Longtime auctioneer George remembered at successful meat sale
Click here for our special section with all you need to know about the 2009 Rock County 4-H Fair
By the numbers
Lambs sold: 113
Total sale cost for all animals: $34,513
Average price: $305.42 per lamb, $2.33 per pound
Market price: $0.40 per pound
Grand champion lamb: Shown by Jessica Duoss, Milton FFA. The 144-pound lamb sold for $14 a pound and was sold to Woodman’s.
Reserve champion lamb: Shown by Jessica Alf, Consolidated 4-H. The 141-pound lamb sold for $3.75 a pound and was sold to Milton FFA Alumni Boosters.
Barrows sold: 411
Total sale cost for all animals: $192,113
Average price: $467.43 per pig, $1.79 per pound
Market price: $0.78
Grand champion barrow: Shown by Justin Gunderson, Clinton FFA. The 275-pound pig sold for $13 a pound and was sold to Landmark.
Reserve champion barrow: Shown by Taylor Golz, Evansville FFA. The 264-pound pig sold for $10.50 a pound and was sold to a consortium of families.
Steers sold: 88
Total sale cost for all animals: $125,637
Average price: $1,427.70 per steer, $1.12 per pound
Market price: $0.77 per pound for beef cattle, $0.69 for dairy steers
Grand champion steer: Shown by Lucas Huisheere, Clinton FFA. The 1285-pound steer sold for $4.50 a pound and was sold to Seneca Foods.
Reserve champion steer: Shown by Kathryn Johnson, Turtle 4-H. The 1285-pound steer sold for $2.25 a pound and was sold to Badger State Auction Service.
Top individual buyers
-- Seneca Foods
-- Millard Grain
Top buyer groups
-- Clinton FFA Alumni
-- Evansville 4-H and FFA Alumni
-- Rock County Pork Producers
-- Edgerton 4-H and FFA Boosters
-- Milton FFA Alumni supporters
JANESVILLE The gavel, white hat and microphone were still there at Friday’s meat animal sale. The grand champions went for impressive amounts; the crowd applauded, and 4-H’ers beamed as they held their signs.
The event even set a record for gross sales, despite selling 50 fewer animals than last year. Buyers spent $352,000 on cattle, lambs and barrows, breaking last year’s record of $350,000, said Randy Thompson, UW Extension dairy and livestock agent.
But someone was missing—“a real advocate and supporter” and an “institution at the Rock County 4-H Fair,” Thompson said.
The 2009 sale was the first without auctioneer Paul George, who died unexpectedly at the end of January. George was involved with the fair for more than 35 years in many ways, Thompson said.
Before beginning the grand champion sale round, Thompson asked the crowd to take a moment of silence in memory of the auctioneer and friend. The George family, including Paul’s wife, Barbara, and their children quietly accepted the acknowledgment.
Paul’s son Ryan and brother Dean co-auctioneered with sale co-organizer Mark Gunn.
Ryan handled the steer round and said, “It is an honor to be here” before diving in, his voice clear and his hands constantly moving to encourage bidders.
Dean led the barrow round, his voice leading bidders quickly through hundreds of pigs and his eyes flashing as he watched bidders from under the brim of his white hat.
“Ryan’s doing well. He’s a good young auctioneer, and it’s good to keep it in the family and have him following in his dad’s footsteps,” said Bob Johnson of Badger State Auction.
Paul’s son Adam also worked the auction, standing in front of the ring and pointing to bidders as they raised their signs. A memorial was set up in the stock pavilion during the fair.
Johnson, who led the sheep and grand champion rounds, said working the sale without George was strange, but his presence was strongly felt.
“I know if Paul was here, he’d be very proud and say thank you to each and every one of you (bidding),” Thompson said. “And he’d want us to have the best dang sale we’ve ever had.”
Thompson was amazed by the community’s generosity in a tough economy, as evidenced by the record-setting sale.
“It certainly exceeded my wildest imagination as far as the community support,” he said.
“It just once again goes to show how much the community comes together when it comes to supporting the kids in the 4-H and FFA.”
Family donates proceeds to help veteran
Tears don't exactly fit with the Rock County 4-H Fair's image. Win or lose, 4-H'ers put on a smile and remember that learning is what counts.
Mottos aside, tears were in many eyes during Friday's meat animal sale when Lauren and Brooke Janes stepped into the auction ring.
As with many other families in Rock County, Janeses have exhibited at the 4-H fair and sold their animals during the meat animal sale for years. With one former 4-H'er and family member recovering from a military injury, 16-year-old Lauren and 15-year-old Brooke of Magnolia 4-H got an idea.
They would donate the proceeds from one of their pigs to their cousin Jacob "Jake"Janes, who was seriously injured after stepping on an explosive device in Afghanistan in April. Both of Jake's legs were amputated, and he is recovering at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C.
He has begun using prosthetic legs and is much stronger, said Bob Janes, the girls' father and Jake's uncle.
"We were willing to do anything to help and show him we care,"Lauren said. "Because we really do."The family had already planned a benefit event, and the sisters didn't want to affect that. They just wanted to a find a way to help, Brooke said.
"It was a great idea because Jake was always very active as an exhibitor at the fair, and he sold several years,"Bob Janes said. "It's just a natural tie-in, and we were grateful they came up with a new way to raise money."Brooke and Lauren could not have imagined the flood of support from bidders. Bob built a consortium of 20 local businesses, families and 4-H groups. They combined their money to bid $14 per pound on the Yorkshire pig weighing in at 257 pounds and then donated the pig back for a second auction.
The girls began brushing away tears while they stood in the ring holding their sign with an American flag and "help my hero"drawn on it in red and blue, hearing the bids rising higher than the $7 they had hoped for.
The crowd clapped and cheered with each high bid at the urging of auctioneer Dean George and auction co-chair Mark Gunn.
Dan Drozdowicz of Janesville's E&D Water Works bid $10 per pound during the second round, bringing the girls' total to more than $6,500.
"The Janes family has been a farm customer of ours for years, and we have a soft spot for the veterans,"Drozdowicz said after the auction. "My father always supported the fair, and we continue that through the sale."The entire group got grand champion treatment once George rapped the gavel, gathering at the front of the ring for a picture.
"All I can say is thank you,"Brooke said after the auction.
"That's what happens at the fair,"Lauren added. "There are so many amazing people here."The businesses that combined to donate the pig were: Evansville FFA alumni, Evansville Piggly Wiggly, Union Bank & Trust, Bob Arndt Trucking, R&K Construction, Landmark, Badger Grain, Roger Quade Farms, Pine Knoll Farms, Larson Acres, Bob Janes family, Symdon Motors, Loren Klitzman family, Toe Town Tap, Footville Meat Market, Ballmer Farms, A&H Inc., Drew Trucking, Hagen Insurance, Malcolm Hull family, Djugstad Farms and Mid-State Equipment.