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Grand Champions earn big bucks at Farm Fair's 4-H livestock auction

BY MARISSA GALLO, mgallo@theaegis.com

9:24 PM EDT, July 29, 2012

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It was standing room only during Saturday night's 4-H livestock auction in the large 4-H pavilion at the Harford County Farm Fair.

Spectators, families and potential buyers flocked to one of the fair's most popular events, as auctioneers spouted off prices looking for the highest bidder.

The fair's champions were first.

Veteran 4-H exhibitor and Jarrettsville resident Melissa Grimmel sold her Grand Champion Market Steer "Chad," a whopping 1,337 pounds, for $4.35 a pound to Klein's ShopRite.

18-year-old Grimmel also sold her Reserve Champion Market Lamb to Shop Rite for $7.75 a pound. "Nala," named after a "Lion King" character, is 113 pounds.

Back in the market steer pavilion, Grimmel said she was "totally pleased" with how the auction went.

"It was really exciting," she said. "You hope for the best to get the buyers."

Grimmel's experience was evident as she was showing the animals - gently poking the lamb to show off its condition, moving the steer around the pen and moving its feet.

The effort paid off and got her a great price for the livestock from a big buyer. She added that the steer's nice coat also helped.

Next year will be Grimmel's last showing for 4-H, something she calls "bittersweet," but she said this Farm Fair is "the best year I've ever had."

Plus, next year will also be her younger sister's first year.

While she's sad to see the animals that she has raised go, this moment is what Grimmel prepares for every year.

In the fall, Grimmel will attend Kansas State University as an agricultural communications major.

"I wanted something to do with ag," she said. "I've talked to a few people with that major and they seem to like it."

The Grand Champion Market Lamb, shown by Margaret Stump, was sold to the Kelly Group of Bel Air for $6.75 a pound.

The market hog category was another hot one for buyers.

The 242-pound Grand Champion, shown by Paul Johnson, was sold to Saubel's Markets for $9 a pound.

Giant of Rock Spring bought Rebecca Driver's Reserve Champion Market Hog, 263 pounds, for $5 a pound.

Rebecca, 17 from Darlington, said she had never gotten such a good price per pound for one of her animal before. Rebecca has been showing for 4-H for about seven years.

"I'm very excited," she said back at the market hog pens.

The John Carroll student said her hog, which she didn't name, was almost too fat to be shown, as they need to be between 225 and 275 pounds.

While other exhibitors may have been feeling a bit sad to see their animals go, Rebecca said she purposefully didn't become attached to her hog because "you know you're not going to see them after the fair."

Giant also bought the Reserve Champion Market Steer for $1.70 a pound. Jordan Sommer showed the 1,230-pound steer.

A few Harford County politicians were also the lucky buyers of livestock during the auction.

Del. Wayne Norman purchased the Grand Champion Pen of Rabbits, shown by Richie Goles, for $300, and Del. Donna Stifler snagged the Reserve Champion Pen of Rabbits, shown by Amos Beichler, for $200.

Stifler also bought a turkey for $325.

Sen. Barry Glassman purchased the Grand Champion Market Goat, shown by Emma Hopkins, for $550.