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You will have to pardon the Suwannee River Fair Association Board if they are doing a “Dance of Happiness.”
They can celebrate a great year for the 4H, FFA and other youth who sold 341 animals on Wednesday, March 19, and set a new sales record.
The “kids” raked in $854,802.95. Last year's sales were $731,690.96.
All the bidders who got together and “purchased” the pigs and steers, can also do a little “Dance of Happiness,” too, as they ponied up the cash.
Fair Association President Loran Brookins said he is always astonished by the support the fair and its youth receive from the Tri-County Area of Levy, Dixie and Gilchrist counties.
“Yeah we did well,” Brookins said in a phone interview. “I am proud. We had less animals (than last year) and more money –almost a hundred grand more.”
Brookins attributed the strong buying to the evolution of multiple buyer groups. “We had more multiple buyers this year,” he said. “Whereas we used to have individuals. But you get five or six buyers together, your money goes further.”
Brookins said the trend is a good one. “It takes people like that getting together to make it happen,” he said. “You take the Chiefland FFA Alumni Chapter got together and they could buy the two (Chiefland Senior FFA) Chapter steers.”
He said it provides an opportunity for an individual who may be unable to pay $500 for an animal to go in with, say, $300 and be part of a group that gets involved with helping the youth.
“I really enjoyed the sale and the way it went. It went smooth,” Brookins said, He said it “blows my mind the support we have and the money. Every year it gets bigger – even in bad times – and we collect the money. “
“And those two kids who donated their money to the causes, that was a good thing.”
Brookins was referring to two hogs whose owners auctioned them off for community purposes. Hog No. 144 by Alain Brown raised $21,649.50 or $84.9 per pound for Lane Langford of Trenton. The athlete was injured in an auto accident on Dec. 23, and has vowed he will walk again.
Hog. No. 197 will help cancer warrior Heather Land of Old Town and was donated by Cheyanne Hall. It earned $21,915.00 or 84.95 per pound.
Even without the two community hogs, the fair would have set a record with $811,238.45 in sale proceeds.
The average price paid per pound for fat steers was $5.28, for feeders was $4.51 and for swine was $4.95.
Now that the dust is settling around the fair pavilion in Fanning Springs, the participants are sending out their thank-yous to buyers and getting their gifts ready and polishing their buckles in anticipation of Awards Night on Thursday, April 3, at 7 p.m. Recipients will be in their finest 4H and FFA dress.
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Here are the champion animals' sales figures – price is per pound paid – and buyers:
Grand Champion Swine, Devin Rogers, Double Sink 4H (Levy), Sale Weight: 270, $14. Buyers: Scott & Melissa Mills, John Meeks, Levy County Commisioner; Drummond Community Bank; Chris Cowart, Levy County School Board; Chiefland Farm Supply; NAPA; Murray Tillis; WMB Land Investments; Reed Automotive; Bobby McCallum, Levy County Sheriff; Scoggins Chevrolet; Hart Construction; Suwannee Valley Vet; Beck’s Self Storage; Ryan Bell, Levy County Commissioner; Bill Langston, Public Defender; Nature Coast Timber; The Gathering Table; Latoma Ranch.
Grand Champion Fat Steer, Gray Childers, Riverside Wranglers 4H (Gilchrist); Sale Weight 1,280; $13. Buyers: Mayo Fertilizer, Herman Sanchez, Byrd Logging; Nextran; Sanchez Farms; Shamrock Sod; Smith Asset Management; Beard Equipment.
Grand Champion Feeder Steer, Payton Parnell, Chiefland Sr FFA (Levy), Sale Weight: 761, $12. Buyers: Levy Animal Clinic; L & J Farms; Sanchez Farms; Reed Automotive; Paige Brookins, Levy County School Board; Murray Tillis; Bronson Ace Hardware; Ebenezer Baptist Church Youth Supporters; Smith Asset Management; Drummond Bank; RD & Carolyn Skelton; Timbo Childers; Chris & Jody Mills; Going Coastal Cattle Products; Bejeweled Custom Jewelers; Chiefland Farm Supply; Beef O’Bradys.
Home Grown Grand Champion Fat Steer, Erin Jones, Trenton Sr FFA (Gilchrist), Sale Weight: 1363, $8. Buyers: Douglas Simpson III; Simpson Acres; Sanchez Farms; 83 Farms; Smith Farms of Bell; Rob Rankin, Gilchrist School Board; V. E. Whitehurst; Bobby Schultz, Gilchrist County Sheriff; Robin & Jeff Starnes; Joey & Sonya Anderson.
Home Grown Grand Champion Feeder Steer, Madison Starnes, Williston Middle FFA (Levy), Sale Weight: 747, $5. Buyers: Sanchez Farms; Jerry Mills; Ag Pro; Sessions Peanut Co.
Reserve Champion Swine, Lacy Bennett, Double Sink 4H (Levy), Sale Weight: 265, $12. Buyers: Brooke & Kinsey Ward; L. E. Langford, Inc.; Chiefland Chrysler Dodge & Jeep; Karen Tillis; Chiefland Farm Supply; Scott & Melissa Mills; Chris Cowart, Levy County School Board; John Meeks, Levy County Commission; Lily Rooks; Reed Automotive; Scoggins Chevrolet; Suwannee Valley Vet; Bobby McCallum, Levy County Sheriff; Stacy Scott, Public Defender; Sun Coast Schools Federal Credit Union.
Reserve Champion Fat Steer, Douglas Simpson III, Wilcox 4H (Gilchrist), Sale Weight: 1,164, $11. Buyers: Chiefland Farm Supply; Sessions Peanut; Mayo Fertilizer; United Fuel; Sweet Mama Produce; Drummond Bank; Tri-County Irrigation; Ebenezer Baptist Church Youth Supporters; Smith Asset Management; Sheree Lancaster, Gilchrist Judge; Ag Pro; Sanchez Farms; Simpson Acres; Timbo & Cindy Childers.
Reserve Champion Feeder, Tymber Anderson, Riverside Wranglers 4H (Gilchrist), Sale Weight: 737, $11. Buyers: Mayo Fertilizer, Kenworth, Herman Sanchez Sr., Sanchez Farms, Byrd Logging, Shamrock Sod, Ring Power.
Home Grown Reserve Champion Fat Steer, Connor Edwards, Williston Sr FFA (Levy), Sale Weight: 1,222, $5. Buyers: Etheridge Cattle Company; Craig Bost, Farm Bureau.
Home Grown Reserve Champion Feeder Steer, Blake King, Williston Sr FFA (Levy), Sale Weight: 742, $3.50. Buyers: Friends of Williston FFA and 4H; Food Ranch Stores of Inglis; Neufeld Trucking; Carl Vining; Williston Farm Supplies; S. C. Fugate Transport, Inc.; Levy Animal Clinic; Archer Automotive & Tire; Badcock & More.