(Posted March 11, 2016)
By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor
“If you build it, they will come.”
This variation on a famous line from the 1989 film “Field of Dreams” comes up often in conversations about the Madison County Fairgrounds in London.
With the construction of a new youth arena, community center and hog barn over the past two years, the fairgrounds has started to attract more and more events. Just since last year’s county fair, five hog shows and two cattle shows have made use of the facilities.
“A lot of people come to these events and spend a day, two days. They eat in the community, shop in the community. It’s an investment in the community that is beginning to pan out,” said Darrell Champer, fairboard president.
Champer and other fairgrounds supporters are excited about the next string of events coming to the facilities: five separate pig sales scheduled between March 19 and April 8. The sales are predicted to bring in hundreds of buyers from across the state and beyond, looking to buy pigs for the show circuit. It’s been many years since Madison County hosted such sales.
“The last time I remember there being sales like this at the fairgrounds was when Randy Shipley had some here in the early 2000s,” said Stokes Township resident D.J. Hughes.
Hughes owns Hughesboys Showpigs, a hog breeding and sales operation, with his wife, Sara. They are hosting one of the upcoming sales and will participate in some of the others on the schedule.
Hughes said that as a Madison County breeder, he appreciates the opportunity to do business close to home. He and Sara started their herd in 2010 and sell 70 to 80 pigs each spring to families from six different counties. The fairgrounds now provides a temperature-controlled option for those March and April sales.
Hughes said 50 to 80 pigs will be sold in auction format at each of the upcoming sales in London. They will go for anywhere from $200 to thousands of dollars each, depending on the breeding, he said. Most of the buyers will be families buying animals for 4-H and FFA.
Real McCoy Genetics out of Jeffersonville, Ohio, was the first company to commit to holding a pig sale in London this year. Real McCoy does business nationwide, providing genetics and breeding services to customers in 43 states. They held a futurity show at the fairgrounds last fall and liked what they saw.
“It’s one of the nicest facilities you will find anywhere in the Midwest for this kind of event,” said co-owner Mike McCoy. “And it’s a great group of people to work with—the fair board and everyone involved.”
He praised the facility for its centralized location, proximity to the interstate, parking and temperature control. He also noted that the reintroduction of grand champions at the Madison County Fair last year has created a competitive culture that positively promotes quality and effort.
“The facility is getting a great reputa-tion across the Midwest. It’s a breath of fresh air to come to a new space,” he said.
The upcoming pig sale schedule is as follows: March Madness on March 19, Hughesboys Showpigs board sale on March 26, Agle/Daulton Family Showpigs sale on March 31, Real McCoy Genetics customer appreciation sale on April 2, and Shipley Showpigs Invite Only sale on April 8.
For more about events at the fairgrounds, call (740) 852-1654 or visit madisoncountyfairoh.com.