Garon Castle, 9, was philosophical about saying goodbye to the hog he’d raised at Saturday’s 4-H/FFA livestock auction at the Carter County Fair.
“The next time, I see him, he’ll be in a package of bacon,” said the fourth-grader at Heritage Elementary. “Or sausage, maybe.”
Garon’s 160-pound porker, named Spider-Pig, was one of a record number of critters to cross the auction block at the sale, which was one of the marquee events of the fair’s final day.
“We had 50-some last year, and that was the previous high,” said Kim Flaugher, secretary of the fair board and chairwoman of the livestock sale. “We’ve had 70 lots and more than 100 animals go through this year.”
Flaugher said she thought the reason for the increase was simple — more youngsters are becoming interested in raising and selling farm animals. And the money they get for doing isn’t bad, either, she said.
The auction was a family affair for Garon and his siblings. His brother, Kane Castle, 12, sold a 185-pound hog for $2.40 a pound, and his sister, Hannah Bradford, sold a grand champion steer and a hog.
Although she’s only 18, Bradford is a old hand at livestock sales, having sold her first feeder calf at the age of 4.
“I just love the animals,” she said. “I”m going to major in animal science in college.”
Bradford graduated from East Carter High School and is signed up at Eastern Kentucky University this fall. The money she’s made from selling animals will be used to help pay for her education, she said.
The sale brought back some pleasant memories for Megan Flaugher, 24. She said she’d sold animals when she was younger, but outgrew the program several years ago. On Saturday, though, she sold a hog entered by her brother, Grant, who was unable to attend because he had to work.
“I’d never sold a pig before. I always had steers,” she said.
Destiny Davis, 7, of Olive Hill, struggled to keep her lamb, Comet, under control. The animal, which appeared to weigh at least as much, if not more, than the youngster, dragged her across the dirt floor of the show arena before she managed to wrap her arms around its neck.
“She’s strong for her age,” said Destiny’s mother, Valerie Davis. She also said it was her daughter’s second year of participating in the auction. Last year, she raised and sold a sheep and a pig, she said.
Destiny’s lamb was purchased by Carter County Attorney Patrick Flannery, who bought a hog earlier.
Flannery said he attended his first livestock sale about four ago while campaigning for office “because it was pretty much expected of me.” But he said he found he truly enjoyed it “and now I wouldn’t miss this for anything.
“These kids work really hard,” Flannery said. “And this really helps you learn to appreciate your food.”
KENNETH HART can be reached at email@example.com or (606) 326-2654.