With only 84 days to go before the Wisconsin State Fair, some of the people who are instrumental in making the Governor’s Blue Ribbon Livestock Auction a success each year gathered to thank supporters of the auction and encourage new buyers to get involved.
Bob Johnson, one of the organizers of the reception, which was held at Miller/Coors Brewing, said this is the third year for the event. “It’s a way to kick off the season that leads up to the fair and auction.
“We have former buyers and prospective buyers invited. Youth exhibitors and their families are here. It’s a way to kick it up a notch.”
When the auction of the State Fair’s top market lambs, hogs and steers “bottomed out” four years ago, Johnson said a committee undertook an concerted effort to bring it back.
They formed an executive committee that has worked hard to bring the luster back to the high-profile auction during the fair, he said.
Rick Frenette, CEO of Wisconsin State Fair Park said he is proud of the work that the foundation and executive committee have done.
John Yingling, chair of the Wisconsin State Fair Park board said events like the reception are important as the fair approaches, to get people excited about the upcoming fair. “We’re very proud of where we’ve gone and where we’re headed,” he said.
Johnson said last week’s reception was the largest they’ve had since its inception three years ago. “We thought we’d like to have an event to talk about the fair and the livestock auction and youth and what it does for the state of Wisconsin.”
Last year’s Governor’s Blue Ribbon Livestock Auction was just $5,000-$6,000 short of a record, Johnson said. The money goes to the young people who exhibit those top market livestock, but also to fund scholarships to youth who want to go on to further their education.
During the reception, organizers solicited “friends” of the auction for $100 each to support the programs and scholarships.
This year’s auction is scheduled for.
Reid Suddeth from Mineral Point will graduate from high school onand had the opportunity to sell his champion Suffolk wether at the auction in 2012.
He spoke to the crowd at the reception about how showing not one, but two great lambs at State Fair was a dream come true.
The nerves set in as the judge prepared to make the final selection. “The judge picked my lamb and the UW Band started playing. My dream came true and pretty soon I was talking to the governor.”
Suddeth sold two lambs that evening and is planning on furthering his education at Black Hawk College.
Allison Luety of Clinton had a similar experience, having shown the Grand and Reserve Champion barrows, both crossbreds, at Wisconsin State Fair.
“It had always been my goal to get into the Governor’s Auction. The stage at that auction was my goal.
“It’s an inspiring feeling to know that so many influential adults gather on anight in Milwaukee to support youth livestock and the work ethic that goes into these projects,” she said.
“Your support goes far beyond what money can do,” she told the reception crowd.
Luety is currently a freshman at the University of Wisconsin-Madison but plans to transfer to Iowa State University to continue her agriculture education.
Johnson said that every year the committee is looking for more buyers that are willing to come and support “this fine event” that supports youth exhibitors like Suddeth and Luety.
Gov. Scott Walker said he loves the fair because it brings city and farm people together in one place. “We think we’ve got the best State Fair in the country.”
Walker told the reception attendees that the auction helps create more opportunities for our future leaders in the state.
“It’s a great way to support a good cause, help young people with scholarships and have a really good time,” he said.
Walker attended the reception in a bright yellow sweatshirt that he had donned earlier in the day to celebrate tourism week. Tourism, he said, is up 18 percent.
The shirt was from the Brown County Zoo and adventure park.