Aug 12, 2014


Grand Champion Junior Steer sells for $100k, one of four record-smashing prices at Governor's Sale of Champions


Shaelye Varner with her champion steerSPRINGFIELD, Ill. - Four years ago, $100,000 would have purchased almost every animal in the Sale of Champions, the auction of the Illinois State Fair's prize-winning junior livestock.  Proceeds from the 2010 sale totaled $102,500.  Last night, it purchased just one.


For the first time in its long history Tuesday, an animal in the sale sold for a six figure sum when AT&T, Monsanto and DeKalb Asgrow combined to bid $100,000 for 12-year-old Shaelye Varner's grand champion crossbred steer.  The price easily surpassed the former record of $62,000, which was set only a year ago, and was one of four records broken during the sale.


In all, the event raised an astounding $260,095 for not only the junior producers who raised the champion animals, but also the 4-H and FFA programs, which each receive 10 percent of the proceeds.   


"This year we set records that will benefit some of Illinois' finest young producers, and will also benefit two great agricultural programs, 4H and FFA," Governor Pat Quinn said. "It was a thrill to be a part of this record-breaking event that celebrates the state's number one industry."


Shaelye, a resident of Morris, has been showing since she was five-years-old.  She plans to save her winnings and use them to further her career aspirations.


"I want to continue in livestock," she said.  "When I grow up, I want to judge competitions like the ones that I have been competing in."


Other sales records were set for the sheep, barrow and Land of Lincoln steer.


The sheep, exhibited by 15-year-old Brooke Ryner of Alexis, sold for $21,000, eclipsing the old record of $17,200.  Grant Kiefer's barrow sold for $53,000, more than double the $25,000 former high price, and Braden Musgrave's Land of Lincoln steer fetched $56,300, or $6,200 more than the previous record.  Kiefer, 15, is from Livingston.  Musgrave, 11, resides in Pittsfield.


A friendly, family rivalry was renewed in the meat goat competition.  Since 2011, either Dylan or Tara Hummel of Cabery has exhibited the grand champion.  This year 12-year-old Tara prevailed.  While not a record, her goat, Carl, sold for $10,000. 


"I am going to use this to pay off some of my feed bills and save up for college," Tara said. "One day, I want to take over the family business of raising animals.  So I need to plan for that."


The grand champion poultry trio sold for $5,900.  Bailey Hunt of Sycamore, who won last year as well, exhibited the birds.  Like many young producers, he plans to invest his winnings in his college savings fund.


Sarah Brown of Jacksonville received $6,000 for her rabbit meat pen.  The sale marked the culmination of her twelve years of showing, although the 19-year-old nursing student plans to judge rabbits in the future.   


"Part of the money will go to buying a car," Sarah said.  "The remaining portion will help me visit the American Rabbit Breeders Association National Convention in Texas."


A list of all the champions sold at the auction, as well as the exhibitors, the purchasers, and the amount that each champion sold for follows.  The record-breaking amounts are in bold.












Grand Champion Rabbit Meat Pen


Sarah Brown




Agrivest, Rex and Carolyn Evans




Grand Champion Poultry Trio


Bailey Hunt




McDonald's of Peoria, McDonald's of Central Illinois (Marty Davis), National Bank and Trust of Sycamore, State Rep. Robert Pritchard, Friends of Bailey Hunt




Land of Lincoln Supreme Champion Female Print


Kaylen Miller




Prairie Farms Dairy of Carlinville




Grand Champion Meat Goat


Tara Hummel




Sky Ride, Rolly Rosenboom, Tom Paulk, Mike Earles and Friends of Tara Hummel




Grand Champion Wether


Brooke Ryner




North American Midway Entertainment, Friends of Brooke Ryner, Channel Seed, Matt Repp Memorial Scholarship, Anonymous




Land of Lincoln Grand Champion Wether


Mitch Holmes




Terry Duffy and CME Group
Resold: Frank Hoffreiter, Becks Seed, Channel Seed, Hunter Nutrition, Sky Ride



Resold: $5,000


Grand Champion and Land of Lincoln Grand Champion Barrow


Grant Kiefer




Terry Duffy and CME Group




Land of Lincoln Grand Champion Steer


Braden Musgrave




Bruce and Diana Rauner




Grand Champion Steer


Shaelye Varner




AT&T, Monsanto DeKalb Asgrow








Alex Belcher of Buncombe won the 31st Annual Illinois Championship Auctioneer Contest held by the Illinois State Auctioneers Association.  Belcher has been competing for seventeen years. He started in 1998 after college and primarily auctions cattle and cars. 


"By far, this win has made me a better person and a better auctioneer," Belcher said.


For winning the contest, Belcher was named the auctioneer of the Governor's Sale of Champions.


The 2014 Reserve Auctioneer was Abbey Schmid of Clinton.



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