HARRISBURG — Let’s hear it for the girls.
For many years, the top winning junior market steer, swine, lamb, goat and pen of rabbits at the Pennsylvania Farm Show Sale of Champions were shown by both boys and girls.
Tuesday’s Sale of Champions highlighting the fourth day of the 106th Pennsylvania Farm Show featured five girls selling the champion animals and three of five reserve champions sold by girls.
Although no Sale of Champions records were broken during the auction of animals raised by youths, the livestock sold for substantially higher than market prices, as usually is the case.
Prior to the sale, the Pennsylvania Farm Show Scholarship Foundation gave scholarships to 15 FFA and 4-H youths including one to Ella Brummer of Millerstown, a 10-year Farm Show exhibitor of lambs, hogs and goats. Then, Farm Show auctioneer Harry Bachman welcomed the crowd and began selling.
History seemed to repeat itself at this year’s Farm Show. The girls selling the champion steer and champion market swine each won that honor in 2020, the last in-person Farm Show.
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Karli Berkheimer of Carroll Township, York County, entered the show ring with Krueger, her 1,385-pound crossbred steer who received champion honors on Sunday. Within minutes, the gleaming black steer with a market value of $1,869 sold for $23,000 to Bell & Evans and Giant Co.
“I’m happy he sold for so much,” Berkheimer said. “In 2020, my champion steer sold for $20,000. Now, we’re going home.” The Northern Middle School eighth grader said she expects to be back in class on Wednesday.
Alaina Webster, 18, of Cambridge Springs, sold Shark, her 266-pound champion market swine with a market value of $146, for $7,600 to Hatfield Quality Meats. She plans to use the money for more animals. In 2020, she sold her champion swine to Hatfield for $6,000.
“Shark’s a hard one to let go,” said Webster, who has been showing swine since she was 8. “He has a great personality.” She said she plans to become a registered nurse and breed animals on the side.
Madaline Tewell of Artemas sold her 149-pound champion market lamb with a market value of $451 to New Holland Sales Stables for $5,700.
“Dylan took a lot of work,” the Everett Middle School eighth grade student said before entering the sales ring. “He didn’t know what to do at first but I walked him, and set him up. He got used to it.”
Alexa Mills of Hickory bid farewell to Eddie, her 101-pound champion market goat with a market value of $343. HJ Towing of Carlisle bought him for $6,700, and, with Terry Shetron, owner of Shetron Auction and Equipment of Shippensburg, they bought the reserve market goat.
“I’ll use the money for another goat,” Mills said. “I want to purchase a goat with good structure and give him quality feed.”
HJ Towing owner Heidi Jo Richcreek said that as a farmer who raises beef cattle, she likes to support vocational agricultural students and help out the food banks. Shetron echoed that.
Marissa Yutzy, 11, of James Creek, then sold her meat pen of three rabbits with a market value of $16 to John Rock for $2,700.
“Rabbits are fun to play with,” she said, adding that she had nine rabbits at home. “They grow fast too. They are easy projects for someone who doesn’t have a lot of land.”
This year’s sale completed a challenging year for the young exhibitors, who dealt with COVID-19 and many canceled animal shows. Tuesday turned into an emotional day with most youthful sellers delighted with the sale prices but a few shedding tears as they bid farewell to their animals.
Amy Pecora of Harrison City shed a few tears after selling Charlie, her reserve grand champion steer, to Karns Food for $10,000. “I’ll miss him,” she said quietly.
Most of the animals sold at the Farm Show go to the slaughterhouse, although several were donated to food banks.