4-H auction a record-breaker

Published 10:25 am Monday, August 11, 2008

The question to ask is “Do you believe in miracles?”

They did Saturday at the 2008 Mower County Fair 4-H Market Livestock Ribbon Auction.

When the last ribbon was sold, the total raised for 4-H programming was $50,200 — $7,700 more than was raised in 2007, when a record was set with $43,500 in ribbon earnings.

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“It’s just amazing,” Jerry Sampson, a member of the Livestock Ribbon Auction committee.”

“I don’t know how they do it each year,” said committee volunteer Gayle Perkins.

“Incredible. Just incredible,” observed Glenn Medgaarden, lead auctioneer for the Saturday morning auction.

From first to last ribbons sold — 167 ribbons in all — the auctioneers convinced the bidders to support 4-H with their checkbooks and cash, and they did.

Jordan Osmundson, a member of the LeRoy Wide Awake 4-H club and son of Scott Osmundson, LeRoy, received $950 for the first ribbon sold to start Saturday mornings auction.

That was good.

Then, Paul Carman, a member of the Frankford Jolly Youth 4-H club earned $1,650 for his reserve champion beef steer ribbon.

That was very, very good and an omen of the good things to come.

The generous bid brought smiles to the faces of Mark and Kathy Carman, Grand Meadow, but there were more smiles of happiness to come from other 4-Hers and their families.

The buzzing began when Paul Schaefer, Country Aces 4-H Club member and son of Mark and Laura Schaelfer, Taopi, earned $1,600 for his grand champion dairy steer ribbon.

“Could this be another record-setting Ribbon Auction year?” inquiring minds watching the drama unfold in Crane Pavilion wondered.

The money earned by each livestock ribbon sold helps every 4-Her in Mower County.

The auction works thusly: the 4-Her showing the livestock project receives a premium from the ribbon proceeds.The rest of the money goes into the 4-H general fund.

The ribbon-buyer gets a picture of the 4-Her and their project, plus the ribbon and the satisfaction of knowing they are helping support a program serving more than 460 children and teens in Mower County.

Everybody wins.

The record setting day began with the ribbon-buyers breakfast served by the Windom 4-H club in the 4-H building dining hall.

Melissa Koch, Mower County 4-H programming coordinator, welcomed guests.

John Grass Jr., expressed the appreciation of the 4-H purple ribbon auction committee for buyers supporting a similar auction held each year at the Minnesota State Fair.

Brytten Reuter and Lucas Schaefer, two 4-Hers who participated in the 2007 Minnesota State Fair auction with their state champion projects, told how much they appreciated the support of the buyers.

Then, the buyers introduced themselves.

David Hillier, 3rd District Mower County commissioner, paid special tribute to fellow board member Richard P. Cummings, whose term expires in December.

Hillier credited him with being a staunch supporter of the 4-H program and the Mower County Fair and fairgrounds in his 32 years on the county board.

When a few rules were explained and the list of ribbons confirmed, the buyers marched to Crane Pavilion for the auction.

Waiting for them was Medgaarden and eight other volunteer auctioneers ready to exhort the buyers to bid up each ribbon.

Medgaarden admitted he was surprised at how the auction ensued.

“I was surpassed from the beginning at how much the ribbons were bringing,” he said. “We had rabbits earning $700.

“With the state of the economy, the auction was fantastic,” he said.