The goal was to give back, and giving did abound during the Washington County Fair Livestock Auction on Wednesday afternoon at the Two Rivers Bank Arena.
In addition to the more than $68,000 the auction raised for kids who participated in livestock competitions at this year's fair, more than $9,000 was raised for one person diagnosed with leukemia.
More than 50 people donated funds, which will go to Phelps County resident and student Garrett Scholz, who has leukemia.. Scholz is the grandson of longtime Arlington farm-family Terry and Betty Rasmussen.
"Terry and his family have been lifelong Washington County Fair supporters," said Jeff Warren, a livestock auction committee member. "Their family, their kids have shown here and all over the nation ... They're just good people. I think you see the support this county still has for them even though they're beyond their county showing days."
The effort to raise money for Scholz became a spur of the moment occasion about halfway through the livestock auction aimed at giving livestock competition participants a way to recoup some of the costs of raising and showing an animal.
An anonymous buyer paid more than $1,400 for Herman resident Charley Hoier's hog. Those funds will go to Hoier, but the unknown buyer immediately gave the hog back to the auction committee to auction off again for Scholz.
"We're gonna re-sell this thing," said Warren just before the hog was sold a second time. "If you got love in your heart..."
One person bought the hog for $4,000, but Warren challenged more people in the crowd to donate $100 to add on to the pot earmarked for Scholz. Additional donations of $100 to $300 flowed in.
The money is at least the second time Scholz received goodwill from a livestock auction this year. NTV reported July 25 that a 12-year-old classmate of Scholz raised more than $36,000 for him through a 4-H auction and other donations.
The Wednesday auction crowd's generosity was a stamp on an event where each 4-H'er gets to keep the money their animal for which it is sold.
Warren said the goal of the auction was to give back to kids so they can show cattle, goats, hogs or sheep that may cost $2,000 to $4,000 to raise and ready for the fair. In giving back, auction organizers hoped to increase participation in the livestock competitions.
Warren couldn't say for sure if the competitions themselves had more participation, but the auction had 75 head sold compared to last year's 53. Warren also said 18 market beef were entered to compete versus 13 last year, while 144 hogs were entered compared to last year's 115.
"It feels like our auction and show participation increased approximately 40 percent," Warren said.
Arlington resident Ethan Hilgenkamp showed and auctioned a meat goat provided to him by his grandparents. The auction wasn't the main reason he competed, but he did appreciate the opportunity to get some money, even if it is hard to say goodbye to the animals sometimes, he said.
"That's a lot of money," Hilgenkamp said after his 81-pound goat sold for $4.35 a pound.
Arlington resident Sarah Rhea said she has been buying, raising, selling then buying more sheep for some time. It's pretty much her business, she said, and the auction was another way to support it. Though she doesn't use all the money from selling her animals to buy more. She recently bought a ukelele.
"Not all business," Rhea said.
Warren said the livestock auction committee doesn't keep a single penny they raise. It all goes back to the kids, many of whom he said will probably stay in the county and continue working their family farms.
He added that the committee aggressively searches for funds each year to continue giving back to causes like Scholz or to kids who want to show livestock.
"The true value I see (in the auction), is these are the kids that stay in Washington County," Warren said. "It's a tremendous way we invest back to the kids that very likely will stay in the county to make a living."