EATON — The Sale of Champions was held at the Preble County Fair on Friday, Aug. 2. During the sale, exhibitors who had received Champion or Reserve Champion for their market animals had the opportunity to bring the animals in front of a large crowd as they bid to purchase the project.
This money is used by the exhibitor for a variety of reasons, from purchasing new animals to paying for college — the sale gives 4-H members an opportunity to be rewarded for their hard work.
The Reserve Champion Market Hog, owned by Grant Sullender of Dixon Township Swine, was the animal purchased for the largest amount, at $3,400.The Champion Steer, owned by Dawson Ward, sold for the second highest amount at $3,000.
The Champion Market Broilers, owned by Cole George, sold for $2,300. The Reserve Champion Market Rabbits, owned by Alyssa Zdobinski, sold for $2,100. The Champion Market Goat, owned by Dillon Jerdon, sold for $1,700. The Reserve Champion Steer, owned by Mackenzie Neal, sold for $1,500.
Several projects sold for $1,400, including: Rachael Kimball’s Reserve Champion Market Broilers, Alexis McCain’s Reserve Champion Market Goat, and Mackenzie Neal’s Champion Market Hog.
Both Jenna Henkes’ Reserve Champion Market Turkey and Logan Brooks’ Grand Champion Market Rabbits sold for $1,300.
Alisha Rader’s Champion Market Lamb and Josey Meeks’ Champion Market Turkey sold for $1,200.
Skyler Ward sold her Reserve Champion Market Lamb for $1,000.
The Junior Fair Board Hog, donated by the Matt James Family/Rick and Jan Buehner & Sons, sold for $1,000.
Companies from Henny Penny to Skyline and individuals like Mary Bullen all came out to support the Sale of Champions and the Junior Fair Livestock sale. These are companies and individuals who feel a need to invest in 4-H and the children who find their passion in livestock.
For Mark Adams, Co-Owner of Charlie-Paul’s Concessions, he sees the hard work the exhibitors put into their projects and wants to give back and reward them for that effort.
“We know how much time behind the scenes they put in. Everything with this fair, eight days is really months and months of preparations — whether it be your animals, concessions, horses, the vending, everything takes so much time behind the scenes. They do a good job of supporting us, so we want to support them back,” he said.
“This is something that is awesome, family oriented, kids are pushed to do stuff themselves and be self reliant and self disciplined, which as an employers, I will tell you is hard to find. I wouldn’t have a second thought of hiring a kid from up here. Everything you do, there should be a reward. There is no way there is a kid who does all this for this part of it, but this is part of it. You do this because you want to have a good animal, win grand champion, and have your name out there. As a supporter, I want to reward them in another way, because I can see that.”
Alan Vonderhaar, President of Vonderhaar Farms Inc., wants to support 4-H, because he has been a part of this community for years. He was a member of 4-H and so were his children, who just aged out in 2018. They have sold their animals in the Livestock Sale and have been supported by the community, so he believes it is his turn to support the community and give back.
“Being a full-time farmer, a lot of the kids we are supporting raise the animals in the community. We know the hard work that a lot of these kids do. It is a very family project where everybody pitches in to help. In our minds, there are not too many things like that you can do as a family. We can take kids to little league practice or gymnastics, but we don’t get to participate as parents as often as you would in a 4-H project,” he said.
“I feel like this sale is important, because these kids are learning so many important work habits, like the responsibility of caring for an animal. It develops kids to be better adults, to come into the workforce with a leg up on the other kids. As an employer, I love to have kids come and work on our farm who have 4-H experience. I know they are responsible. A lot of businesses use this as an advertisement for their business, but like me, they want to give back to their community.
“4-H is one of the greatest things we can do to give back for kids. The kids are better off because of this auction, because they can put it toward college – it is a building block for the future. It is a great thing for both sides.”
Henny Penny came out in full force to the Livestock Auction this year. While in the past, the company has always supported 4-H and the exhibitors at the sale, this year they wanted to come out in a bigger way and support the chicken exhibitors, since it is a fryer manufacturing company.
Henny Penny managed to purchase both the Champion Market Broilers and the Reserve Champion Market Broilers at the Sale of Champions.
“The children in this community, hopefully, a large number of them will want to work at Henny Penny one day. We want to support them, let them know that Henny Penny does exist, and we have career opportunities for people in Preble County,” Darlena Weaver, Trade Show Manager at Henny Penny Inc., said. “We want to support the community and the children in the community, but specifically, the chickens because we build fryers.”
For Todd Appledorn, with Heeter Insurance Agency, supporting and bidding in the sale is another way to give back to their customers and support them.
“We want to help support the 4-H community and give back to the kids for all their hard work. This sale brings community awareness. Personally, I’m a city guy, I don’t get to see the animals and see the hard work of these kids and this is why they’re here – we can be able to see what they’ve done for the course of the year, their hard work, and hope it pays off for them,” he said.
Tessa Rhodus, with Brick Rhod Antiques and Bistro, was in 4-H herself, so it is important to her and her family to support the 4-H community.
“We like participating in the sale, because I was in 4-H and it means a lot to us — it has been a part of our family for years,” she said.
Ernest Hatmaker, with Papa Johns in Eaton, wanted to support the 4-H exhibitors and support the community in general. For Hatmaker, it is important to support the community, because they have supported his family’s business and made it successful.
“It is for the future kids that are coming up, for the future generation — they learn a lot of things about animals. I think it is important to support that and have that for the next generation coming up too,” he said.
Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @KKimbler_RH