The Ohio State Fair Sale of Champions livestock auction was held Sunday afternoon in the Celeste Center and showcased Ohio’s champion livestock, premier Junior Fair exhibitors and generous supporters. This year marked the 50th anniversary of the sale.
On the sale bill were grand champion and reserve champion market lambs, market barrows and market beef, as well as grand champion market goat, grand champion and reserve champion market chickens, grand champion market turkey and a block of Swiss cheese to represent the seven dairy champions. In total, the livestock and products were auctioned for a total of $284,000, with $196,000 raised for the Youth Reserve Program.
Ohio Farm Bureau collaborated with partners Bob Evans Farms, Event Marketing Strategies and Huffman’s Market to purchase the Reserve Grand Champion Market Barrow exhibited by Ella Sprang for $32,000, of which Sprang receives $7,000. Sprang is the daughter of Farm Bureau members Mike and Debbie Sprang of Holmes County.
While Junior Fair exhibitors take great pride in raising a quality animal, the ultimate goal each year is to be awarded a grand champion banner. Grand or reserve champion is an immense honor for the exhibitor, and with the Youth Reserve Program and generous buyers, it is rewarding for the entire Junior Fair program. This year’s sale broke one record: Reserve Grand Champion Market Barrow sold for $32,000, breaking the previous record of $31,000 set in 2013.
Established in 1995, the Youth Reserve Program was developed to reward junior exhibitors who participate in the Ohio State Fair. Funds for the program come from the dollars received over a cap that is placed on the amount an exhibitor can receive from the Sale of Champions. The funds from the program are distributed among carcass contests, scholarships. outstanding market exhibitor program, outstanding breeding exhibitor program, showmanship, skillathons, 4-H and FFA. The Youth Reserve Program has awarded more than $3 million to approximately 33,000 youth exhibitors since its inception.
Photo by Dave Gore