‘Unbelievable support’ generates $447K at livestock auction

HAPPY TO SELL — Kelsey Miller leads her show steer into the ring where she’ll take a photo with the steer’s buyer and the fair queen court. Miller was one of about 160 youth that sold animals during the July 8 livestock auction at the Warren County Fair. Adam Rollins photo.
Adam Rollins
Staff Writer

Youth livestock exhibitors at the Warren County Fair have a history of breaking their own records for income at the annual livestock auction. But the takeaway this year was so far beyond what they’ve seen in the past that organizers have a hard time believing this record will be beat anytime soon.

Over $447,000 is going to 4-H and FFA livestock exhibitors for their animals this year, following unprecedented participation in the livestock auction on July 8. That bidding total exceeds the previous record from 2019 by more than $172,000, despite about the same number of exhibitors selling animals at auction. The new record will likely stand for some time.

“As it probably should,” commented livestock co-coordinator Wes Colbert. “It’s a huge ask to have some of these companies walk in the door and spend top dollar. We had six buyers spend over $10,000. Our top 20 buyers each spent over $6,000. ... The businesses were just unbelievable in how they came out and supported.”

Colbert said about 40-50 first-time buyers joined in the auction this year, which helped push higher bids on animals. The auction started with numerous $1,000 chickens and a $12,000 grand champion steer, and just kept going from there.

“We had so many buyers lined up that we had a line for two hours. We had to delay the start of the event ... because we didn’t want to start the show before they got their buyer’s tickets,” Colbert said. “It’s pretty humbling to know the community and businesses are that much behind the kids, and came out to support them full-throttle.”

In fact, many of the businesses or individuals who bid at the livestock auction don’t even come away with an animal to eat or take home. Bidders are given the option to leave the animals with their young owners, for which they receive a discount on their bids and then contribute the rest as a pure donation to the youth. About 40 bidders took that option. Before their discount, total bids at the auction this year were over $471,000.

Colbert said the money raised by exhibitors during the auction is used to recoup the cost of raising an animal and provide the funds to purchase a show animal for next year. Often there’s more than enough left over for the funds to be saved away for future education or put to some other use, depending on the family.

Below are the youth livestock exhibitors who earned the highest bids for each category of animal shown at the fair:

Olivia Mischlispy sold her chicken for $1,600 to Billy Survant.
Nicole Benne sold her grand champion steer for a crowd-roaring $12,750. It was purchased in-tandem by Marschel Wrecking, Warrenton Oil, Fastlane, and Holiday Inn Express.
Luke Kopmann’s hog was purchased for $8,295 by a combined group of 23 families and businesses who pooled together to win the bid.
Dalton Williams had his lamb purchased for $4,125 by Marschel Wrecking and the Edward Jones office of Glenda Buxton.
• Katlyn Miller sold her goat for $3,300 to combined bidding from the veterinary clinics in Hermann, Warrenton and Wright City.
Luke Gerdeman’s rabbit sold for $3,250 to Heggemann Inc.

Exhibitors and livestock show organizers are sending their thanks to all the local businesses that showed tremendous support at the auction. Each year, organizers publish a list of the top contributors. Below are the top five, ranked by net contributions:

Marschel Wrecking, $21,857
The combined group of Warrenton Oil, Fastlane, and Holiday Inn Express, $16,320
Old Monroe Lumber, $13,340
Heggemann Inc., $13,007
Metal Fabricators of St. Louis, $12,225


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