Ribbon Auction tops #036;33,000

Published 12:00 am Saturday, August 14, 1999

The 25th anniversary Mower County 4-H Market Livestock Ribbon Auction made history Saturday.

Saturday, August 14, 1999

The 25th anniversary Mower County 4-H Market Livestock Ribbon Auction made history Saturday.

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When Rick Gehling, Grand Meadow, out-bid other buyers and paid $350 for Cassie Denisen’s market wether’s blue ribbon, it put the auction over the $500,000 mark for its 24-year history.

Denisen, daughter of Jerry and Dorothy Denisen, Grand Meadow, is a member of the Frankford Jolly Youth 4-H club.

Saturday’s total was the second-highest amount raised for 4-H in the 25-year history of the event.

Buyers spent $33,900 Saturday and bought 143 ribbons.

Last year, buyers earned $33,035 for Mower County 4-Hers.

The ribbon auction record was set in 1997, when $34,175 was paid for 4-Hers’ ribbons.

"It was an outstanding auction," said Dave Quinlan, Mower County Extension Service educator. "Considering how the farm economy is so depressed and, in particular, the low pork prices, this was really an amazing show of support for the kids."

Justin Goslee, son of Larry and Paul Goslee, rural Austin, showed the grand champion beef steer in the 4-H Beef Show this year.

On Saturday, the London Willing Workers 4-Her earned $200, the maximum premium allowed by the ribbon auction committee.

Three buyers, Central Co-op of Austin, Northern Country Co-op of Stacyville, Iowa and Adams and Lukes Bros. paid $850 for Goslee’s ribbon.

The remaining amount goes into the 4-H general fund.

The maximum premiums paid range from $80 to $200 for the champion beef and dairy steers, $30 to $85 for barrows and wethers and $8 to $40 for market poultry and rabbits.

The last ribbon of the day, a reserve champion ribbon for Jared Curley’s meat pen entry in the 4-H Rabbit Show, was bought for $225.

The auction began in 1975, when $6,530 was earned. It has climbed steadily through the years, dipping only three times – 1988, 1993 and 1998 – from previous years’ totals.

On hand Saturday were several familiar faces from ribbon auction history. Byron Huseby, Adams, has attended all 15 auctions. "Colonel" Paul Hull, the dean of Mower County’s auctioneers since 1946, returned to sing his signature "Auctioneer’s Song" and Gib Sparks helped push the ribbon auction total for the 24th time.

Also present were Norb Schroeder, Racine, a former Fair Board member, who helped originate the ribbon auction, plus Harlan Johnsrud and Ron Seath who started it.

Johnsrud was the then-county extension agriculture agent, when the auction debuted. Seath was the then-county 4-H agent.

"We tried to take the best from all other 4-H auctions we surveyed in Iowa and Minnesota and turn them into the best we could create for Mower County 4-Hers," Johnsrud said.

Seath said, "Every 4-Her benefits by this auction and it must be successful, because there are so many buyers each year and the number of multiple-buyers is growing."

John Grass, Jr., Leroy, said the auction works because of the support it receives. "The businesses, individuals and organizations keep coming back," Grass said. "Their loyalty has remained. It’s been working so perfectly, I don’t know why we would want to change it."

Among the beneficiaries of the auction are 100 4-Hers, who earn free trips to the Minnesota State Fair, coming up in two weeks.

But, throughout the year, the money supports myriad 4-H activities all because of the generosity of people such as Rick Gehling.

Glenn Medgaarden, who organizes the annual group of auctioneers, who donate their time to the auction, stopped the show, when auditors confirmed Gehling and Gehling Fertilizer had pushed Saturday’s action over the half-million dollar mark.

– Editor’s Note: More stories and photos of the 1999 Mower County 4-H Market Livestock Ribbon Auction will appear in the Austin Daily Herald’s "Best of the Fair" supplement on Thursday, Aug. 26