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Buyers make mooove at Washington County fair

Buyers make mooove at Washington County fair

Photo by Michele Newbanks Michael McNish, 11, lounges against a cow Monday while animals are shown in the arena.

One of the biggest draws every year for the local fairs is the livestock sale, which closes out the festivities.

More than 300 animals were sold last year, ranging in price from $200 for a market turkey to $5,400 for the grand champion market steer. The reserve champion market steer and premier exhibitor, Kesselyn Bigley of Lower Salem, had the record price for a premier exhibitor at $5,200.

But why would someone be willing to pay $200 for a turkey? It’s simple. It comes down to support.

“You have to support the youth. That’s our intent is to buy,” said Brandon Neville of Bridgeport Equipment, Tool Sales and Rental. He said they will probably buy lambs, goats or chickens, but they visit several fairs every year.

“Barlow, Waterford and Washington County. We’re at all the fairs, not just Washington County,” he said. “We’ve bought ever since we opened in Marietta in 2007.”

He said they try to support the kids that have families that support Bridgeport Equipment.

“We try to bid up the price to help support the kids,” he added. “I hope there is a good turnout for the sale.”

Neville isn’t the only one to visit multiple fairs every summer.

“We always buy. We always support the 4-H and FFA kids,” said Roger Morrison of Lashley Tractor Sales. “We attend seven to nine fairs a year. We do six to seven other than the ones here in Washington County.”

He said they buy all different types of animals, from a pen of rabbits to market steers.

“As long as there’s been fairs, Lashley has gone to fairs,” Morrison noted. “Fifty years is a safe guess.”

The fairs and 4-H mesh well with their business.

“We support 4-H kids because it goes with agriculture. It’s a life learning experience being in 4-H and FFA,” he explained. “I went and my children have and my granddaughters do. They all went to 4-H.”

Brian and Lisa Barth own Brian Barth Excavating and they have purchased at the auction for several years.

Lisa said she believes in supporting the youth and the community, especially since she has two sons who are showing this year. Her son, Brady, shows lambs, while her youngest son, Alex, is showing a lamb and a dairy calf.

“Brady came in second in showmanship, and second and third in market class,” she said. “I believe in 4-H and FFA programs.”

The Barths live on a farm and the kids work hard with their animals all summer. They learn valuable lessons through the projects.

“It teaches time management. They have a book they have to do as well as bringing the project,” she explained. “They have to keep track of expenses and income. It helps with money management.”

She said they also learn social skills, since they have a skillathon and get before a judge to explain their projects.

“There is learning about shaking hands and eye contact,” Lisa added. “They put in a lot of hours in the summer for the project.”

Knowing the 4-H kids put in a lot of work, they bid on multiple animals. It’s what they’ve done for years and will continue to do so, she said.

“Even though there wasn’t a full fair this year, it has been amazing,” Lisa said. “Everybody seems to be enjoying themselves and I’m glad they went forward with this. The kids really enjoyed it because they were able to go to their friends’ shows.”

Many kids were out riding bikes through the fairground and playing ball in the field.

“They’ve had to make their own fun and they’ve had a blast.”

This will be the third year for Lisk Lawn Care to purchase an animal.

Owner Andrew Lisk said last year, he bought a lamb and the grand reserve champion dairy beef feeder. “I know the kids and I try to support them any way I can,” he said.

“I think everyone has causes close to them. Any way to support agriculture and the youth is important to me.”

He said there are kids he’d like to assist, but anything can happen at the auction.

“I really enjoy going. It’s just a good time,” he said. “There’s usually a lot of people, all business owners and officials from the county. I enjoy seeing them and having a good time.”

Two people who want to become county officials this November are Republican Jamie Booth and Democrat Cora Marshall, who are running against each other for the open seat on the Washington County Commission. Marshall is a frequent buyer at the sale, but Booth said he sponsored a belt buckle for the grand champion turkey, but will most likely not buy at the auction.

“My campaign is way different,” he explained. “Spending a lot of money with the kids is great if a person can afford to. It’s not in my budget to do so.”

He said his grass-roots campaign has mostly come out of his pocket.

He said he has helped in other ways, including donating directly to the three fair boards.

“I try to spend the money to make the biggest impact,” he added. “We want to be everywhere, but it’s impossible to be everywhere and spend money everywhere.”

Marshall enjoys camping at the fairgrounds every year and said it isn’t anything new to purchase an animal, as she and her husband have been supporting 4-H and FFA youth since 1987.

“We were just thinking that agriculture is good for the kids…what they learn, their skills and responsibilities,” she said.

As some kids aren’t into sports, they can use 4-H and FFA to learn leadership skills.

“We’re hoping a lot of buyers will come out and support these kids, watching them in the ring and how they care for their animals,” Marshall said.

Michele Newbanks can be reached at mnewbanks@mariettatimes.com.

At the fair:

TODAY

Noon to 4 p.m.: Remove junior fair building displays.

4 p.m.: Livestock sale at show arena.

**Sale order: goats, chickens, lambs, turkey, dairy feeder steers, rabbits and market steers.

**Dismissal of junior fair animals: market animals may be removed from the fairgrounds from 8 to 10 p.m. Tuesday, and breeding animals may leave after 9 p.m. Monday.

WEDNESDAY

9 a.m. to noon: Booth tear-down at junior fair building.

Source: Washington County Fair Board.

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