4-H goes on without fair festivities


September 10, 2020

Annie Wooden

GRAND CHAMPION SHOWMAN Sydney Jackson talks with auctioneer Kevin Hill about her Grand Champion steer during the 4-H livestock auction on Sunday.

The Sanders County Fairgrounds in Plains looked a little different this Labor Day weekend. Normal fair activities including the carnival, rodeo and vendors were missing, but the Sanders County 4-H members still got the chance to show off their hard work.

The efforts of the Sanders County 4-H members culminated with the annual livestock auction Sunday morning at the fairgrounds in Plains. The auction featured 16 steers, 34 swine, three sheep and a goat.

With the COVID-19 restrictions this year, buyers were welcomed to the bleachers and families surrounded the show pen as the auction began with a moment honoring a longtime volunteer. Kevin Hill volunteers as auctioneer for the 4-H/FFA auction and this year was honored as an honorary member of Sanders County 4-H.

"Kevin Hill has ben the auctioneer for this sale for years, driving hours to be here on Labor Day weekend, bringing buyers, knowledge and laughter, all at his own expense," said 4-H leader Joanne Burk as her son Cody presented Hill with the award. "Kevin won't accept a paycheck ... so let's pay him with our sincere appreciation. He is an integral part of our fair and it wouldn't be the same without his fast lips, laughter and love for our kids."

Sanders County Ledger canvas prints

Sanders County 4-H also honored Pat Wilson as the leader of the year.

Hill greeted each 4-H member as they entered the ring with their market animal, having a little fun with them to get them to warm up to him. The auction kicked off with Sydney Jackson's angus steer who weighed in at 1,515. Jackson, a senior at Hot Springs High School, was named the grand champion senior beef showman of this year's fair.. Cody Burk's Hereford steer garnered the highest per-pound bid of $4.50.

Several local businesses and individuals, including Beaver Creek Veterinary, Rehbein Ford and Rep. Denley Loge bumped the prices of animals who did not get as much per pound at the auction.

The three market sheep went for $3.25-$4.25 per pound, and RDO Equipment of Kalispell bumped the price of all the animals to $5 per pound. Savana Wilson earned grand champion in the junior goat showman category and her goat was bought by First Security Bank of Thompson Falls and Plains. Wilson got a boost from Log Cabin Embroidery, who raised her goat's price to $10 per pound.

In the swine auction, prices ranged from a low of $3.50 per pound to a high of $6.25 per pound for the pigs raised by Hattie Neesvig and Audrey Fairbank, both of the Whitepine Happy Workers 4-H club.

The auction featured seasoned and new buyers this year. Buyers included Valley Bank of Hot Springs, Stud's Building and Home Center, Westland Seed, Western Montana New Holland, Hot Springs Telephone, Thompson River Lumber, Building Bridges, Gamble's of Plains, Riverside Contracting, Mountain West Cooperative, Clark Fork Title, Valley Bank of Thompson Falls, Dennis Rehbein, First Security Bank of Thompson Falls and Plains, Lonepine Logging, Whitefish Credit Union, The Sanders County Ledger, Franklin Honey, Bangen Fencing, SK Construction, Moiese Fertilizer, Pains Drug/Thompson Falls Family Pharmacy, Uffda Montana, Lower Valley Processing, RDO Equipment, 3 Bar B Ranch, Energy Partners, Steve Fairbank, Dixon Feeds, Hecla Mining Company and Riverside Contracting. Montana State University culinary program also purchased three pigs at the auction.


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