(Posted July 21, 2021)
By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor
Final figures are still being tabulated, but generally speaking, 2021 was a banner year for the Junior Fair livestock sale at the Madison County Fair.
“The sale was fantastic. I’ve never seen so much energy in that building,” said Paul Gross, senior fair board president.
The sale took place July 17 in the Eby Youth Arena on the Madison County Fairgrounds in London. Gross estimates that 600 people attended and/or took part in the sale, with many new buyers joining longtime buyers in supporting 4-H and FFA youths who showed livestock at the fair.
Many of the champion and reserve champion animals went for record-breaking dollar amounts, but just as exciting, Gross said, is that the minimum amount each animal brought across the entire sale was much higher than usual.
Helping to make that happen was a new buyers consortium. Gross and other fair organizers pulled together a group of buyers whose purpose was to make sure every youth got a solid price for their animal.
“We accomplished every goal and objective we had to make sure every kid felt they were an equally important part of this event. I don’t think you could find a single face there that wasn’t awestruck by the level of support we had for them,” Gross said. “Not a single kid got lost in the shuffle or overlooked.”
Kelly Sifrit, treasurer of the Junior Fair Livestock Sale Committee, agrees.
“The average (minimums) I saw animals sell for across the species are higher than I’ve ever seen, which was the entire goal of the consortium,” she said. “It worked amazingly.”
The buyers consortium brought a total of $55,000 to the sale. Approximately 75 percent of the money came from businesses outside of Madison County. Three companies working on solar energy projects in the county donated $10,000 each. They include Big Plain Solar owned by Leeward Renewable Energy, Fox Squirrel Solar owned by EDF, and Madison Fields Solar owned by Savion. One of the other major donors was Stanley Electric out of London, donating $5,000.
Other members of the consortium were ABC Supply, Candela Renewables, Civista Bank, Della Selsor Trust, Eberle-Fisher Funeral Home, Hartley Oil, IBI Consultants, Los Mariachis Mexican Restaurant, Midland Title, and MKSK.
“We had a nice breadth of companies donating,” Gross said.
Sifrit was thrilled with the support from all of the buyers at the sale. This year, the sale committee showed their appreciation by setting aside part of the Coughlin Community Center as a buyers lounge, equipped with air conditioning, seating, and food and beverages throughout the sale.
“It was very well received. I think buyers really enjoyed that they could step away from the sale, get good food, and then come back. It was a way for them to get a break,” Sifrit said.
The sale committee also had hoped to livestream the sale, not only to screens set up in the buyers lounge but as something anyone anywhere could watch. Technical difficulties, primarily with Internet service, prevented the livestream from happening, but Sifrit said the committee plans to make it a feature at next year’s sale.