Expanded Sale of Champions is generating excitement

By Matt Reese

This year’s Sale of Champions at the Ohio State Fair will have three new additions. Ohio State Fair General Manager Virgil Strickler said a block of Swiss cheese along with the grand champion junior market goat and grand champion turkey have been added to the sale. The block of cheese will be capped at $3,000, the goat at $5,000 and turkey at $3,000. Anything above that will go to the Youth Reserve Program.

“The block of Swiss cheese will represent the youth exhibitors that win the six junior dairy breed champions,” Strickler said.

Strickler said these new additions help make the Sale of Champions a true reflection of Ohio Agriculture. Needless, to say, there is plenty of excitement for the exhibitors showing the new additions to this year’s Sale.

“There is the feeling that even though we’ve had this very successful Midwest Wether Goat Series and these jackpot shows for the past several years, that getting a goat into the Sale of Champions will open things up tremendously not only for the kids, but the breeders in and out of the state,” said Phil Myers, coordinator of the Midwest Wether Goat Series. “This will open up a new market for breeders from out of state to send their wether goats up here and be more competitive. Before it was not as big of a deal as it will be moving forward. Sheep people also looking into adding meat goats due to this. They are already working with animals and bringing them to the fair anyway and this could be another opportunity for them to do well.”

The announcement was made earlier this summer and market goat exhibitors responded to the news.

“We’ve had about 170 entries in the past couple of years and this year we’re up over 200 entries. I think we’re going to see those numbers increase exponentially in the next few years,” Myers said. “It has been very competitive in the last few years with a handful of different kids and I think that number will go way up. When this show is a part of the Sale of Champions, anybody that has any experience feeding livestock will see this as a new opportunity. I think that is going to breed even more competition.”

And it is not just the top tier of competitors that have reason to smile at this year junior fair Market Whether Show thanks to some generous sponsors.

“The junior fair premium dollars were cut significantly because of the state budget no longer subsidizing Ohio Expositions Commission to the level it has in the past. We circulated this news to some of the other goat people that work with us on the Midwest Wether Goat Series. One of those individuals, Cindy Price-Westfall, is a co-worker of mine and also happens to be married to one of the regional VP’s for Farm Credit Services of Mid-America,” Myers said. “Cindy and her husband Mike Westfall started working through the Farm Credit channels to get some sponsorship money and came up with $21,000 for the 2011 fair. The Ohio Soybean Council is also sponsoring at a high level for this and the other livestock shows and, between the two of them, junior fair premiums will remain at the level they were in 2010.”

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