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4-H Holds Annual Livestock Auction at County Fair

August 14, 2017       Leave a Comment
By: Stephen Kent

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As summer winds down, for a few memorable days in mid-August, the Bay County Fair Grounds are filled with the sounds of carnival rides, monster trucks, and the calls of farm animals. On one of those evenings each year the 4-H clubs from around the area gather for their annual auction of animals that have been raised by the members.

As kids parade their animals around the arena, local businesses, family members, and supporters bid what can seem like outrageous prices for each animal. Would you pay $300 for a single chicken? Maybe not, but this is not like any other auction. The proceeds go to the kids after a small percent is retained by 4-H to support the program. The youngsters use their share to help offset some of the cost of caring for the animals but the funds are also toward school and other expenses.

The program is well organized and runs smoothly. Besides the animals being auctioned off, the long barn is filled with many animals that are there for judging. It's a treat just to walk through and look at the many chickens, ducks, geese, rabbits, pigs, cows, and the occasional small stuffed dinosaur in the pens.

Three professional auctioneers run the show along with staff from the MSU Extension service. One man calls the auction as the other two walk the arena watching for bids and relaying them to the auction table. Every now and then the men change out so all three get to call the auction in their own style.

Unlike a more "normal" auction, the men calling this one have some fun. They don't mind heckling bidders just a little and playing with them.... "Hey, it's only money!". Sometimes they'll even encourage a buyer to bid against himself. It can really get interesting when husband and wife start bidding against each other.

For many years Chemical Bank employees have volunteered to man the tables and record bids, take the money and generally keep track of the green stuff. It seems to be a plum job because many of the same tellers and managers keep coming back year after year.

A treat for everyone is the food barn. There are a few containers for donations, while hot dogs, sloppy joes, salads, pies and other goodies are basically free. There's also a popcorn stand run by youngsters who do a steady business.

The auction is done for another year but it's not really over. Farm animals don't take a break. They'll always need feed and water and care. Kids will go back to their homes and continue what they were doing before the auction. And they'll be back next year for the excitement and fun of the annual auction.

There have been some changes at the auction barn. New roof connects barn to the auction pen.

On the west side a new shed roof was build over the spectators.

Jenna Miller shows her award winning duck

Cameren Valliere and his brother Branden both showed award winning lambs. The brothers represent the "Country Cousins Critters & Kids" club

Stephanie Rapp and her Grand Champion goose

One of the real treats at the 4-H auction: HOT DOGS!

Alex Clark and his rabbit. Weighing in at 6.2 pounds, it brought $175!

Jordan Bradiel shows his rabbit.

Willow Julian's rabbit was just a little rambunctious! Willow just held the wiggler however she could.

Stephanie Rapp was back with her big bunny

Trenton Kram and his rabbit.

Laken Clark's rabbit looks more like a pet.

Trevor Kram and his rabbit

Kylee Grezeszak's rabbit seems a little shy.

Oh Mannnnn.... Olivia Schwab's pig was so nice and clean, until he noticed how enticing that dirt looked.

Of all the animals, the pigs were the most excited. Almost all of them came out of the gate on the run. They'd make a circuit of the arena then settle down.

Kylee Grezeszak's pig had his own ideas on where he wanted to explore. Kylee won before it was over.

Rachel Mammel and her pig

Hayden Histed was a few steps behind his pig.

Jennifer Moncivaiz has good control of her pig... except that he wanted to stay in the area of the exit.

HEY! Wait for me. Blake Owens got his exercise chasing his porker.

The bleachers were usually full of people with an equal number milling around the outside and the barns.

Winona Redmond waits her turn to show her chicken.

Two auctioneers work the fence checking bids and relaying them to the desk.

There are a couple of long barns full of animals on display

Andrew Schwab and his chicken

Cash Redmond and chicken

It looks like Winona Redmond is saying "Wait, what was that bid?"

Everyone gets an official photo after showing their animals.

Melea Dacatur shows her Grand Champion, 1,405 pound steer.

Hayden Histed seems to be coming to an understanding with his steer.

At 1,055 pounds Winona Redmond's steer was the lightest shown.

Cinthia Moncivaiz's steer weighed 1,330 plunds

Cash Redmond and his steer.

Jennifer Moncivaiz, who couldn't weigh more than 70 pounds, had the heaviest animal at 1,615 pounds. Unfortunately, this cow had a mind of its own. It took Jennifer and some help to control the beast!


Seems like Grant Mammel's "brown cow" didn't like the answer to the above question.

With the Steer category done, the turkey's rounded out the night. Emily Ruple's bird was half as tall as she was. Straddling seemed to be the best way to have him go where he was pointed.

Olivia Schwab encouraged her turkey to walk the right direction.

Emily Wolfe decided to just carry her 23 pound turkey

Grace Miller carried her's as well.

Jenna Miller waiting in the wings to take her turkey out.

Travis Kram had one of several traditional turkeys.

The support of many businesses make the auction possible. These are just a few.

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Stephen Kent

Steve Kent and his family have lived in Bay City for 40 years. He is VP of Technical Services at MMCC which produces MyBayCity.Com. Kent is active in many Bay City civic organizations.

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