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County fair’s Sale of Champions mixes auction with emotions

By John Wareham

MOUNT VERNON – The 2022 Knox County Junior Fair Sale of Champions was back in full-force Thursday morning in the Fairgrounds Multipurpose Building where dozens of young farmers sold their animals at auction.

Nearly 30 champion winners, ranging in ages between 8 and 18, sold rabbits, lambs, goats, cattle, hogs, chickens and turkeys that netted $85,565, which was down from last year but was nearly twice the amount from the pandemic-affected 2020 fair.

Alenah Boeshart of Danville after the auction of her lambs
Brianna Small of Gambier with her steer

Several local businesses purchased animals including Knox Community Hospital, John Hinderer and his various car dealerships; Small’s Sand and Gravel, Beheler Excavating and Family Farms, Smithhisler Meats, Park National Bank and Roundhill Dairy of Mt. Vernon.

“We’re here every year to buy something. We always give back to the community that’s here because I’m a firm believer of that, without the community, we as a business could not thrive, so we absolutely make it a priority to be here and support every kid that we possibly can,” said Tyler McCann, owner of Roundhill Dairy, who contributed to the purchase of Bryer Boeshart’s rabbits and Alenah Boeshart’s lambs, among others.

McCann explained some of the process of how businesses can participate in the auction.

“We got 65 letters…so every morning I’d go in and get the sheets and mark who wrote us a letter and then we know to have them on our radar,” he explained. “Then we just see, obviously we have a budget and we see if we can make it work within that budget and see if they need additional help.”

Huntington Bank and Park National Bank both contributed heavily with winning auctions of Carter Wittel’s broilers and Hayden Bateson’s turkey, (Huntington) while Park National contributed to the purchases of Josie Kidwell’s Grand Champion Market Beef and Anna Rhodeback’s Grand Champion Market Goat.

Other grand champion winners who auctioned their animals included Reagan Ward (broilers), Dawson Staley (beef), Justin Zollars (rabbits) and Anna Patterson (hogs) of Fredericktown; Aaron Snider (dairy market feeder), Sierra Shields (steer) of Howard; Paislee Fairall and Austin Anderson (both lambs), of Centerburg; Natalee Freeman (turkey) of Bellville, Josie Kidwell of Walhonding as well as Brianna Small of Gambier, whose 1616-pound steer was purchased by a group of 10 buyers.

“I’m really sad, this is my last year of 4H, I’ve been doing it 10 years,” Small said. “It hasn’t really hit me yet. I haven’t been too emotional, but I actually had two steers this year and one of them went on the trailer already and it was right before I showed (the second one), so that one kinda…I was pretty emotional about that one.”

Josie Kidwell of Walhonding

Dawson Staley of Fredericktown

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