all-out bidding war erupted.
Bids came from all sides of the coliseum, keeping auctioneer Ken Baer on his toes. The first bid was $2, and buyers upped their bids by 50 cents at a time to reach the final bid of $11 per pound from Cornerstone Electric in Salem.
The hog weighed 262 pounds.
Cornerstone buyers Bob and Rita Jarvis, friends of the Smiths, donated the hog back for resale.
On its second trip through the sale ring, the hog brought an additional $11 per pound and was again donated back. On the pig’s third and final sale, it brought an additional $5.50 per pound.
Overall, the hog sold for $27.50 per pound, adding $7,205 to the memorial fund.
Other help. More animals were sold to help the family.
Zachary Baird raised a turkey for the fund. It looked like the final bid would be $135 when Hostetter Carpentry and Rob Spencer waved their bidders’ cards to start a fast-paced bidding war. The final bid was $250 from Hostetter for the 28-pounder.
A pen of three meat rabbits was also sold for the fund. Sisters Patty Moliterno and Lynn Maro sat side-by-side and bid against each other until Maro agreed to pay $475 per rabbit for the lot. She donated it back, and Moliterno bought it for $270 a head the second time through.
But the show wasn’t over. Moliterno donated it back.
Henry Nemenz’ entourage bid $250 per rabbit the third time through. And they, too, donated it back.
On the pen’s fourth and final time across the block, it brought $50 per head from attorney Lynn Maro.
The single pen of rabbits added $3,210 to the memorial fund.
A total $10,665 was banked for the fund through livestock sales at the fair this year.
(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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