DARLINGTON—The heat wasn’t the only thing setting records last week. The Lafayette County Fair had a record-setting livestock and cheese auction, collecting approximately $265,000.
“It was an unbelievable auction,” Troy Lobdell, one of the organizers of the livestock and cheese auction, said. “It was very well supported.”
The livestock and cheese auction numbers were up in part because bidders had the option to donate the animal back to be auctioned a second time with the second auction proceeds used for fairground improvements. Lobdell said approximately 6-8 animals were auctioned twice, generating $8,153.65 for future projects. The committee in charge of the fairgrounds improvement projects plans to have an upcoming project in memory of Colin Barnes, a very active 9-year-old boy who died in an ATV accident in April.
At the auction a total of 167 units were sold for a total of $265,093.70, including 39 head of beef at an average of $2.35/pound for a total of $127,988.35; 34 lambs at an average of $4.82/pound for $19,670.50; 94 hogs at an average of $4.30/pound for at total of $106,489.85; and 16 cheese and small animal entries for $10,945. The total number of units includes the animals that were auctioned twice. There were 88 active buyers at the auction.
Setting a record was the steer Colin Barnes had raised, which was sold, donated back to the building fund and raised additional funds for a total of $15,100 for a single animal.
“There’s a lot of uncertainty in the future, especially with the current economic situation and drought conditions,” Lobdell said. “We’re never quite sure how the fair will turn out each year. It was up from last year. It’s astonishing what the supporters in Lafayette County do to support the youth at the fair.”
Jenny Russell, 4-H and youth development educator with the Lafayette County UW-Extension Office, said the livestock shows were well-run and showcased quality animals, although the show was affected by the heat in the weeks leading up to the fair. She said there were some animals that didn’t make it to the fair.
“It seemed like there were more kids participating than in the past, but the number of entries from each participant seemed to be less this year,” Russell said.
Bill Moody, chairman of the Lafayette County Fair Committee, said other than a small crowd for the music performance on Friday, the crowds for the week of the fair looked good. He said ticket sales at the gate were about the same as the previous year and advanced tickets may be up, although he didn’t have the exact numbers.
“Based on what I saw while working at the gates, there were a lot of advanced tickets coming through,” Moody said. “It looked like things went well.”
Moody said there are some kinks to work out with this year’s new event, Mud Hog Rodeo, but the crowd seemed entertained with how it went. He hopes there will be even more participation next year.
The biggest crowd of the week was during the Badger State Tractor Pull on Saturday night. Moody said the grandstand was packed and a nice-sized crowd was watching from the track as well.
“The weather hurt us some, but last year was even hotter,” Moody said. “I think being so hot the week before helped us. The heat we had didn’t seem so bad.”
Moody said the carnival ride tickets were up.
“The carnival was very happy with how things went this year,” Moody said. “It’s a very nice carnival for a small fair.”