Livestock sale closes Washington County Fair

The Washington County Fair wrapped up Tuesday with thousands of dollars in community support for the market livestock sales.

One goat sold for $15,000, steers averaged at $925 and lambs, chickens, turkeys, goats, market beef and dairy feeders also made their way through the ring with final sales totaling $263,000.

Faith Huck, 17, of Lowell, was in tears with Bradley and Jenny Payne after they bought her goat in memory of their daughter, and Huck’s childhood best friend August Lauren “Laurie Belle” Payne, who passed away when she was 10 years old from brain cancer in 2011.

“She’s a part of Laurie that’s still here,” said Bradley before choking back tears.

The Paynes, of Watertown, are well known amongst the 4-H children and FFA teens participating in the fair. They’re known for supporting dreams of college and agriculture through their animals.

“They started with Laurie’s goats, it’s what she showed,” explained Jenny Payne.

And so in the name of their daughter, Cameron Hupp, 19, of Lowell, also dedicated the sale of one of his animals to BrAva, in the name of ending childhood cancer.

BrAva is a local nonprofit named after Bridget Crock and Ava Nichols, two local girls that faced the challenges of childhood cancer. Members of BrAva give back to the families that need it most, helping with medical expenses, travel and any other financial assistance families need while continuing the battle against childhood cancer.

“To me she’s living on through Brad and Jenny and all they’ve done for us,” said Hupp, who is in his final year showing with the FFA as a sophomore at Ohio State University studying to be a large animal veterinarian. “They’ve built up and made it possible to have the relationships and the dreams we have.”

That camaraderie was evident not only in the show pen as bidding wars ran back and forth between the likes of politicians, foundation representatives and business owners.

“We do have a friendly competition,” laughed Jack Haessly, of Newport, before heading back in to buy more livestock with his sons representing Haessly Hardwood Lumber. “I bought a goat and a turkey and we’ll probably buy a beef cow and maybe some chickens before the end of the night. It’s not about the value, it’s about helping the kids.”

But the pride and joy also followed into the poultry barn where Jevin Ward, 17, of Lowell, took home the titles of Grand Champion for one of his turkeys and Overall Showmanship for another.

“This was my first year doing it, but I’m the youngest and all my siblings had done it before,” said Ward.

With the aid of his mother Karla, and father Gary, he said he learned how to care for the animals and the work that goes into cleaning, walking and feeding them, after getting them at only a day old.

“Bathing them is interesting,” he laughed. “But here at the fair it’s more than just showing up with your birds, you’re also having to control them and show the judges you know the 36 body parts and how to keep them healthy.”

Others in the poultry barn were passing jokes, disregarding the age differences between teens and children Tuesday.

“We’ve grown up in this barn together,” laughed Caleb Smith, 16, of Reno, as he talked with Issac Peck, 16, of Waterford.

“Yeah we were walking the fair together since we were a couple months old in strollers,” added Peck.

The pair were joined by Hayden Biehl, 11, of Fleming, Roseanna O’Brien, 15, of Reno, and Hailey Anderson, 12, of Fleming, discussing the finer points of raising chickens, rabbits, ducks and turkeys.

“Turkeys follow you like dogs,” commented O’Brien.

“It’s probably because they get used to you,” added Biehl.

Meanwhile Anderson explained the meaning of the name “Dice” one of the rabbits she brought to the fair this year.

“His spots go 1, 2, 3, 2, 1 down his back,” she pointed out as O’Brien held the white, soft 6-month-old.

Even a seasoned veteran to showmanship with horses, rabbits, hogs and ducks, Lauren Zwick, 15, of Lower Salem, paused to pet the rabbit before heading back to the horse stables to check on her partner Annie, whom she won the Grand Champion in the Junior Fair Horse Show with.

“I get really excited to go out if the crowd is larger,” she said, noting the crowds of the weekend. “It makes you feel like the community is behind you and they can see your work and are proud of you.”

Kurt Bohlen, president of the Washington County Fair Board, said overall the fair saw good attendance, despite the building heat Monday and Tuesday.

“The weekend was great, Saturday was really great around 5,000 people and Sunday 4,500 or so. Monday was a little over 2,000 but it was miserable hot and we even rode around on golf carts to get a little relief,” Bohlen explained. “Tuesday was low but about average for our Tuesdays in the past.”

And whether the sales were for the experience, like Kate Pierson, 10, of Tunnel, explained, or to honor friends like Jacob Hanlon, 17, of Cutler, proclaimed, organizers through both the Future Farmers of America chapters and the Washington County 4-H, were thankful for the support of the community Tuesday.

“I bought this calf to honor my friend Skylar Hayes who’s in basic training right now,” said Hanlon, tearing up after the fluffy-eared steer sold for $2,000.

“I learned that there’s a lot more work that goes into it, even if my sister makes it look easy,” concluded Pierson.