8/31/2013 7:00 AM
By Carol Ann Gregg Western Pa. Correspondent
PITTSFIELD, Pa. — The show is over and the air is more relaxed as 4-H youths visit and play card games to wile away the afternoon before the annual Warren County Youth Livestock Auction.
The sale committee, led this year by Dale McMillen, operates the auction.
“Youth can show and sell only one market animal. We have done this for many years and it works well for us,” McMillen said. “We are a small community, and we would have trouble finding additional buyers.”
The sale committee gets quite involved in the details of the auction.
“A few years ago, we invited a buyer to become a member of the committee. It turned out to be a very good thing,” McMillen said. During a discussion of what kind of gift to present the buyers, this new committee member was asked what he thought would be appropriate. “ Don’t give them any gift,’ he said.”
The committee was shocked but ever since has not spent money for token gifts. Buyers of champion and reserve champion animals receive the banners for their purchases.
McMillen, a product of the program, began raising livestock at the age of 8 when he received a sheep for his birthday. When he was 9 he started in the 4-H Sheep Club.
His family now has 150 ewes and the children are the third generation in sheep from both sides of the family. Son Cody serves as the youth member on the sale committee.
Livestock superintendent Hobart Carr also grew up in the program. After completing his years as a livestock exhibitor, he got his education and returned to the community as a physician, volunteering each year at the fair.
Two members of the Kinzua Cow Pokes showed both grand champion and reserve grand champion market steers in this year’s show.
Taylor Carlson, 18, showed the grand champion. She has been in 4-H for nine years and has one year left in her youth showing career.
“I remember when I was showing before I was old enough to be in 4-H. I was so impressed by the judge coming over and talking to me,” Taylor said.
Derrick Albers, 9, showed the reserve champion market steer. This is his first year in 4-H, and he was excited about doing so well.
Nicole Eckman, 17, showed the grand champion market swine. This is her seventh year of showing pigs.
“Make your best effort,” Nicole said about her recipe for doing well during the livestock show.
Cody McMillen, 17, sold a lightweight lamb during the sale. He has been in 4-H for seven years.
“I work to make myself better,” he said. “I like the thrill of winning and love the animals.”
The youths agreed that it is important for the older youth to help beginning members.
“We are a competitive, supportive team,” Nicole said.
“We learn the importance of being a good sport,” Taylor added.
Eighteen beef animals were sold for the total of $46,967.70. The grand champion sold for $2.50 per pound, and the reserve grand champion sold for $4.60 per pound.
Eleven market lambs were sold for the total of $3,609.70. The grand champion sold for $5.60 per pound, and the reserve grand champion sold for $3.50.
Twenty market hogs sold for a total of $14,239. The grand champion sold for $4.50 per pound, and the reserve grand champion sold for $3.75.